Rutter’s work is open to criticism but has been transformational. He would be the first to say it is no panacea, that it has gaps, that it has been applied in ways that have perhaps been unhelpful, that there have been unintended consequences.

So what are the gaps (not just in Rutter’s work but in all era 2 work of this type)?

1. It is narrow in focus. It tells us about a young person’s mental health, but not say his school performance, or his interest in the violin. It doesn’t tell us how the outcome intersects with that of his mother, or brother.

2. What is going on inside that black box of treatment? Where is the analysis of the context around the young person? In the last session we advanced a definition of place that was all about context but it is missing here.

3. The data report on selected moments in time, at baseline and then six or nine or 12 months later, sometimes every year in longitudinal analysis, but what happens in between?

Is it possible then, to have an analysis that:

  • handles multiple outcomes
  • takes account of the context around the individual, and
  • reports on change continuously.