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Our trans-disciplinary approach

At St. John’s College, we deliver our Ambitious Approach through a trans-disciplinary team where the learner is the central focus at all times.

This means that our staff is made up of a range of professionals, each trained in a different discipline. They work together to produce individually tailored approaches to learning and support. The team includes:

  • qualified teachers responsible for delivering the curriculum.
  • qualified registered managers responsible for individual residential services.
  • speech and language therapists (SaLTs) who support learners to develop their communication and social skills.
  • occupational therapists (OTs) who help learners to manage sensory issues and develop functional life skills.
  • Positive behaviour support (PBS) practitioners who work with learners to overcome behaviours that may create barriers to learning.
  • employment specialists who support learners to develop vocational skills and get work experience.
  • specialist education and residential support staff who work alongside learners throughout their waking day, supporting them to develop skills.

St. John’s College SaLTs, OTs, and PBS practitioners work across our education and residential settings in support of our waking day curriculum. This means our learners have opportunities to learn throughout their waking day, not just in college time.

All staff receive regular training and support to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge and understanding to work effectively with all learners. We also invest in continuous professional development, including an in-house, autism-specific training programme, teacher training and talks and training from external experts, and the opportunity for postgraduate study.

Latest news

Read the latest about our work, and read personal stories, by our learners or relatives and staff.

Positive Behavioural Support

Our staff support our learners to acquire new skills and take part in everyday life. They do this through a college-wide Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) approach. 

PBS is a values and evidence-based framework for delivering the behaviour support needed to improve educational and social outcomes for all learners.

In practice, this means providing support that is:

  • personalised for each individual 
  • based on an understanding of how each young person learns and what their behaviours mean to them
  • planned, implemented and monitored consistently
  • evidence-based
  • proactive and uses the least restrictive approaches.


This approach helps our learners overcome behaviours of distress by developing coping strategies and acquiring new skills. In turn, this provides more opportunities for them to learn effectively and achieve long-term goals.

We use the three-tiered support framework shown in the diagram to make sure all learners learn new skills that will enhance their quality of life. Our aim is for all of our learners to lead their lives as independently as possible, with as few restrictions as possible.



Meet the team that supports this function.