Talking about tomorrow


Planning for transition

All young people with additional support needs have a right to get help with transition planning, but how it happens is down to local services and organisations. So transition plans may look different and have different names depending on where you live.

Things to think about

Do we need a plan?

Some parents report being told their young person doesn’t need a transition plan, or isn’t entitled to one, unless they have multiple and complex needs. However that’s misleading – Scottish Government guidance says a plan is essential for anyone who is at risk of not making a smooth transition to adulthood. If it’s difficult in practice to access formal planning, you can start putting a plan together yourself. Click here to read about what you need to include.

How transition planning works

Usually schools manage the process. They create a plan with input from the young person and everyone who supports them, and monitor how the plan is working. If someone is home schooled, the education service still has a responsibility to be involved in planning and supporting transition.

Some areas have transition planning workers who are members of the social services team, and they may be invited to meetings.

Private schools aren’t managed by local authorities so they may approach planning differently. Here parents will have to talk directly with pupil support teachers to agree how planning will take place and who will be involved.

You can ask for anyone who knows the young person well or who is involved in their care and support to be invited to the planning meetings. If they can’t come, they can send their thoughts in a letter or email.

National guidelines say

  • Planning should start at least 2 years before a young person would normally finish school.
  • Planning meetings should include representatives from all groups currently working with the young person, and those who may provide support in the future.
  • Parents/carers should be invited to planning meetings.
  • The young person’s own thoughts and ideas MUST be taken into account.

Many parents say they don’t know if a plan exists, or what’s in it. That’s a problem, particularly because:

  • Families are usually the main source of ongoing support, through school and beyond. Parents are likely to play an essential role in putting a plan into practice.
  • There probably won’t be anyone else to take over responsibility for the plan after someone leaves school. Most families find they need their own plan at some point to make sure young people keep progressing towards their goals.
  • For more information on plans in school, and some of the names used for them, click here.

Where do you start?

Planning starts with helping the young person work out their likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. There’s no one way to do this, but it should make it as easy as possible for them to be involved. It should also include the chance to try things out by visits or work experience, to help with decision making.

Good planning could include:

  • A series of short meetings rather than one long one
  • Tailored career information, advice and guidance
  • Bridging programmes to familiarise them with college or training, e.g. day release from school: this can help establish what support may be needed
  • Visits to career fairs and university/college open days
  • Work placements to get practical experience in different sectors
  • Referring to adult social work services for an assessment if social work support might be required after school
  • Involving other organisations such as charities for advice or to gather information
  • Inviting staff from college or university to attend transition planning meetings
  • Involving an advocacy service to make sure the views of parents and young people are properly represented.

If the chance to try something isn’t arranged by school, you can contact organisations yourself and ask to visit or be shown round.

For college or university, phone and ask for the office that supports disabled students.

For work experience or volunteering, try asking people you know if your young person can shadow them or help out. Remember they may not be aware of the young person’s needs or know how to support them, so it will be up to you to make sure they have any information they need and maybe be on hand or on call just in case.

Many employers don’t know they can get help if they employ or train people with disabilities. It might be useful to find out what’s available, in case that makes a difference.

Person centred planning

Confusingly, people sometimes use this term to mean a plan that is about an individual. But it’s actually the name of a very particular type of planning that is visual, colourful and looks at the whole of a young person’s life. You can find out more about it, and people who can work on a plan with your young person, by visiting the PCP Network Scotland 

There is also a special grant available from ILF Scotland to pay for this kind of person centred planning.