In the new draft SEN Code of Practice, there is a brief reference to One Page Profiles and Person Centred Planning. Several people use these and know how powerful they can be, however, quite a lot of people asked me what they actually were. So I went to Helen Sanderson of Helen Sanderson Associates and asked her to explain.
My daughter, Laura, had the first one-page profile when she was six, eight years ago. She had been in Year 2, for three weeks, when she came home one day in tears, saying the teacher had told her off for wearing the wrong trousers in PE. When we went to see Laura’s teacher, she explained that she had not told Laura off, but had pointed out that if she only had shorts, and not jogging bottoms, then her legs would get cold. She also said that she had not really been able to get to know Laura, as she is quiet in class.
We decided that we needed to help the teacher to learn more about Laura – and quickly. At that time I was the Department of Health’s expert advisor in person-centred planning, and I knew this could be a helpful approach, but I also knew that teachers would not have the time to read the detailed plans we were using. So, I created a one-page version for Laura – a one-page profile.
A one-page profile is a simple way to start personalising education. It is a person-centred thinking tool that provides a way to capture who each pupil is and how best to support them – as far as is possible on one page.
There are three sections in a one-page profile:
- ‘Appreciation’ – what people appreciate about the pupil, their character, gifts and talents
- ‘What is important to’ – what matters to them, from their perspective, about school and life
- ‘How to support’ – the ‘expertise’ from family, teachers and other staff about how to get the best out of the pupil (and the pupil themselves of course)
One-Page Profiles can be developed and updated throughout the school year and as part of the curriculum. The first part of a one-page profile is an appreciation – what people like or admire about the child. We involved Laura’s extended family in contributing to this. It was lovely for Laura to hear what her family likes and admires about her. Then, over a hot chocolate in a cafe, Laura and I thought about what was important to her – her yellow Teddy Sunny who slept on her bed, her three cats, the stick insects and wondering if their eggs would hatch; and what we know as her parents about the best ways to help and supporter her – recognising that she finds change difficult and needs lots of reassurance, and that she can perceive a small negative comment as a big telling off. Laura drew a picture of herself for the background of the profile and we made an appointment to share it with her teacher.
Laura’s one-page profile helped her move from class to class. Each year we updated it with Laura, and her teacher and Laura drew a new picture or chose a photo of herself. Fast-forward now to 2011 when, at the same school, Norris Bank, every child has a one-page profile. Stockport is the first local authority to commit to every child, whether in primary, secondary or special school having a one-page profile, and twenty-two schools in the borough are leading the way.
A one-page profile gives a shared understanding about the child, built from the knowledge of the child, the family and friends and teaching staff. They give parents an opportunity to share their learning and expertise on what good support means for their child, and what is important to them. It is these ‘little things’ that make a huge difference. Jen liked to have her socks pulled up, and could not settle in class unless her socks were just how she wanted them. If a teacher who did not know that, was to say, ‘Stop messing with your sock’, then that Jen would not be able to concentrate on the lesson at all. Guy was anxious about coming to school, and by doing his one-page profile, staff learned that he felt more able to cope if he had a seat by the door in the class room. All teachers knew that, and a simply thing, that did not cost any money, enabled Guy to stay in school.
Fundamentally, one-page profiles put the child at the centre of their learning and personalises their support to them, creating the best opportunity for each child to learn, develop and succeed.
One-page profiles are both a way to share important information, and also to the foundation of changes through person-centred reviews. Zach’s first one-page profile was created when he was in Year 1, following a person-centred review meeting. Many of the significant adults in Zach’s life came together with Zach to talk about what they like and admire about him, what support he needs and what’s working/not working for Zach. A huge amount of rich information about Zach was generated and collated by the school into his first one-page profile. This was shared with significant adults and used for transition to Year 2 to support a full understanding of Zach for new adults in his life. Zach’s one-page profile is re-visited at his annual person-centred review meeting and updated in this way according to his changing needs.
Helen Sanderson, Helen Sanderson Associates
Here at Inspiring Circles, we have used One Page Profiles personally – especially when our children are moving into a new class, having a new taxi driver or escort or if we get a new PA. It is such an easy way to share the important information.
We really need more mention of these and person centred planning in the new Code of Practice. With the removal of school action and school action plus, it is really essential that those children and young people who will now come under the “school based category” have the right support in place. Having a one page profile and using person centred planning tools will really help this to happen.
So, if you are writing a response to the new draft Code of Practice (consultation finishes on 9 December so you still have time), then please add in a request for there to be a much stronger focus on One Page Profiles and Person Centred Planning tools within the Code.
You can find out more about one page profiles on the following sites:
* Helen Sanderson Associates
* One Page Profiles – create your own