Last updated:

29th March 2024

Making your own decisions

When you can start making your own decisions

When you can start making your own decisions

At the end of the school year when you turn 16, you can make decisions about your future. This can include if you want to stay in school or leave and get work experience. Support is available if you need it. This is called advocacy and it helps you make sure your views are heard. Find out more about advocacy.

Being able to understand and make decisions

Some young people do not have the ability to understand or make a decision when it needs to be made. This means they lack the mental capacity to make decisions about certain things. This could be about their money, care, treatment or wellbeing.

This means someone else needs to decide for them.

If there are concerns about your mental capacity to make decisions, a social worker must carry out a mental capacity assessment.

Involve your parents and carers

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

They can also make decisions for you, as long as you are happy for them to.

Making decisions about your EHCP

When you reach the end of compulsory school age, which is the last Friday in June after you turn 16, you have the right to make decisions about your education, health and care plan (EHCP).

This means you have the rights to:

  • ask for an EHC needs assessment (you can do this up to your 25th birthday)
  • ask for changes to your EHCP
  • ask for a particular learning setting to be named in your EHCP
  • ask for a personal budget to pay for some of your care named in your EHCP
  • appeal to the First-tier (SEN and Disability Tribunal) about decisions concerning your EHCP

To find out more about your rights to make your own decisions about your EHCP, see Chapter 9 of the SEND Code of Practice on GOV.UK.

Get more information and advice

Watch the Council for Disabled Children's video about making decisions about the SEND support you need on their YouTube channel.

Read more about mental capacity on the Mind website.

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

Find out more about Mental Capacity Act: Making Decisions on GOV.UK.

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