Personalised Transition

Author: Simon Duffy

Personalised Transition is a system for enabling young people with complex needs to leave school and to achieve active citizenship within their communities. It works by shifting control to families while providing more effective support from school and other professionals.


Personalised Transition was developed at Talbot School in Sheffield in 2006 as part of a collaboration between the school, Sheffield City Council, NHS Sheffield and the Learning and Skills Council. The model began to be used in 2007 and it is now being further developed and extended for use across the Yorkshire & Humberside region. The model draws heavily upon the experience of using person-centred planning and similar techniques to give more control to young people and their families and the value of focusing on citizenship as a core element of the curriculum. It also powerfully demonstrates the possibility of using self-directed support to bridge the gaps between children and adult services and the to pool resources from education, health care and social care. The model is fully described in Personalised Transition by Alison Cowen.


The four key elements within the model are:

  1. Family Leadership - Families are recognised as the appropriate leaders for planning and developing the education and support that young people need as they take on adult lives. This means overcoming the paternalistic culture that has been dominant in services for people with disabilities, offering appropriate support and making sure that families can work together to realise more positive futures.
  2. Curriculum for Citizenship - Schools can work with young people to prepare them for active citizenship, helping them personalise their learning experience but with a real and positive focus on all that life has to offer once school ends. This means an increased focus on self-advocacy, communication, work and active participation in community life.
  3. Coordinated Expert Support - Expert professional support is vital, but it must be coordinated, simplified and appropriate to the needs of the young person and their family. This means that the school has a key role in ensuring that meetings are designed around families and that professional input is shaped to suit the family’s needs.
  4. Individual Budgets - It is important that families have early information about what they will be entitled to before the young person leaves school and that no ambiguity opens up between the responsibilities of education, health and social care. This means that systems have to be developed which allow for an early identification of needs and of a reasonable budget.

The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Personalised Transition © Simon Duffy 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 | 15.02.10

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

Pippa Murray PhD


Director of IBK Initiatives

Simon Duffy


President of Citizen Network

Also see