In their own words: in praise of one page profiles

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One page profiles

As SENCO at a primary school, when I was asked by a parent to look into the idea of creating one page profiles, I immediately saw the benefits for pupils, parents and teachers. A one page profile is a succinct document that highlights the child’s strengths (as seen by themselves, their peers and their parents) and documents how that child prefers to learn.

Initially we were going to target specific pupils who had the most distinct learning or behavioural needs; however, as this was a new venture for our school, we wanted to experience the process with a whole range of children to see how it could influence every child’s experience of school and learning. We therefore worked with all of our Year 3 class.

Through in-class activities and correspondence with parents, we created a programme to collect information about each child. We then arranged for a teaching assistant to spend quality, one to one time with pupils to collate all this information. The end result is a document that reflects each child: it shows what is important to them as individuals, and as part of our school community. The document is made up of different sections: “Great things about me”, “What is important to me” and “What you need to know to support me”.

The process has been a real learning journey, and, inevitably, we made some mistakes made along the way! When we implement the process with other classes, we will learn from our experiences and build the system into the curriculum (especially the PHSE/SEAL curriculum), rather than it being a “bolt on”.

We have also extended the principles of one page profiles to other aspects of the school. Indeed, our Headteacher has used the format with teaching staff as part of the performance management cycle within the school.

Our Year 5 teacher has also adapted one of the sections to form the basis of her classroom reward system. Each child designed their own sticker chart as part of their ICT skills work, and special stickers were then produced with space for the teacher to write on; thus, children are building up sticker charts that have real meaning for them, as each sticker specifies the reasons why they received it. This reinforces a very positive picture of each child, and highlights very clearly where their strengths lie.

As the Summer Term progresses, and we turn our attention to the transition process, I am going to create one page profiles with our Year 2 children. This will give all of the children a real sense of identity, and will inform the Key Stage 2 teachers about their particular strengths and needs. I will also create a profile for our Year 6 children to aid their progression from the security of a familiar primary school to the next stage of their schooling.

Working alongside parents, who see things from a different perspective to school staff, is always a valuable experience. I have enjoyed the whole process of creating one page profiles, and can see the project developing and becoming, in time, really embedded in our school culture.

Further infomation

Tabitha Smith is the SENCO at Norris bank Primary School, Stockport.

Article first published in SEN Magazine issue 41: July/August 2009.

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