An easy to adopt programme to maximise children/young people’s independence by everyone working in a support role

Attend the free information sharing session on the Step-back to Independence Programme, find out more here

The Step Back Programme is designed as a whole school approach, to support the learning and teaching of all children and young people with learning needs.

The Step-back Programme has been developed by Gwyn McCormack at Positive Eye to give schools and colleges a simple structured system to maximise the independence of children and young people.

Why Step-back?
Maximising children and young people’s opportunities to fulfil their potential by supporting and teaching them to develop their knowledge and skills is the aim of all practitioners. The process for children and young people to reach their outcomes is complex particularly the concept that ‘support’ plays in responding to the individual need of the ‘learner’.

The Step Back Approach places the needs of learners at the heart of the school improvement planning process. It has sometimes been the case that children and young people with learning needs are seen as additional planning needs for the teachers and even the senior leaders of the education setting. By adopting the Step Back Approach the education setting will be adopting a set of resources and training across the setting that will demonstrate links to policy and practice that allows children and young people with learning needs to act as the starting point for planning, rather than being seen as the final point.

What are the key strengths of Step-back?
A Person Centred Approach is a key strength of Step-back. This whole school approach includes ready to go activities for the school/college/service to use. Activities include Easy Easier, promoting the voice of the learner and strategies from the Step-in, Step-back planning documents. Adopting this approach sends the clear message that this is everybody’s business.

10 minute film about the Step-Back Programme

Easy-Easier Learner's Voice System

How does Step-back support workforce development?

The Step- back approach is specifically designed to assist education settings in embedding core skills development for ALL education practitioners supporting them to understand how they can support a wide range of low complexity, high incidence learning needs.

Without being taught how to ask for help when they need it and recognise when they are meeting success without additional support is crucial to the learner’s long term success in life and ultimately work.

The Step-Back Programme is presented via 4 x 1.5 hour online sessions. 

The sessions teach how to implement the Step-back Programme and associated resources to understand how to incorporate across the school setting.

Dates for the next Step-back Programme

Visit the Positive Eye Shop on this link to find out the dates for the next course.

Course aims:

1. To demonstrate knowledge and understanding of ‘support’ and of the ‘support role’
2. To identify how and when to step-in and how and when to step-back when supporting learners with special needs
3. To embed the Step-back Code the principles which guide the Step-back approach and which underpin this programme as core values.

Who is the programme for?

It’s important that Step-back is embraced by the whole school staff. The programme is NOT aimed at teaching assistants, it is for everyone. Without full commitment from the full school staff, the Step-back Programme would not be effective.

Course Materials – all materials are provided in download format

Step-back is copyright protected by Positive Eye Ltd

Woman presenting a course


I don’t know why everyone in the country isn’t using this programme. In my opinion every special school should have a copy. As soon as you begin to use Positive Looking you realise how good it is. VI can be low on the education agenda and in Bradford the resource has really helped us to bring it to the fore

Testimonial: Positive Looking – Yvonne Smith, Advisory Teacher for Children with VI, Bradford, UK