What next?

What next?

Your child is growing up and moving on to the next stage of their life and things are changing.

Your child is growing up and moving on to the next stage of their life and things are changing. Probably the best way to deal with change is, as the Scouts say, be prepared.

We’ve tried to include information here about what you can expect to happen once your child or young person moves to the next age group. Select the drop-down box which corresponds to their age group now.

0 to 5 years


Possibly the most significant change your child will encounter at this stage is starting school, therefore we thought it would be useful to have a section which is just on transition. Transition in Early Years contains information about preparing your child for starting school, and what you can expect to happen, as well as information about starting nursery or pre-school.

SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice and Support Service) also have information on their website about transition: SENDIASS guidance for tips for transitions.


As your child becomes school age, most of the health services they receive will remain the same. The most notable change will be no longer having a health visitor, the support instead will be from the School Health Nursing service. Each local school will have a named school health nurse, who can provide help and support to children, young people and families. 

School Health Nursing | Starting Well (startingwellworcs.nhs.uk).

If your child has been receiving speech and language support, this may also look a little different. Every school in Worcestershire has a named speech and language therapist.  The speech and language therapist sees children at their school.  They will contact you to discuss your child’s needs, to agree a plan and to meet in school if needed. 

The Umbrella Pathway, which is the assessment and diagnostic pathway which assesses children and young people for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) takes referrals for children aged 5 and above.

From the age of six a child can be referred to the Worcestershire Community Paediatric Service for an ADHD assessment, if they meet the referral criteria.

5 to 11 years


You are probably aware that Worcestershire has a mixture of school systems, depending on where you live. Some districts have primary and secondary schools, where others have three tiers – First Middle and High. Depending on where you live your child could be transitioning into middle school during this time and high school in a few years, or you could be looking to prepare them for their move from primary to high school now. This is why we have included a section just on transition, where you will find information about preparing your child for the change.

If your young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) then a very important review to be aware of happens in Year 9. The annual review in Year 9, when they are aged 13 to14yrs, must be focussed on Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) which includes looking at their future steps and what they need to prepare for life as an adult, in addition to the normal annual review processes. There are a number of useful guides available, including one produced by the National Development Team for Inclusion: Year-9-Annual-Review-Guide.pdf (ndti.org.uk) and IPSEA Annual reviews in Year 9 and beyond | (IPSEA) Independent Provider of Special Education Advice
It’s never too early to start planning for young person’s adult years, in fact, it’s something we all do from when our children are born – supporting them to be as independent as they can be. The Year 9 review should be focused on looking at what needs to happen over the next few years to enable the young person to achieve their aspirations.


Most of the Health Services will continue as they have done until a young person becomes 18.

If your child or young person has a learning disability you can ask for them to be added to the Learning Disability Register at your doctor’s surgery. Anyone of any age, and any level of learning disability can join the register, even if they live independently and have little or no support. 

By being on the Learning Disability Register they will get extra support when they visit the doctors and could receive an annual health check (Mencap guide) once they are 14 years old. Mencap have guides and information about the Learning Disability Register on their website here: Everything you need to know about the learning disability register | Mencap.

Other areas you may want to start to consider is puberty, self-care and sexual health, you may want to talk to someone at school, your GP or your child’s paediatrician about the subjects and ask them the best way to approach it and if they can recommend any resources. There are several websites with useful articles, information and advice for parents. You may also want to look at some of the online communities on charities websites, as someone else may have posed similar questions. Young people can speak to their school nurse about these topics, along with school staff. 


11 to 16 years


Once a young person becomes 16 their time at high school could come to an end, they can leave school on the last Friday in June if they will be 16 by the end of the summer holidays. They must then do one of the following things until they are 18:

  • stay in full-time education, for example college.
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship.
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training.

It’s worth noting that timewise, a full-time college education will not be the same as full-time education pre-16. Schools are expected to deliver a 32.5-hour teaching week over 39 weeks each school year, whereas a college course can vary with most averaging around 20 hours a week, depending on the course, and often terms are shorter. You may need to look at transport options too, as getting to and from college can involve using public transport rather than dedicated school buses.

Once a young person is over compulsory school age, things also change regarding who makes decisions, in chapter 8, of the SEND Code of Practice, Preparing for Adulthood, it states:

‘As young people develop, and increasingly form their own views, they should be involved more and more closely in decisions about their own future. After compulsory school age (the end of the academic year in which they turn 16) the right to make requests and decisions under the Children and Families Act 2014 applies to them directly, rather than to their parents. Parents, or other family members, can continue to support young people in making decisions, or act on their behalf, provided that the young person is happy for them to do so, and it is likely that parents will remain closely involved in the great majority of cases.’ Section 8.13

In particular you may like to read from Section 8.13 ‘Young people preparing to make their own decisions’, onwards. SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Similar to education in health, who makes decisions once a young person becomes 16 changes, this is consent to treatment. The NHS website says:

People aged 16 or over are entitled to consent to their own treatment. This can only be overruled in exceptional circumstances.

Like adults, young people (aged 16 or 17) are presumed to have sufficient capacity to decide on their own medical treatment, unless there's significant evidence to suggest otherwise.

Children under the age of 16 can consent to their own treatment if they're believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what's involved in their treatment. This is known as being Gillick competent.

Otherwise, someone with parental responsibility can consent for them.

Consent to treatment - Children and young people - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

This could mean that a young person’s GP may only talk to that young person, or they may need written consent to discuss the young person’s health needs with anyone other than the young person themselves.

In the period when a young person is aged 16-18 the transition to Adult Health services will begin, and individuals will begin to see changes to their health support. It’s worth talking to each service to see what this change will look like and how you can prepare.

It is worth looking into the Mental Capacity Act, understanding what it is, and what steps you may need to make, if any.

Parental responsibility & mental capacity beyond 16 | Contact
Mental Capacity Act - Social care and support guide - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Mental Capacity Act 2005: An easy read guide (careengland.org.uk)
Mental-capacity-act-code-of-practice.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Mental Capacity Act 2005 - legal information - Mind

From 16 to 25 the children’s speech and language therapy service (SaLT) are not centrally commissioned unless the child is in a specialist provision or known to Umbrella.  However parents can still contact SaLT for initial advice and signposting.


If a young person gets Disability Living Allowance (DLA) this will change over to Personal Independence Payments (PiP) when that young person becomes 16. The young person will get a letter inviting them to apply for PiP shortly after their 16th birthday.
Moving from DLA to PIP - Citizens Advice
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children: When your child turns 16 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If the young person receives support from the Children with Disabilities Social Care Team they will be moved across to the Young Adults Team, who will oversee their transition into Adult Services.

Parental responsibility & mental capacity beyond 16 | Contact

Was this page useful?