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Preparing for Adulthood Q&As

On this page, you can find answers to your questions regarding preparing for the future if you have a child with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

All the questions have been submitted by local parents and answered by Local Authority staff. Click on a question to read the response.  



When should I start planning for my child’s future after they leave school?

It is never too early to start considering your child’s post-school future. It can be useful to have discussions with your child from an early age to find out about their interests and what ambitions they have.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), formal planning for their future should begin from when they enter Year 9 (or from when they turn 14 years old). From this time, your child’s annual reviews will not just focus on their education but on planning for what they want to do after leaving school.  

What should I do to prepare my child for the future/post-16?

When your child reaches Year 9, you should start to think seriously about what they plan to do after leaving school. You should have discussions with your child to identify their interests and their hopes and ambitions for the future. For some this might be further education and training, or a job. For other young people, ambitions might be greater independence, having their own home or doing the things they enjoy. For more information on what to think about, please visit our Preparing for Adulthood section on the Local Offer.  

Once you know what your child wants from the future, you should work with the range of professionals involved in supporting your child to plan a way to help them get there. If your child has an EHCP, this planning process will be an important part of their annual reviews.

What support and opportunities will be needed to prepare your child for the future depends on your family’s individual circumstances and your child’s ambitions. The professionals who work with your child are the best placed to advise you on the ways you can help make this preparation easier. However, for more information on the opportunities that are available, visit our Preparing for Adulthood page.     

Can children with SEND be supported in further education?

Yes. Mainstream colleges are required to support young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in a similar way to schools. This means that they must do everything they can to meet the needs of a young person with SEND. They must also appoint somebody to hold responsibility for SEND Support - similar to a School SENDCO.

To find out about what a further education college can do to support your child with SEND, you should contact them directly. Contact details can be found on the college’s website or on their record on the Local Offer.  

Where can my child get support to find a job?

Your local Job Centre Plus can provide 1:1 advice and guidance to find a job and access to ring fenced jobs through their employer partnerships, as well as support to apply for Access to Work applications to fund in-work job coach support. 

Westminster Employment Service (WES) provides free help to unemployed residents age 16+ who need help training for and finding a job.

To access WES employment support, complete an online registration form.

If your child is 18+ with a mild to moderate / moderate to substantial learning disability and/or physical disability, Westminster Employment could support them to get voluntary and work experience / work trial opportunities and paid work created and tailored to an individual’s skills and experience, with the aim of improving each customer’s quality of life. An Employment Adviser is allocated to each customer who will support them all the way into work. Work opportunities created range from 1 to 40 hours a week and are shaped by the Employment Adviser, in a person-centred way, to suit each customer. Job coaching support is available for up to 13 weeks to help customers learn their new job role, become confident and develop positive and long lasting work relationships. Additional support can be arranged where appropriate.

Further information can be found on the Westminster Employment record on the Local Offer.

What is a job coach? Can my child have one?

A job coach provides 1:1 in-work support to assist an individual with special educational needs and disabilities to fulfil their role to the best of their ability. They can help both with young people who are on a Supported Internship programme or in paid work. This is so that an individual is not substantially disadvantaged when doing their job. A job coach might advise and implement reasonable adjustments with an employer and provide 1:1 assistance until a supported intern or employee has mastered their job and is able to carry out the day to day tasks independently.

A job coach is usually funded through an Access to Work grant which can be completed on behalf of a young person by an employer, JCP Disability Employment Adviser, education provider or supported employment service.

Information about Access to Work grants and the eligibility criteria can be found on the Government website.

What is a supported internship? How could it help my child?

Supported internships are structured study programmes based primarily in an employment setting. They enable young people aged 16-24 with an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the employability skills they need through gaining real-life experience and learning in the workplace.

Supported internships are unpaid, and usually last an academic year (11 months). Young people usually complete three work rotations. Wherever possible, the internships aim to support the young person to move into paid employment at the end of the programme. Alongside their time at the employer, supported interns complete a personalised study programme which includes the chance to study for relevant qualifications (such as Health and Safety, Food Hygiene, Employability Skills) if appropriate, and English and maths.

A Supported Internship programme will begin at Westminster City Council in partnership with City of Westminster College in September 2019 where interns will have the opportunity to complete three work rotations across a range of council departments with the support of an expert job coach.

For more information contact Rachel Edwards (SEND Employment Pathways Coordinator at Westminster City Council) T: 07739 315424 E: rachel.edwards@rbkc.gov.uk.

If you are interested in applying for the September 2019 programme please contact Philip Bunce (SENCO at City of Westminster College) T: 020 7258 2812  E: philip.bunce@cwc.ac.uk

How can I make sure my child’s EHCP and schoolwork are employment focused?

Once your child reaches Year 9, their EHCP annual reviews must start focusing on planning for their post-school future. This planning must be centred around the interests and ambitions of your child and must consider the support required to help your child reach their goals.

EHCP annual review planning should always be working towards your child entering further education, training or a job. Steps must then be agreed and taken to ensure support is given to your child that prepares them for this next step on the pathway to long-term employment.  

As a parent, you should be fully involved in proposing and agreeing plans to help prepare your child for the future at the annual review meetings up until your child reaches Year 11. After Year 11, young people themselves will have a say.

If you have concerns about the way your views are taken forward at annual review meetings, you may consider contacting the Independent Advice and Support Service (IASS) for impartial advice on your situation.

Will my child be able to live independently?

Westminster Learning Disability Partnership (WLDP) would work jointly with the young person, their family/carers and other services involved with the young person to carry out relevant assessments (both health and social care assessments), which will focus on the young person’s needs, how these needs can be met and outcomes the young person wants to achieve.

Enhancing and maximising independence in all areas of the young person’s life should always be the main focus of any assessment and subsequent care and support plan.

There are a number of different living options that can be explored as part of this process, from 24/7 supported living schemes, supported living schemes with less than 24/7 support and individual flats with bespoke support. The allocated social worker will discuss these options with the young person and their family/carers and explore these options with them to find out what is the most suitable provision at any given time.

For more information, contact Westminster's Learning Disability Partnership (WLDP) on 0207 641 7411 or via adminwldp@westminster.gov.uk.

Last Updated 03/07/2019

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