Post School

Moving on from school 

Moving from school to the world beyond can be an exciting but daunting journey for all young people. It is essential that the foundations of this transition are laid throughout a young person’s learning journey; many learners will require extra support to manage the change. Where a young person requires significant support, transition planning must begin no later than 12 months before they leave school and it is good practice that transition support begins earlier as outlined in the 2017 Code of Practice. 

The Scottish Government aims to ensure that all young people have a positive destination when they leave school, whatever this may be. A range of professionals should work with schools to support young people and their parents with this transition which could be to university, college, modern apprenticeships, world of work of volunteering or other activity. A general guide to this transition planning can be found in ‘Planning for Learning Part 2:  Further learning, training and employment beyond age 16’ (2017 Code of Practice).

Some specific and relevant recommendations within ‘Planning for Learning Part 2’  are cited below.

Recommendation 33: Career advice and work experience for young disabled people who are still at school should be prioritised and tailored to help them realise their potential and focus positively on what they can do to achieve their career aspirations. 

Recommendation 34: Funding levels to colleges and MA training providers should be reviewed and adjusted to reflect the cost of providing additional support to young disabled people, and age restrictions should be relaxed for those whose transition may take longer. 
Recommendation 35: Within Modern Apprenticeships, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) should set a realistic but stretching improvement target to increase the number of young disabled people. Progress against this should be reported on annually. 

Recommendation 36: Employers who want to employ a young disabled person should be encouraged and supported to do so.

To access the Code of Practice select here. To access Education Scotland’s briefing on  ‘Planning for Learning Part 2’ select here

It is essential that all transition planning is person centred and that the young person and their family are fully involved, including giving consent, in how assessment information is shared with all other agencies involved in the transition plan. There are many tools which may support this including the use of communication passports.

The My World Triangle has an interactive section designed to support children and young people with additional support needs including autism, so they can create a document which captures information about themselves which will help others to understand their experiences, strengths and support needs.

To access the site select here.

Transition to adulthood

The Principles of Good Transitions 3 

‘Transition is the period when young people develop from children to young adults. This is not a single event, such as leaving school, but a growing-up process that unfolds over several years and involves significant emotional, physical, intellectual and physiological changes. During this period, young people progressively assume greater autonomy in many different areas of their lives and are required to adjust to different experiences, expectations, processes, places and routines. Transitions also impact on the family or on those who care for the child or young person.’
Arc Scotland, Principles of Good Transitions 3 (2019)

Most autistic young people and their families will benefit from support when transitioning to adult life, whether this is from school to college or employment or from child to adult support services.  


The level and type of support required will vary from one individual to the next, but may involve assistance to:  

  • Find and secure employment, educational placements or training  
  • Navigate welfare and housing systems  
  • Manage personal healthcare needs  


Whilst there are key general principles which should underpin effective planning for transitions, planning for support should be tailored to the individual’s and family’s unique preferences and circumstances.  Many young people may benefit from advocacy support when navigating these systems.  


The Scottish Transitions Forum’s Principles of Good Transitions 3 (2019) provides a guidance framework for services working collaboratively to plan for young people with a disability aged 14-25 who are moving into adult life.  


Seven Principles of Good Transitions are identified:  

  1. Planning and decision making should be carried out in a person-centred way  
  1. Support should be coordinated cross all services  
  1. Planning should start early and continue up to age 25  
  1. All young people should get the support they need  
  1. Young people, parents and carers must have access to the information they need  
  1. Families and carers need support  
  1. A continued focus on transitions throughout Scotland  


Principles of Good Transitions 3 emphasises that collaboration across services is vital for effective planning and may include:  

  • Education staff  
  • Paediatric and adult health services  
  • Third Sector   
  • Public sector services  
  • Social work and social care  
  • Employment and training services  


Further detail on the Principles of Good Transitions can be found here:   


Download ‘Principles of Good Transitions 3’ – Scottish Transitions Forum  

This document provides a framework to inform, structure and encourage the continual improvement of support for young people with additional needs between the ages of 14 and 25 who are making the transition to young adult life.

In addition to the introduction, the framework addresses the seven principles of good transitions.

  1. Planning and decision making should be carried out in a person-centred way 
  2. Support should be co-ordinated across all services
  3. Planning should start early and continue up to age 25
  4. All young people should get the support they need
  5. Young people, parents and carers must have access to the information they need
  6. Families and carers need support
  7. A continued focus on transitions across Scotland.

To access the document select here.

Principles of Good transition Autism Supplement

A supplement to this document has been developed specifically for autistic individuals. To access it select ‘here‘.

The Compass App

Compass helps young people and their families and supporting professionals prepare for the big changes in life, such as leaving school, getting a job or changing health or care services. The tool is designed to help young people explore their own interests and options, self-advocate and navigate information to help them make informed decisions about their future. Find out more about the Compass app here: Compass (

Compass – the future of transitions; Arc Scotland

Destinations from school

Further and Higher education 

Scottish Colleges and Universities have a duty under the UK wide Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’, to ensure that students with disabilities are not placed at a disadvantage in comparison to non-disabled students. 

Students might also be able to apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), through the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS). 

Developing the Young Workforce (DYW)

The strategy aims to create an enhanced curriculum offer for young people in schools, colleges and to increase opportunities for employment. It does this by bringing together schools, colleges, training providers and employers to promote the pathways young people need in order to participate in current and future work opportunities.

This includes creating new work based learning options; enabling young people to learn in a range of settings in their senior phase of school; embedding employer engagement in education; offering careers advice at an earlier point in school; and introducing new standards for career education and work placements. 

The strategy continues to be supported by local authorities, who have a lead role in the implementation of DYW, enabling young people to have access to a wide range of work-related learning opportunities within their area. This is achieved through partnership working across schools, colleges, training providers, employers and relevant partners. 

Select here to access further information on DYW from the Scottish Government.

Select here to access further information on DYW from Education Scotland.