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When can a young person make their own decisions?

When can a young person make their own decisions?

Deciding things for yourself

As you get older you'll become more involved in decisions about your future.

At the end of the school year you're 16 the  Children and Families Act 2014 says you'll be able to make your own decisions and requests about your future. This can include if you want to stay in education or leave and get a job.

Involving your parents and carers

Parents, or other family members, can continue to support you in making decisions.

They can also act on your behalf, as long as you're happy for them to.

Making decisions about Education, Health and Care Plans

The specific decision-making rights about Education, Health and Care plans ( see Chapter 9 of the SEND Code of Practice PDF) which apply to young people directly from the end of compulsory school age are:

Your rights about:

  • The right to request an assessment for an EHC plan (which they can do at any time up to their 25th birthday)
  • The right to make representations about the content of their EHC plan
  • The right to request that a particular institution is named in their EHC plan
  • The right to request a Personal Budget for elements of an EHC plan
  • The right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability) about decisions concerning their EHC plan

Deciding if you can make your own decisions

Once you're 16, you're assumed to have be the ability to make your own decisions. This is known as capacity. 

If there is concern about your capacity to make a specific decision, a process will be followed to decide whether you can make the decision or someone else should make the decision. The legislation about this is called the Mental Capacity Act.

Making decisions about special educational needs and disability video

To find out more watch our video:

More information and advice

Read about the Mental Capacity Act on the MENCAP website

Read the Mind guide to the Mental Capacity Act.

Visit the Council for disabled children website for information on the decision-making: the legal framework for disabled children and their families.

Read the guide to the Mental Capacity Act on the HFT website.

UK Government website: Mental Capacity Act - Making Decisions

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