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Showing Progress for Post-16 Learners with Steps4Life

Steps4Life is our new framework for individuals with SEND who are working towards independent living. It is primarily designed to be used from Key Stage 4 onwards.

In England, the law states that although you can leave school at age 16, you must either remain in full time education, start an apprenticeship or traineeship or spend 20 hours or more a week working/volunteering while in part-time education or training. The new SEN code of practice extended the age councils have duty to support individuals with SEND from 19 to 25. These changes mean there are more places required for students over the age of 16. There is also a requirement for a more relevant curriculum and assessment framework to suit the needs of this growing cohort

The aim for Steps4Life is to provide a broad assessment framework that settings can use to prepare individuals for life. Some individuals will be working towards independent living, with employment while others will be working towards semi-independent living and others will be in supported living. The Steps4Life framework is designed to support professionals in showing progress by showing how an individual has developed existing skills, learnt new skills or has used skills in different contexts. A student may learn to tell the time within Maths, but then apply that skill within daily routines, journeys, socialising and within other areas. Some individuals can transfer skills easily, for others the transference can take longer to embed.

The Steps4Life has been designed to support any individual prepare for independent living. One aspect of the EHCP process is supporting the student ‘Preparing for Adulthood’. Schools are also required to support pupils’ personal development, part of this is preparing students for the next stage of their life. The framework is primary aimed to support individuals aged 14 to 25 who have an EHCP and are in an education setting, the framework can also be used with:

  • Students with SEND who may be working towards GCSEs or other qualifications, but need support around independence, living skills and employability skills
  • Students in Alternative Provisions who are following a more practical curriculum
  • Younger students to help promote independence, life skills and preparing for adulthood
  • Individuals in care settings. Being in care may be a temporary situation, individuals may be working towards semi-independent living or even independent living.

We have split Steps4Life into 3 packs, one focused on academic skills, one on life skills and one on employability skills:


Academic Skills



PSD (including Sex & Relationships)

Digital Skills

Life Skills


Self Care



Employability Skills

Choosing a Job

Getting a Job


Workplace Skills

Workplace Routines