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Think about what you want to do next

Until the age of 18, young people must either:

  • stay in full-time education, at a college or school
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

You can use the Learning Pathways Guide to show you what each of the 4 colleges in Hertfordshire offer, and how to contact them.

You can also search UCAS to find courses and apply online. The deadline for applications for sixth form and college courses is 31 January.

Sixth forms usually ask for 5 GCSEs graded 9 - 4, including a grade 4 in maths and English language. However, they can be more flexible about this for students with EHC plans, if it seems likely that the student could cope with the course and they could meet their needs.

If your young person is moving to college after year 11 (Or year 14 from specialist provision), their course may not cover 5 full days. If your young person has an EHC plan and it is unlikely that they will be able to undertake unsupervised learning in college and/or it is unsafe to leave them at home alone, then the local authority should consider providing a package of provision and support across education, health and social care that covers 5 days a week.

5 day packages of support do not have to be at one provider and could involve amounts of time at different providers and in different settings. As well as time for independent study, a package of provision can include non-educational activities such as:

  • volunteering or community participation
  • work experience
  • independent travel training, and/or skills for living in semi-supported or independent accommodation
  • support to access facilities in the local community, develop and maintain friendships
  • health-related activities such as physiotherapy and physical activity

In making decisions about packages of support, local authorities should take into account the impact on your family and on your young person’s progress.

Think about how you will travel to work or college

There is no automatic entitlement to free home-to-school or college travel after 16 years of age. You may have to contribute to the cost of your transport.

Hertfordshire has a transport policy for 16–18 year olds in education.

Hertfordshire can't provide travel support to work experience placements, medical appointments or other off-site visits. Responsibility for this remains with the parents or carers, or school or college as appropriate.

Ask your GP about the transfer to adult health services

Transfers in the health services can take a very long time. Make sure you stay involved and keep track of progress. Ask your GP about what is being done.

Your young person may be invited to attend 'transition clinics'.  If your young person has complex health needs, then nurses for complex health in HCT service can start this process off or the GP can start this for over 18s.

Get a purple folder

Purple folders are available to adults with learning disabilities. They have health information in, which can be used with doctors, dentists, opticians and pharmacists. Purple Star shows places that offer health services for people with learning disabilities.

Make decisions about your Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

When you reach the end of compulsory school age (this is the last week of June in the year you turn 16), some rights related to EHC plans transfer from your parents to you.

These include the right to ask:

  • for an EHC needs assessment,
  • about what's in the plan,
  • for a particular education setting to be named in the plan,
  • for a personal budget,
  • for an appeal to the SEND tribunal.

The Mental Capacity Act

If a young person lacks mental capacity to make decisions about their EHCP, their parent/carer should tell the local authority that they will be acting as their representative. This must all be done in line with the Mental Capacity Act.

The Mental Capacity Act affects decision-making for all people aged 16 and over who can't make some or all decisions by themselves. The issue of capacity can only be assessed in relation to a particular decision that needs to be made at a particular time. This stops blanket assessments of someone’s ability to make decisions based on their disability. It also recognises that someone may be able to make some decisions but not others. For example, someone can lack capacity to make complex financial decisions or consent to medical treatment, but have the capacity to decide what they would like to eat.

When assessing capacity to make a decision, it is important to consider whether a person is able to:

  • understand the information about the decision
  • remember that information
  • use that information to make a decision
  • communicate their decision (whether by talking, using sign language or any other means)

When someone is judged not to have the capacity to make a decision, that decision can be taken for them, and it must be in their best interests. The process of making a best-interest decision should be led by the person who requires the decision to be made; e.g. a doctor who requires consent before carrying out treatment. Consulting with others is a vital part of best interest decision-making, and the Mental Capacity Act requires the involvement of carers and family members.

A young person must always be supported to be involved as much as possible in a decision made on their behalf, even if they do not have the capacity to make it themselves.

Ambitious about Autism, Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation in partnership with Irwin Mitchell have produced a leaflet to help individuals who feel that they are not being appropriately consulted about the welfare of their loved ones.

Find out what money you can claim

When you turn 16, there are a lot of options:

  • you can claim benefits in your own right
  • if you are studying for GCSEs, A-levels, BTECs, NVQ levels 1-3, or some types of training, parents can choose to carry on claiming for you. They will need to weigh up which option is likely to leave your family better off.
  • you can receive direct payments
  • you will be reassessed under Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you have been receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) as a child.
  • you can apply for Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance if you are in full time education and get DLA/PIP. You should make sure with your family that claiming Universal Credit is the best option, as claiming it will stop other benefits.

You can get help from Contact a Family’s benefits advisers on telephone 0808 808 3555 or the Money Advice Unit produces a wide range of information on welfare benefits.


When people turn 16 they usually become responsible for any benefits they claim. Some people can't manage this, so a family member or a carer becomes an 'apointee'.

This means that they will make claims, give information that's required, and inform of any changes that may affect your entitlement to benefits. The benefits will be paid to them on your behalf.

16-19 Bursary Fund

If you're in further education or training you could apply for a 16-19 bursary. There are 2 types:

Vulnerable student bursary: up to £1,200 per year if one or more of the following applies:

  • you're in local authority care, or recently left
  • you get Income Support or Universal Credit
  • you get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and either Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit
  • you get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and either ESA or Universal Credit

Discretionary bursary: you can apply for this if you need financial help but you don’t qualify for a vulnerable student bursary. Your school, college or workplace decides how much you will get based on your circumstances (this usually includes your family income) and what it can be used for.


Page was last published on: 06/03/2020 14:31:13
0300 123 4043
Hertfordshire County Council customer call centre


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