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Transition into adult life

What is transition?

The move from school into adult life is referred to as transition.

This is an exciting but sometimes frightening experience for young people with special educational needs or learning disabilities. 

It is important that young people and their families are involved in decisions about their future and are fully supported by professionals throughout the process.


Transition pathway

In Staffordshire there is a new approach to planning for the future of young people with learning difficulties or disabilities and special educational needs.

The approach is called the transition pathway. It sets out what should happen for young people as they move into adulthood. It looks at each step from Year 9 through leaving school and into adulthood.

The transition pathway involves young people and their families working with professionals to think about and plan for the future, considering the young person's needs, wants and hopes.


The transition meeting and plan

An important part of the transition process is the transition meeting, which takes place in year 9 (the annual review meeting in year 9 is called a transition meeting).  This meeting is arranged by the school and should include all those people who are involved in supporting the young person through transition. 

People who may be at the meeting include:

  • parents
  • the young person
  • special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO)
  • social worker
  • teaching assistant

Parents can ask the SEND IASS - Staffordshire Family Partnership to help them prepare for the meeting.

SENCOs should send parents a transition booklet when they are arranging the transition review meeting. These booklets can be ordered for free from the partnership directly.   

At this meeting a plan is made for the future of the young person, making sure their needs and wants are listened to. An action plan should be drawn up and everyone given clear tasks.    

This plan is reviewed every year to check progress.


What can you do?

If you have concerns or questions about the process of transition into adult life for yourself or a member of your family you can start by talking to your school special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO), a teacher or your head teacher.


Person-centred planning

For hints and tips for person-centred planning see the document below:

It helps young people think about, plan and lead the lives they want.


Stages of the transition pathway

  1. Getting ready (school years 8-9, ages 13-14)
  2. Making the transition plan (school year 9, age 14) 
  3. Planning ahead (school years 9-14, ages 14-19)
  4. Leaving school (school years 11-14, ages 16-19)   

Here you can download some of the materials from the pack:

'Who I am' and 'My hopes and dreams'

This is a sheet to be filled in by or with the young person and kept updated throughout transition.

It can be used to think about the future.

Planning sheet

This sheet is to be filled in during the transition meeting and kept updated throughout transition.

It can be used to plan for the future and covers different elements of a young person's life.

Action plan

This sheet is to be filled in during the transition meeting and kept updated and reviewed throughout transition.

It gives tasks to each person to help make sure the plan is successful.

My life, my future

This workbook should be filled in by or with the young person through the transition process.

It can be used to think about the future and keep information in one place.

Workbook for mainstream pupils

This workbook was developed by a Staffordshire SENCo.  It is appropriate for mainstream pupils with special educational needs.  It can also be used with young people without statements.

It can be used to think about and prepare for the future. It can be filled in by young people in group sessions and/or class time and provokes interesting discussions.


Checklists for each stage of the transition process

These checklists help make sure that everything important is covered at each stage of transition.

School years 8-9, ages 13-14

School year 9, age 14

School years 10-14, ages 15-19

School years 11-14, ages 16-19


Sample letters

Invitation to transition meeting

This letter can be used to invite various people to attend a young person's transition meeting.

Letter to contact a service

This letter can be used to contact a professional to ask for their support for a young person.



The big picture

This is a guide to transition for young people and their families.

Warning: This is a large file and may take a long time to download.

Transition pathway (full pack)

This is the full Transition Pathway Resource Pack.

Warning: This is a large file and may take a long time to download.



If you are a young person with special educational needs or learning disabilities going through transition (age 14-19), or anyone involved in supporting a young person, and have queries about the process, these contacts might be useful.  

SENDIASS - Staffordshire Family Partnership

This exists to help develop closer links and better communication between families, schools, the county council's education service, voluntary organisations and other professionals involved with a child who may have a special educational need.

The partnership operates independently as a confidential service for parents or carers of children with special educational needs. They listen to the views of parents and offer direct help in a number of ways such as helping them to express their views in writing and accompanying them to meetings about their child's needs.

They have a booklet about transitions that can be ordered for free from the service or downloaded for printing:

Phone: 01785 356921

Email: spps@staffordshire.gov.uk

District SEN assessment offices

There are 4 offices across Staffordshire:

Stafford and South Staffordshire

Phone: 01782 297524

Lichfield and Cannock

Phone: 01543 512050

East Staffordshire and Tamworth

Phone: 01283 239755

Newcastle and Leek Moorlands

Phone: 01782 297524


Further information

The transition information network is an alliance of organisations and individuals who come together to improve the experience of disabled young people's transition to adulthood.


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