Leaving School

Transition is a time of change. Between the ages of 14 and 25 young people usually have to make important decisions about their education, leaving home, getting a job and starting relationships. These decisions and changes can be both exciting and challenging. It can be an anxious time for some families, Young People may be concerned about what opportunities and services they can expect as an adult, and whether their needs will be fully met.

A successful transition planning process will help give a clear understanding of what opportunities are available for young people post school, and after 18. Young people can leave school legally at the end of June in the school year, when they reach the age of 16. From here, they can usually make their own decisions about what they want to do. Some will, however, need support with making plans. The main Post 16 options are:

  • Staying at school can provide many opportunities and be a positive choice. Some young people are able to stay at school until they are 19. The adviser from Career Wales can give you detailed information about the courses and qualifications on offer locally.
  • Attending a local college of further education while living at home is often the next step. Colleges can offer a very wide range and level of courses, both academic and work-related, which can be full or part-time. Many courses are designed to prepare young people for adult life by offering a range of vocational taster courses, the chance to gain qualifications and improve skills in Maths, English/Welsh and communication. Some students remain in their local college until the age of 25.
  • Specialist residential colleges – Nearly all Young People with learning difficulties and/or disabilities can go to their local college. A very small number have needs which their local college cannot meet and, if the learner is aged between 16 and 25, the Welsh Government may pay for them to attend a specialist college, including residential courses, where appropriate. Where no local college is able to meet a Young Persons needs, the Careers Adviser will have information on how to apply for a place at a specialist college and how to get funding.
  • Higher education will be an option for some young people whose academic ability enables them to access courses on offer. This could be at university, college or distance learning.
  • Supported Work and Training – A young person can enter the world of work through supported employment or a training programme. There are a number of organisations that can help them find opportunities in real work situations. Many of these programmes can lead to nationally recognised vocational qualifications.
  • Employment – Only a small proportion of young people go straight into employment from school .If this is the most appropriate option the Careers Wales adviser can help with job-seeking skills.
  • Day Service opportunities may be the most appropriate option for some Young People. These are usually arranged in places where young people with a learning disability can pursue all sorts of interesting day time activities (often out of the day centre and in the local community). Here, they can make new friends, gain their own independence and become a valued member of the community. Day services are usually provided by local authority social services or voluntary organisations. Services are usually provided by local authority social services or voluntary organisations.
SNAP Cymru has produced the guides below that explain what Transition is about and what to expect.  If you have further questions please do contact us.

“Transition” is when a young person begins to think about leaving school to go to college, work, training or other activities. At this time, the young person and their family will have to make decisions about their future.

It can be especially complicated for a young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN). It is important that all those involved with planning for transition are aware of the principles of the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice for Wales 2002.

Regulations state that a transition plan must be prepared for all young people with a statement of SEN during the year 9 annual review. The aim of transition planning is to help the young person prepare for a successful life outside of school.

The SEN Code of Practice says that “The Annual Review in year 9 and any subsequent annual reviews until the young person leaves school must include the drawing up and subsequent review of the transition plan.”

The transition plan should draw together information from various people from within and outside of the school who are involved with the young person. There will be a special Annual Review (Transition) in year 9.

SNAP Cymru: Transition - For Parents and Carers

Careers Wales

Making plans can be easy for some young people. Other young people may find it easier to talk about their future with someone who they may not know, but who knows about transition planning. Advisors from Careers Wales help every young person with SEN to get ready for the transition process. The School should ensure that Careers Wales is involved with the transition process.

Self Advocacy

Some young people can speak for themselves, other young people may be happier speaking to you, their friends or other family members. Quite often, young people find it helpful to speak to someone else who is trained to support them or can speak for them.

This person is sometimes called an “Advocate”. In some places, young people can join a self-advocacy group which will help them to feel more confident speaking for themselves. Your local Family Information Service, Social Worker, School and SNAP Cymru can help you to find out more.

Who will be at the transition meeting?

The school will arrange the transition meeting with the young person and you. There are also a number of people who must be invited to attend the meeting. Sometimes a written report from these people is acceptable if they are not able to attend.

  • The young person’s parent or carer
  • A Careers Wales personal advisor
  • Relevant teacher
  • Local Authority (LA) representative
  • Any person that the LA specifies
  • The young person
  • LA Educational Psychologist
  • Health Service Representative
  • Other closely involved professionals

The Transition Plan

Drafting and maintaining the plan is the school’s responsibility. It will then be reviewed regularly, at least annually, and updated as the young person’s views and needs change. School staff and the Careers Wales advisor will work with the young person to develop ideas. Sometimes school will have a dedicated person to help young people when there are big changes in their lives. School staff will always be available to help, and will work with young people and all those involved to make sure everything is planned for when they leave school.

Transition means change. People will talk with you about transition when you are in Year 9 or aged 14. They will talk to you about the choices you have and about the changes that might take place for your future. Its about making plans.

Your Meeting

This is your meeting. Some of these people may be there to talk with you about making plans:

  • You, if you want
  • Your parents or carer
  • Your teacher
  • Careers Wales advisor
  • Social Worker
  • Advocate – if you want
  • SNAP CYMRU – if you wish


This is your transition, your opportunity to make decisions about your future. Your next step. Making decisions can be difficult for everyone, even adults. Sometimes even they need to ask for help.

Who can help you?

Making plans can be easier for you when you have people you trust around to help. You can also have support from a personal advisor who works for an organization called ‘Careers Wales.’Or you could speak for yourself.

Choices after Year 11

You can choose to:

  • Stay in school
  • Go to college
  • Get a job
  • Think about becoming independent
  • Do some training
  • Do other things in the day

Self Advocacy

Self advocacy is learning how to speak up for yourself. Your family and friends can help you to do this. However, you may feel happier speaking to someone else – this person is called an advocate. You could even join a self-advocacy group. Your local Family Information Service, social worker, school and SNAP Cymru can help you find out more about these services.