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Local authorities should plan a smooth transition to the higher education (and, where applicable, to the new local authority area) before ceasing to maintain a young person's EHC plan. Once the young person's place has been confirmed at a higher education institution, the local authority must pass a copy of their EHC plan to the relevant person in that institution at the earliest opportunity, where they are asked to do so by the young person.

The local authority should also plan how social care support will be maintained, where the young person continues to require it, and whether this will continue to be provided by the home local authority or by the authority in the area they are moving to. This should include consideration of how the student will be supported if they have a dual location, for example, if they live close to the higher education institution during term time and at home during vacations.

For most young people, their home local authority will continue to provide their care and support but this will depend on the circumstances of their case. The Ordinary Residence guidance published by the Department of Health provides a number of examples to help local authorities in making these decisions. The guidance is available on the GOV.UK website and a link is given in the Reference section under Chapter 8. Under the Care Act 2014, young people have the right to request transition assessments for adult care that will enable them to see whether they are likely to have eligible needs that will be met by adult services once they turn 18. Local authorities should use these assessments to help plan for support that will be provided by the local authority while a young person is in higher education.

As with EHC plan development in general, transition assessments for adult care and support must involve the young person and anyone else they want to involve in the assessment. They must also include the outcomes, views and wishes that matter to the young person - much of which will already be set out in their EHC plan.

Assessments for adult care or support must consider:

  • current needs for care and support
  • whether the young person is likely to have needs for care and support after they turn 18 and is so, what those needs are likely to be and which are likely to be eligible needs

Local authorities can meet their statutory duties around transition assessment through an annual review of a young person's EHC plan that includes the above elements. Indeed, EHC plans must include provision to assist in preparing for adulthood from Year 9 (age 13 to 14).