Options with an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan

16 to 18 year olds with an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan should think about their options.

Preparing for what happens in year 11

Your year 10 Annual Review will help you to start thinking about your next steps after year 11.

You will have to stay in education or training until you are 18. Young people with special educational needs can continue to get free education and training up to the age of 25.

If you have special educational needs and do not have an EHC plan, you can request an assessment through your local council's special educational needs and disabilities service.

During year 11

In year 11, your school will arrange for you to:

  • talk to a careers adviser about what you can do after school
  • go to open days to explore your options
  • apply for education or training at places you would like to go
  • have a meeting with your school to talk about what you'll do next
  • tell your local council the options that you would prefer

Your local council will try to make sure that you get the right education or training for you, near to home if that's possible. You can appeal if you feel the offer they make is not right for you. Your EHC plan will be updated when you have agreed your next steps.

Your options at 16

At 16 your main options are to:

Stay in full-time education

You could carry on learning through a full-time study programme. This could be made up of different qualifications and include things like:

  • courses that prepare you for adult life, work and taking part in the community
  • English and maths skills
  • academic subjects leading to GCSEs or A levels
  • work-related courses like T Levels or BTECs

You can do a study programme at a:

  • mainstream or special school sixth form
  • sixth form college
  • college of further education
  • specialist college for students with special educational needs

You can ask to study or train at a specialist college if this is the best place to meet your needs. Your council may refuse your request on the grounds of cost, so you may need to show that there are no other suitable, cheaper options available.

Speak to an adviser

You can call 0800 100 900 or use webchat to speak to an adviser.

We're open:

  • 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday
  • 10am to 5pm Saturdays and bank holidays

We're closed on Sundays, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Combine work and study


  • Description: A course that includes a work placement that will get you ready for an apprenticeship or a job. You’ll get work experience and some help to apply for your next steps. You can also improve your maths and English skills. You’ll get work experience and some help to apply for whatever you do next.
  • Location: You’ll spend a minimum of 70 hours in a work placement with the rest of your time in college or a training centre
  • Duration: 6 weeks to 1 year
  • Entry requirements:  You need to be aged between 16 to 24 or up to 25 with an Education Health and Care Plan with no higher than a level 3 qualification
  • Qualifications: English, maths, digital and work-related qualifications
  • Leads to: Apprenticeship, further education, work
  • Find out more:
    • ask your local college or training provider
    • speak to your school careers adviser
    • speak to your Jobcentre Plus adviser if you receive benefits
    • find a traineeship in your area

Supported internships

  • Description: Supported internships are for young people with learning difficulties or learning disabilities, who need extra support to get a job.
  • Location: You'll spend most of your time on placements with an employer, learning skills for work. You'll also get help from a tutor and a job coach in college or with a specialist provider.
  • Duration: A minimum of 6 months
  • Entry requirements: Aged 16-24 with an Education Health and Care Plan
  • Qualifications: GCSE English and maths
  • Leads to: Work, traineeship, apprenticeship
  • Find out more:
    • from your school or local college
    • speak to your social worker or a transition worker
    • speak to your Jobcentre Plus adviser


  • Description: Intermediate, advanced higher and degree apprenticeships combine practical on-the-job skills training with off-the-job learning. You'll get training that is relevant to your job and be paid a salary. Start at a level to suit you, with support if you have special needs or a disability.
  • Location: You’ll spend 80% of your time in the workplace and 20% off-the-job with some study in a college, training centre or Institute of Technology (IoT)
  • Duration: A minimum of 1 year
  • Entry requirements:  Will be dependent on the industry, job role and apprenticeship level
  • Qualifications: apprenticeship certificate, diploma, degree and masters depending on level
  • Leads to: Work, next level of apprenticeship, further education, higher education
  • Find out more: Gov.uk information about Apprenticeships

School leaver schemes

  • Description: A chance to learn and train with a large company while earning a wage. Offered in sectors like accountancy, engineering, finance, IT, law, leisure and retail. Similar to graduate employment schemes run over a longer period of time.
  • Location: You'll often rotate between different locations with the same company to get experience and it can include distance learning or time in college or university
  • Duration: 3 to 7 years
  • Entry requirements: Usually high grade A levels or equivalent and a keen interest in the sector you want to work in
  • Qualifications: A university degree and/or professional qualification
  • Leads to: Professional employment
  • Find out more: Directly from company websites

Work or volunteer and study part-time

Between 16 and 18 you can work or volunteer for 20 hours or more if you combine it with part-time study or training. There are schemes to help you to find the best places to look for jobs and get support in the workplace.

For more information on where and how to look, you can:

You may also be able to combine lots of different types of activities, like a part-time college course to improve your English and maths, volunteering in a charity shop and getting skills to take care of yourself and travel independently.

Support you can get in education and training

As in school, you can carry on getting help with things you need, like:

  • a specialist tutor or note-taker
  • learning in a small group or through one-to one teaching
  • access to information in different ways like sign language, braille or using symbols
  • assistive technology like a tablet, reading pen, voice recognition or screen reading software
  • the support of a mentor or an advocate
  • access to therapies, like speech and language or support from mental health services
  • training in skills to live more independently

You may also be able to get some health care and social care support to help you with your learning and development. Your school's Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) can help you to find out if this applies to you.

Support at work

If you get a job, you may be able to get help through Access to Work for things like:

  • special equipment
  • adaptations to the workplace
  • a support worker

Other options

If none of these options are suitable, you may be able to get help to make a package of support that is tailored just for you. Your school careers adviser, disability charities or a parent support network can help you to ask for this.

You can also speak to your local council's special educational needs and disabilities service.