Preparing for Adulthood - Post 16

Preparation for adulthood should start from the earliest years. The SEND Code of Practice outlines the importance of discussing preparation for adulthood with young people from age 14 (year 9). However where possible these discussions should take place at an earlier age.

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What are my options after year 11 (post 16)?

For those young people in year 11 what are the options when you finish school?  All young people need to remain in education or training until the age of 18.  It could be one of the following:

  • Apprenticeships 
  • Attending another school with a sixth form including special school (there may be entry criteria)
  • Further Education College
  • Remaining in your current school where there is a sixth form
  • Sixth Form College
  • Specialist Post 16 Institution
  • Traineeships
  • Work or volunteering as long at it is 20 hours a week while in part-time education or training.

Until the age of 18 a young person will need to:

  • Stay in full time education, for example in a school, college or training provider
  • Start an Apprenticeship or traineeship
  • Spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training.


Section 41 Approved Provider List gives details of independent special schools, and specialist post 16 institutions that can be named on an EHCP. For the national association of specialist colleges with details of specialist post 16 institutions (SPIs) see NATSPEC

Hopwood Hall College -Rochdale Campus – Further education. Entry 1 Level Courses up to Level 3, a range of vocational areas, life skills and other discreet courses.  Hopwood Hall College does not offer A-levels.

Rochdale Sixth Form College – Mainly A-Level and BTEC courses.

Cardinal Langley RC High School – Sixth form College

Redwood Secondary School – Specialist school


If you have special educational needs and disabilities and you're considering going to university, here are the steps you might need to take:

1. Research university options: Look into universities and courses that interest you. consider factors like the location, course content, and available support services.

2. Choose your course: Decide on the course you want to study. Make sure it aligns with your interests, strengths, and career goals.

3. Contact universities: Get in touch with the universities you're interested in. Let them know about your EHC plan and ask about the support services they offer for students with disabilities or special educational needs.

4. Apply through UCAS: If you're in the UK, you'll apply through the universities and colleges admissions service (UCAS). Make sure to mention your EHC plan in your application, and provide any relevant information about your support needs.

5. Provide documentation: Some universities may ask for documentation related to your EHC plan, such as assessments and recommendations. Provide these as needed.

6. Attend open days: Attend open days or virtual tours to get a feel for the university environment and ask questions about the support services available.

7. Apply for disabled students' allowances (DSAs): In the UK, you can apply for DSAs to get financial support for extra costs you might have due to your disability or special needs while studying.

8. Discuss support needs: Once you receive offers from universities, have conversations with their disability support teams. Discuss your EHC plan, your support needs, and the accommodations that might be necessary.

9. Accept an offer: Once you receive offers from universities, choose the one that's the best fit for you and accept it.

10. Plan Accommodations: Work with the university's disability support team to plan any accommodations you might need, such as assistive technology, accessible housing, or exam adjustments.

11. Start university: Begin your university journey! Make use of the support services and accommodations available to help you succeed in your studies.

Further information, advice and support see below:


Careers advice

Where a young person has an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) the commissioned service for Rochdale, Positive Steps will work with young people generally in year 11 to discuss education and training options related to a young person’s aspirations. 

Where a young person does not have an EHCP the school is responsible for providing careers advice.  This will also look at options for education, training and employment.

For further information contact the EHC Assessment and Review Team

Support services

There are a number of services that can support young people to make the transition from school to college or from children’s services to adult’s services. Please see below:

RBC transitions policy

This policy is a reference guide equally for children, young people their parents, carers and professionals outlining the vision, principles, roles and responsibilities of all agencies involved in the transition planning process for young people. 

Transitions policy on RBC policy centre (751KB pdf)

Housing and homelessness support for SEND young people

Housing support

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) is the UK’s first tenant and employee co-owned mutual housing society, with over 13,000 homes throughout the local area.

Rochdale Housing Solutions  is the place to look for all your housing options, whether you are looking for a home to rent or buy, or just need some help and advice.

Discretionary Housing Payment - Help with housing and rent is an emergency payment to help you with your rent or housing costs.

Transitions for Young People - Children's Care to Adult Care Services transition for children and young people with a physical or learning disability, we mean the change from being a teenager to being an adult and from moving on from Children's Care Service to Adult Care Services.

Newbarn Ltd - Accommodation and support service is an inclusive, tenant needs-led, high quality accommodation and support service that promotes social inclusion and enables vulnerable adults to achieve their full potential.

PossAbilities homeshare brings together people that need a little social support and have a spare room, with others who need affordable accommodation and are willing to support the householder.

Homelessness support

Homelessness Advice and Prevention in Rochdale all homelessness services are now being provided by Rochdale Borough Council, having been previously provided by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing.

The Bond Board is a registered charity that has an impact on homelessness and the wellbeing of homeless and vulnerable private rented sector households. 

Brentwood Middleton Day Centre is for people who are homeless or in threat of homelessness. We offer advice and referrals to agencies who can help.

The Sanctuary Trust is a registered charity working with homelessness, homeless related poverty and emergency homeless issues.

Petrus  is a registered charity providing residential and day support services for people in housing need throughout the Borough of Rochdale.

Cared for children and care leavers

Care leavers come into contact with a range of services including housing, health, employers and further education; yet they are often not recognised as a priority group for services.

For further information see Cared for children and care leavers.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

This is a guide for parents, carers and young people.

What is 'mental capacity'?

Mental capacity is the ability of a young person over the age of 16 to make their own decisions. This means being able to:

  • understand information given to them in relation to a decision
  • remember the information long enough to make a decision
  • use or weigh up the information available
  • communicate their decision in any way which can be recognised

People should always support a person to make their own decisions if they can. This might mean giving them information in a way that they can understand (for example this might be easy read information for a person with a learning disability) or explaining something in a different way.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

This is the law that protects vulnerable people over the age of 16 around decision-making. It says that: Every adult, whatever their disability, has the right to make their own decisions wherever possible.

The Act must be followed for small and big decisions. Small decisions might be things like choosing what to wear or what to buy at the supermarket. Big decisions might be things like when to move into a new home or whether to have a serious operation.

Under 16s

The MCA does not apply to under 16s. In order to decide whether a child under 16 is able to consent to their own medical treatment, without the need for parental permission or knowledge they are assessed to establish if they are competent to make such decisions. This assessment is referred to as ‘Gillick Competence’.

You can read about the Gillick competence and Fraser guidelines on the NSPCC learning website:

Parents and carers information

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) provides a clear framework for parents on who should be consulted in the decision-making process, and in what circumstances (for example in life-saving treatment). See Mental Capacity Act 2005 at a glance on the Social Care Institute website.

Easy read booklet

See the Mental Act Capacity easy read booklet (10984KB pdf).