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Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) and Employment

Young people preparing to make your own decisions

As young people develop, and increasingly form your own views, you should be involved more closely in decisions about your future.

After compulsory school age (the end of the academic year in which you turn 16) the right to make requests and decisions under the Children and Families Act 2014 applies to you directly, rather than to your parents.

Parents, or other family members, can continue to support young people in making decisions, or act on your behalf, provided that you are happy for them to do so, and it is likely that parents will remain closely involved in the great majority of cases.

The specific decision-making rights about Education, Health and Care Plans which apply to young people directly from the end of compulsory school age are:

  • the right to request an assessment for an EHC plan (which you can do at any time up to your 25th birthday)
  • the right to make representations about the content of your EHC plan
  • the right to request that a particular institution is named in your EHC plan
  • the right to request a Personal Budget for elements of an EHC plan
  • the right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability) about decisions concerning your EHC plan

A decision by a young person in respect of an EHC plan will typically involve discussion with your family and others, but the final decision rests with you provided you have the capacity to do so.

A young person can ask a family member or friend to support them in any way you wish, including, for example, receiving correspondence on your behalf, filling in forms, attending meetings, making telephone calls and helping them to make decisions.

Independent Support for young people

Some young people may need support from an independent skilled supporter to ensure that their views are acknowledged and valued.

Young people can contact the Information, Advice and Support Service for impartial information, advice and support. 

They can also tell you about the Council for Disabled Children which offers information and support to parents and young people going through the Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment process.


The Mental Capacity Act

Some young people will not have the mental capacity to take decisions.  The right of young people to make a decision is subject to their capacity to do so as set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The underlying principle of the Act is to ensure that those who lack capacity are empowered to make as many decisions for themselves as possible and that any decision made or action taken on their behalf is done so in their best interests. Decisions about mental capacity are made on an individual basis, and may vary according to the nature of the decision.

There is further guidance on the Mental Capacity Act and how it applies both to parents and to young people in relation to the Act in Annex 1 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice.

The video below also gives information about taking decisions and what you can do if you are unhappy about any decisions made about you.