Preparation for adulthood core standards and protocols

Core standards

The preparation for adulthood (PfA) core standards were created to provide guidance for education providers in both mainstream and specialist settings. The standards set out the support available for young people and their families to help in the move from childhood to adult life.

It acts as a guide for things young people can do for themselves during the transition, and what to expect in terms of advice, guidance and support.

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

  • special education needs
  • health needs
  • disabilities.

To support the core standards and the development of the PfA outcomes, the Department for Education developed an outcomes tool. It explores the key indicators for preparing for adulthood at different ages and stages of development.  This tool can be used to support any plans put in place for your young person's independence.

Support for young people

Our SEND information hub has lots of great advice and support for young people moving into adulthood about:

  • employment - supported employment, CV writing or internships
  • education - sixth form, colleges, university
  • living alone - travelling independently, money management or finding a home
  • community inclusion - activities, events, relationships and friendships.

For more information visit our SEND information hub for:

How the core standards were created

As part of our commitment to work together with you and our partners we hosted 2 large multi-agency preparation for adulthood (PfA) workshops in February 2020. The workshops allowed us to work collaboratively 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.

From the workshops a report was created summarising our preparing for adulthood priorities, alongside a new multi-agency PfA steering group. The steering group was set up to help and develop a whole system action plan to improve the support for young people as they prepare for adulthood.


The Preparing for Adulthood Protocol document has been created to support young people and our services, to provide them with the right information at the right time.

It will provide young and parents/carers with information about the steps that you will take during the move from childhood to adult life. The document also includes help for our staff to support young with the process, and how best to support them.

We want to help young people to focus on their future and their aspirations. The document has been co-produced by:

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