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College and Adult Life (16+)

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As of January 2023, we are still in the process of restructuring the College and Adult Life (16+) section of this website with the aim of making it as informative and accessible as possible. We want to hear the views of young people to help make this happen. 

If you have any thoughts on this page or any other page on this site, please email


As young people approach adulthood the support they and their families receive will change. There can be changes in:

By early adulthood, most young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will have the skills, knowledge and independence to ensure they are ready to continue education and enter work with the support that school has offered.

For some young people with more complex needs a more long term support structure maybe needed to ensure they are able to access the education and/or work that is suitable for their individual needs.

The key to effective support for young people approaching adulthood is early and effective planning. Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) have a specific section regarding the ‘Annual Review Process’, that helps prepare children from the age of 13. However, all SEND support plans should give some thought as to what the young person hopes to do as they get older and how they can be supported in this.

The Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) programme provides expertise and support to local authorities and their partners to embed preparing for adulthood from the earliest years. PfA ensures that young people with SEND achieve paid employment, independent living and housing options, good health, friendships, relationships and community inclusion as they move into adulthood:

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East Sussex County Council have a small team of managers, the ISEND Post 16 & INMS team, that work closely with the Assessment and Planning (A&P) team and with local colleges and training providers around support and provision for young people, post 16.

College and Courses

The Careers East Sussex website outlines various opportunities for young people with SEND, including finding help with supported courses, training, internships and apprenticeships:

You can also visit specific sections on their website to view the:

They also have an initiative and careers event, called iCan. The iCan campaign has been developed to support 12-25 year olds who have SEND, and their parent, carers & supporters, to develop confidence as they progress through education and into employment and enable them to become more independent as they transition into adulthood. 

SEND College Transport

If a young person with an EHCP is unable to travel independently to their college due to their SEND, they can apply for post 16 travel assistance. Their application and family circumstances will be assessed to determine whether there are barriers to stop them from getting to college without assistance.

East Sussex County Council's website contains a page that provides more information and a way of applying:


Careers East Sussex

The Careers East Sussex website outlines various opportunities for young people with SEND, including finding help with supported employment and apprenticeships. Find out more regarding:

Steps to Work

Steps to Work is a supported employment service within Adult Social Care and Health which forms part of East Sussex County Council’s Learning Disability, directly provided services:

East Sussex Transition Service

The East Sussex Transition Service supports young people and their families to move from Children’s Services into Adult Services support.

As teenagers become young adults, the Transition Service can help to:

They can help people aged 16 to 25, who meet all of the following criteria:

Apply for help

Most young people will be referred directly to the Transition service by the Children's Disability Service. Please ask your support worker for more information on this.

If you are 16 or 17 and not getting support from Children’s Services but feel you meet the criteria above, contact the Transitions Service using the contact form.

Additional Transition Advice and Guidance

The Transition Information Network is a source of information and good practice for disabled young people, families and professionals. They are a specialist network of the Council for Disabled Children set up to provide targeted information and resources about transition through online resources, publications and events.

If you would like to know more, visit the Transition Information Network website.

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16+ Transition to Adult Life Services

The East Sussex Local Offer also consists of our directory, which can be found on East Sussex 1Space.

This SEND-specific directory provides various services and support that include employment advice, information, opportunities and activities and events for young people who are in the process of transition to adult life:

Two adults and two children stood outside a house.

EHC Plans and Preparing for Adulthood

If your child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, their planning for the future starts at age 13 (Year 9).

As well as the statutory requirement to review the plan, it will also include planning for transition into adulthood. This allows enough time to start thinking and planning for their future options.

To ensure you get the most out of the preparing for adulthood review and transition planning, it is important to help your child to think about what they like and their hopes for the future. Some young people will need more support to do this, therefore it may be helpful to ask others who know them well what they think. At the Year 11 EHCP review meeting, decisions about post-16 options will need to be made. Applications for school or college should be made in the autumn term of Year 11 (at age 15).

To find out more about EHCPs, please visit our pages on Education, Health and Care Plans.

The Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) programme provides expertise and support to local authorities and their partners to embed preparing for adulthood from the earliest years. PfA ensures that young people with SEND achieve paid employment, independent living and housing options, good health, friendships, relationships and community inclusion as they move into adulthood:


My family, Our Needs is a website of information for families that has a page outlining a number of options available to young people and families when looking for an alternative housing option for young people with SEND:

Income and Benefits

Benefits change as a young people becomes an adult. There are adult welfare benefits that the young person and their family may be entitled to. Parents and legal guardians receive child benefit for every child they are responsible for who is under the age of 16 or under the age of 20 if they are in approved education or training (this means they are on a college or a recognised training course). See more information about child benefit when your child turns 16.

You may also find it helpful to read the guidance held on Contact, a SEND information website for parents and carers. They have a page specifically on 16+ benefits:

Parents and legal guardians can also claim tax credits. There are ‘top-up’ amounts for these benefits if the child / young person has a disability and meet the eligibility criteria.

Families might be eligible to claim Carers Allowance but it is means tested on your weekly income.

Disability Payments

The main benefits for adults with a disability are: Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP). DLA and PIP are benefits paid to cover the extra costs of a person’s disability or health needs. They are both split into two components: Daily living/care, and mobility.

DLA is available to children under 16. PIP is available for anyone aged 16-64 with a disability:

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Once the young person leaves full time education and is over 18 they will be entitled to apply for ESA if they are unemployed, which is for those who cannot work because of a disability or illness. If they are not eligible for ESA, they will be entitled to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) instead, which is the benefit claimed by most people who are unemployed.

Personal Budgets

A Personal Budget means that someone who requires additional support or adaptations to their home is allocated a pot of money to choose and pay for the care and support they want. It could be funded by a Local Authority or it could be a Personal Health Budget (if the person is funded by NHS Continuing Healthcare) or it could be a joint (integrated) personal budget combining health and social care funding. 

There are different ways you can take and manage a Personal Budget. You can take it as a Direct Payment – which is where you are given a payment instead of services, to buy the services you want – or you can leave it to the local authority or NHS with the responsibility for commissioning services (whilst still choosing the services you want). Or, people can have a combination of both. Young people can receive direct payments from the age of 16. 

You can discuss your Personal Budget with whoever supports you from Children's Disability Team, or NHS. 

Disabled Facilities Grants

Disabled Facilities Grants are funded by your local borough council (such as Lewes, Rother or Wealden), and can support adaptations in the home to make it more suitable to disability. Though the grant is funded by the borough councils it can only be accessed through a needs assessments carried out by Adult Social Care at East Sussex County Council:

Advice and Guidance

Amaze Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) can provide income and benefits advice on their local helpline. They can refer to their benefits service where required. View our section below on ‘Additional Help and Support’ for their contact details.

Two people talking on a sofa.

Wellbeing and Mental Health Support

There are various services throughout East Sussex and online that seek to help young people with their emotional, psychological and mental health. Within this section we have listed some of those services, and at the bottom of this section we have linked to our directory that offers further support.

Please note: some of these services only operate in certain areas of East Sussex. Please visit their websites, which are linked to below, to find out more.

Sussex Mental Health Line

The Sussex Mental Healthline is a 24/7 telephone service offering listening support, advice, information and signposting to anyone experiencing difficulties with their mental health or relatives, friends, carers and healthcare professionals. You do not need an appointment.

If you need support right now, this is a good place to start.

For telephone support and information call:

Alternatively, visit the Sussex Mental Healthline website.

ISEND Educational Psychology Service

The ISEND Educational Psychology Service (EPS) focuses primarily on the learning, social and emotional development of children & young people aged 0-25 years, within their educational setting. They may provide advice, make referrals to other services or provide some one-to-one support. You will need to speak to the educational setting to access this service.

Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) 

CAMHS provide specialist NHS services and support to children and young people up to the age of 18, and their families and carers who are experiencing difficulties with their emotional, psychological and mental health. They have teams of staff across Sussex and in the community who can help you and your family to get the support that you need:

The CAMHS website provides a wide range of information, advice, resources and more, including:

Health in Mind

Health in Mind are dedicated to improving mental wellbeing. They deliver free courses, online programmes and 1:1 talking therapies for adults over the age of 18 in East Sussex:


Young people might also like to have a look at the i-Rock centre:

"i-Rock can offer you advice and support on emotional and mental wellbeing, jobs, education and housing for young people aged 14-25."

They have drop-ins in Hastings, Eastbourne and Newhaven and offer virtual appointments:


A free online counselling project for young people aged 12-18 years who live in East Sussex:


A digital wellbeing service for young people in Sussex run by YMCA DownsLink Group:


Amaze have a page dedicated to mental health and wellbeing, which includes signposting and fact sheets for East Sussex and Brighton & Hove:

Additional Health and Wellbeing Support Services

The East Sussex Local Offer directory, on 1Space, lists many more mental health and wellbeing support services both online and throughout East Sussex:

Finding SEND Suitable Counselling

There are counselling and therapy directory websites that can help you find the right support for particular ages and needs. 

For example, the Psychology Today website has provides counsellors and therapists working in East Sussex, and has the option to search for specific help such as for 'Autism' or 'ADHD':

Other counselling directories include:

Additional Help and Support

East Sussex School Health and Children's Integrated Therapy Services

The Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust offer help and advice for those aged between 11 and 19 years old and would like some information about health issues. A wide range of topics are covered including anxiety, eating disorders, confidence and much more.


Amaze SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) are a local charity who offer free, independent, and impartial advice for all matters relating to SEND. Contact Amaze SENDIASS:

East Sussex Local Offer directory of services

You can visit our SEND-specific online directory, hosted on East Sussex 1Space, that lists many different services both throughout the county and online. Services include advice, guidance and support groups, activities and events and mental health and wellbeing support among many other topics:

NHS - Health A to Z

While the East Sussex Local Offer aims to provide as much information as possible, there may be some conditions that aren't covered in thorough detail. The NHS website has pages that list all conditions, with information and advice on how to get extra support:

Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms

Some of the terms used on this website are explained on our page, Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms.

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