Personalised Pathway

Authors: Simon Duffy and Pippa Murray

The Personalised Pathway was developed as a whole system reform for services to disabled children and their families. The Personalised Pathway ends the confused departmentalization of need and promotes personalisation from birth.


The inability of current services – health, education and support - to make a sustained difference to the lives of disabled children and their families results in distress and inequality. Parents are looking for straightforward solutions to the difficulties and pressures they face: an extra pair of hands, a night’s sleep, and flexibility to use support when they need it most. Disabled children want opportunities for friendship and fun; their brothers and sisters want to hang out with their friends and have quality family time.

The Personalised Pathway was developed by Pippa Murray and Simon Duffy and builds upon their earlier model of Personalised Transition. It takes the central principles right back to birth in order to increase family control, improve support, strengthen capacities and increase accountability.The Personalised Pathway outlined in this paper provides the opportunity for all these things to happen in a simple, straightforward way that has the scope to transform family life, provide greater equity, and allow scarce resources go further.


The Personalised Pathway is an integrated model of support for disabled children and their families, from birth into adulthood. 

It has 4 key elements:

These elements are described in more detail below.

1. Family leadership

All families should have the authority to plan and lead their own support and shape the way things work locally. This capacity should be assumed and supported. At the initial point of contact parents will be:

2. Curriculum for citizenship

When children reach school age the school should become the natural hub for providing support and education to the child and their family. The school will takeover from the Development Centre the role of co-ordinating any additional external expertise. Developing a curriculum for citizenship helps schools realize their role as a valuable resource to support the student’s preparation for life as a citizen.

In addition, personalised learning programmes in schools should:

All students with a Statement of Educational Need should have an identified budget with which to buy the education and resources that best suits their needs.

3. Co-ordinated expert support

Families should get the right support, at the right time, with professional leadership and co-ordination provided by one lead agency at any time - Children’s Development Centres and Schools will become vital points of focus for professional support. The initial multi-agency assessment will act as a critical point for:

4. Integrated individual budgets

All families should have a clear entitlement to an individual budget which combines funding for support, education and the management of long-term health conditions. The Pathway should ensure that:


The Personalised Pathway would mean:

Moreover this policy can be put into practice now, because it is:

However to drive this policy forward we will need to see local and national leaders move on from narrow, departmental perspecitives. We will need to see leaders emerge who are willing to champion the family and the young person and understand that the needs of the family come before the needs of the system.

The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Personalised Pathway © Simon Duffy and Pippa Murray 2010.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

Inspiration | 01.03.10

disability, education, health & healthcare, intellectual disabilities, social care, England, Inspiration

Pippa Murray PhD


Director of IBK Initiatives

Simon Duffy


President of Citizen Network

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