Preparation for Adulthood Core Standards and Protocols

Core standards

The Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) Core Standards outline how education settings support young people and their families through the transition to adulthood.

It explains what young people can do to prepare for the transition and what advice, guidance, and support they can expect.

The guide applies to young people with additional needs including (but not exclusive to):

  • special education needs
  • health needs
  • disabilities.

To support the standards and the development of the PfA outcomes, the Department for Education created an outcomes tool.

It explores the key indicators for adulthood preparation at different ages. You can use this tool to support any independence plans you have for your young person, as well as information found on our young people pages.

Read the Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) core standards (PDF, 2.4 MB).

How the standards were created

In February 2020, we held two multi-agency preparation for adulthood (PfA) workshops. The workshops allowed us to work with representatives from:

  • schools and colleges
  • training providers
  • SENCOs
  • careers advisors
  • health services
  • housing services
  • supported employment
  • commissioners
  • social workers
  • SEND caseworkers
  • the community and voluntary sector
  • families and young people.

As a result of the workshops, a report summarising our PfA priorities was created. To improve support for young people preparing for adulthood, a steering group was set up.


Our Preparing for Adulthood Protocol document aims to provide the right information at the right time to young people and our services.

Parents and caregivers will learn about what to expect during the transition to adulthood. Our staff can also use the document to help young people with the process.

The document has been co-produced by:

  • members of the education, health, and social care services
  • children
  • young people
  • parents/carers
  • our partners.

Read the: