Transition Planning: Target Setting for Life Beyond School

by | Aug 23, 2023

Transition Planning: Target Setting for Life Beyond School

Transition planning plays a pivotal role in facilitating the successful integration of students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) into post-school life. This critical process involves careful consideration of individual strengths, abilities, and challenges, and aims to equip students with the necessary skills and resources to achieve meaningful and fulfilling adult lives. Target setting emerges as a fundamental aspect of transition planning, providing a structured framework to guide students’ progress and prepare them for the challenges of post-school life. This mini-post discusses the significance of transition planning for students with SEN, emphasises the role of target setting in their preparation for life beyond school, and provides valuable resources and tools to ensure effective transition planning.

Importance of Transition Planning for Students with SEN:

Transition planning is of paramount importance for students with SEN as they face unique obstacles in navigating their way into adulthood. While all students undergo a transitional phase from school to the wider community, students with SEN require additional support and specialised planning to address their specific needs and goals. Effective transition planning acknowledges the diversity of abilities and aims to empower students to become active participants in society, enhancing their prospects for personal fulfilment and independence.
Moreover, transition planning promotes collaboration among various stakeholders, including educators, parents, caregivers, vocational counsellors, and community service providers. By fostering a collaborative environment, transition planning ensures a holistic approach to support the student’s diverse needs, preferences, and aspirations. Consequently, it fosters a smoother and more successful transition to adult life, increasing the likelihood of achieving positive outcomes.

Highlighting the Role of Target Setting in Preparing Students for Post-School Life:

Target setting is an indispensable component of transition planning, enabling students with SEN to work towards realistic and achievable post-school objectives. These targets are individualised, reflecting the student’s interests, strengths, and areas for growth, and serve as a roadmap for progress during and after the transition process. The role of target setting can be summarised in the following key points:

1. Goal Clarity:

By setting clear and specific goals, students gain a sense of direction and purpose, which can significantly enhance their motivation and focus. These goals may encompass various domains, including academic, vocational, social, and independent living skills.

2. Skill Development:

Target setting facilitates the identification and prioritization of essential skills that students need to acquire for their post-school endeavours. Individualised goals guide the selection of appropriate interventions and training to enhance these skills effectively.

3. Transition Services Alignment:

Target setting ensures alignment with available transition services and resources. It helps educators and stakeholders customise support mechanisms that cater to the student’s unique requirements, maximising the chances of a successful transition.

4. Measurement of Progress:

By establishing measurable targets, progress monitoring becomes feasible. Regular assessment of a student’s development aids in identifying potential challenges and modifying strategies as needed, thereby optimising the transition process.

Resources and Tools for Effective Transition Planning:

To facilitate effective transition planning for students with SEN, educators, parents, and stakeholders can utilise a range of resources and tools. Some valuable resources include:

1. Individualised Education Programs (IEPs):

IEPs serve as the foundation for transition planning, outlining specific academic and functional goals for students with SEN. They integrate transition-related objectives, ensuring continuity between school and post-school activities.

2. Person-Centred Planning (PCP):

PCP is a collaborative approach that places the student at the centre of the transition planning process. It involves identifying the student’s preferences, interests, strengths, and needs, leading to the creation of a personalised transition plan.

3. Career and Vocational Assessment Tools:

These tools help assess a student’s aptitudes, interests, and vocational preferences, aiding in the identification of suitable career paths and employment opportunities.

4. Community-Based Instruction (CBI):

CBI exposes students to real-life environments, promoting the development of practical skills necessary for independent living and employment.

5. Transition-focused Websites and Portals

Numerous online platforms offer valuable information, guidelines, and resources on transition planning for students with SEN. These platforms often include transition planning templates and examples that can be adapted to individual needs.


In conclusion, transition planning holds significant value for students with SEN as it equips them with the essential skills and resources to navigate life beyond school successfully. By setting specific and personalised targets, transition planning empowers students to progress towards their post-school goals, fostering self-determination and independence. Utilising appropriate resources and tools, educators and stakeholders can ensure effective transition planning, enabling students with SEN to lead fulfilling and productive lives as active members of society.

“Transition planning for students with SEN is crucial for their successful integration into post-school life, and target setting serves as a fundamental aspect, providing goal clarity, skill development, transition services alignment, and progress measurement, while utilising valuable resources and tools enhances the effectiveness of the planning process.”

Target Setting for SEN
Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Director of SENDCO Solutions

Abigail Hawkins was a SENCO for over 25 years and has worked with pupils with all types of needs.  Abigail has worked with Ed-Tech companies on developing their software and also been chair of governors for a multi-academy trust. Abigail now runs SENsible SENCO and SENDCO Solutions, with the aim of working with SENCOs and inclusion leaders across the UK to improve their support for SEND pupils. See our school services for more information.

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