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Preparing for the future

Decisions that need to be made at each age


You should continue in education or training until your 18th birthday. This should include a study programme that stretches you, prepares you for adulthood and supports your progression into work or further study. See Your future for more information.

If you have an EHC plan, your education and training outcomes will determine if your EHC plan continues beyond the age of 19.  Whether for example you have achieved them, or if staying in education/training will help you to achieve them.

See Education, health and care plan after the annual review for more information.


If your main need is related to your health you should be referred for an Adult Continuing Health Care Assessment. This should be done well before your 18th birthday to allow enough time for the assessment to be completed and discuss your care entitlements.

If there is no equivalent adult health service for you to transition to, then your health needs will be managed by your doctor. See moving between children’s and adults healthcare for more information.

Social care

If you are likely to need support from adult social care – if you are already receiving children’s social care services or not – a transition assessment will be completed before you reach age 18.  You can ask for the assessment, but it is good to take place when you understand what your needs will be beyond the age of 18.

If you are already receiving care from children’s social services you will continue to receive that care until the assessment has been completed. There should be no gap in services. See moving to Adult Social Care services for more information.

Your parents may want their support needs as a carer to be assessed as the impact of caring for an older person may change.

Transport and travel

Public transport is promoted for post-16 students with EHC plans and independent travel training referrals will be made for all students with the expectation that they will be assessed for suitability for training by the end of the first term of post 16 education.

See Over 16 student transport for more information.

You usually need to be 17 before you can hold a licence to drive a car. However, if you received the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payments (PIP), you can hold a licence from the age of 16.

See Learning to drive for more information.

Finance and benefits

An Access to Work Grant can cover the additional support you may need if you have a disability, health condition or mental health condition for the in-work element of a supported internship.  This can include adaptations to equipment you use, fares to work if you cannot use public transport, a support worker or job coach to help you in the workplace.  See Access to Work Fund for more information.

Disabled Students Allowance can cover the additional support you may need if you have a disability, health problem or learning difficulty for higher education.  This can include specialist equipment, non-medical helpers (e.g. BLS interpreter), extra travel assistance or other disability related study support. See Higher Education for more information.

Children and young people under the age of 19 in full time education can get help with most healthcare costs, including dental treatment and prescriptions.  You may be able to apply for a certificate to entitle you to free NHS prescriptions, see help with health costs for more information.

Proving your age or identify

Sometimes you will need to show people that you are the right age to do something. This is called proving your age using an ID or Identity Document. It will show your date of birth, a photo of you, and your address. Driving licences are a commonly used proof of ID. They fit in your wallet unlike a passport. A provisional driving licence does not function as an ID card in the same way as a driving licence though.

If you are unable to get a driving licence, you can get another type of photo ID card when you turn eighteen. Make sure it has the PASS mark to be accepted in different places.

Last reviewed: November 20, 2023 by Gemma

Next review due: May 20, 2024

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