As a head of a unique and outstanding special school which I formed thirty years ago, I have directly helped numerous children with many complex needs. The overriding factor that was to become evident was not to focus on specific problems to the exclusion of everything else but to focus on the holistic well being of the child and help them to improve in skills and competencies in small steps over time.

Whilst this has been an evolving practice over many years, it has now been recognised as a ‘marginal gains approach’ to health, education and social care.

This as a methodology is uncommon in this area if not unique to this system but can be regularly found in industry, the armed forces and in sport, motor racing in particular and most noticeably this was they way the ‘Sky cycling team’ was to move from good to world winning in only a few remarkable years.

This system looks at the key areas of a child or young persons life and is pre set to a positive answer so it only needs altering if an issue is identified. When areas are identified it automatically produces an action plan to work towards.

The effect is a clear picture is formed of their abilities, strengths and weaknesses in a pragmatic way resulting in a step by step approach to progress for which measurable data is collected overtime. This helps both the child or young person and those involved in helping and supporting to focus on removing the barriers to education and progress. Often engaging both parties collectively in a way that is motivating to both.

This is information that is important to communicate at transitional stages as students move to different schools or facilities.

The end outcome is to better prepare young people for a life engaged in relationships, community and employment.

David Bartlett MBE..