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.
Combine work and study
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:
- see our volunteering vacancies information
- contact your local Jobcentre for advice on looking for work when you have a disability
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
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.