If your child is due to leave high school this year, their school should have been planning for this transition for a while. This should involve working with your child, you, and any others who will be supporting them once they leave school. You can find out more about how this usually happens in our factsheet on Education and additional support after 16.
The coronavirus pandemic means that there might have been significant changes and challenges to what was originally planned for your child to help them prepare for leaving school. While your child’s local authority and school should still be doing what they can to help plan for your child leaving school, there might be changes or limits to what they can do while they follow public health guidance.
The first place your child should be able to find some help is from their school. Although plans may have changed because of the coronavirus, and the support the school is able to offer may be impacted, they should still be trying to help their pupils where they can.
You or your child can contact their school to ask for some help to plan for them leaving school and prepare for life after school.
Here are some further resources that you and your child might find helpful.
Local authorities and schools have a legal duty to plan for young people with additional support needs leaving school. Usually a failure to plan for a young person with additional support needs leaving school is something that can be taken to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal.
However, the law has been updated to clarify that while local authorities and schools should still be trying their best to support transitions for young people with additional support needs leaving school, they will not have ‘failed’ their legal duties if they have not done something because of the steps they are taking to respond to coronavirus.
This does not mean your child should not be supported – just that it may look different. What support they should be receiving will depend on their individual needs, and what is reasonable and possible in the current situation.
If you are not happy with the planning for your child, there are still steps you can take. Start by talking to your child’s school about your concerns. You could ask for a transition planning meeting to be held as soon as possible by phone or video call.
Our Avoiding and solving problems factsheet explains more about further steps you can take. Some of the routes available (for example, formal complaints) might take longer than usual or happen in a different way at the moment. You can contact our helpline for more advice about your options.