What makes this pupil tick?

This school introduced one-page profiles to all pupils in Alan’s year. The profiles helped pupils think about what was important to them and what support they needed, not just for academia but to achieve their wider ambitions. This is how one-page profiles and the activities around creating one-page profiles worked for Alan.

Alan's one-page profile

Alan’s one-page profile

Written by Manchester Grammar School

Alan is a Year 10 pupil at MGS. He is one of our top academic performers and is a tremendously talented young man. It was really interesting for us as a staff to see how someone in this bracket would respond to the activities of the one-page profile.

Whilst it is often the case that one-page profiles can help to solve problems, it is not immediately obvious that Alan has any. The hope was that through engaging with the one-page profile process, Alan would take the opportunity to reflect on the position that he is in and set himself some ambitious targets for the short and medium term. It would also be a chance for Alan to put in writing and discuss with his parents and tutor anything that he thought could be improved upon and the part that they might play in this.

Alan said of his one-page profile; ‘It gets people to think about their strengths weaknesses and what they could do to improve themselves. It made them think about what makes them tick and asks them to try to do certain things more often so that they have more good days.’

When talking about his own experience Alan said, ‘Personally I was using it to think about support I might need in subjects that weren’t quite going as well as the rest rather than things that were going badly wrong.’

This was interesting as it shows that even for a top performer the one-page profile could help to focus the pupil’s mind on subtle aspects of school life that might need attention. Alan placed a lot of value in the supplementary exercises that we did beyond the one-page profile. The first of these was an activity where he imagined that he had been sent to the future, first by five years and then by ten years, and wrote a letter to his current self, to explain what life is like there.

‘It made me realise that I haven’t decided what I want to do yet. It made me start to identify important decisions that are on the horizon and made me think about where I might be going in the future’ he said.

The next activity we asked Alan to do was to consider what was working at school and what wasn’t. At a parent – Form Tutor meeting these ideas were discussed and both parties made contributions to Alan’s ideas.

Of the general process Alan said, ‘Working/not working gives the important people in school an idea about how people are getting on. If you’ve written down serious things are not working then parents and teachers would act on it.’

Of his own experiences Alan said, ‘I was struggling with Islam in Religious Studies, especially exam preparation. This was discussed after working/not working and Form Tutor day. My Form Tutor spoke to my teacher about it and it has made a big difference.’

Having a one-page profile at school to think about his academic studies, his relationship with peers and teachers, his future and  to identify what support he needs to achieve what he has outlined as important has been very helpful to Alan. It has given him another way to get his point across and helped him think about his school life and wider life with greater reflection.

One-page profile are being updated throughout the year and Alan is sharing a draft version

One-page profile – A vehicle to talk

An example of how introducing one-page profiles within the school gave teachers a valuable insight into their students, equipping them with information that would lead to better support and relationships.

John's one-page profile

John’s one-page profile

Written by Manchester Grammar School Head of Year

John is a Year 10 pupil at MGS. Academically John did not have a good start to Year 10 and his report at the end of his first term was not as good as we had hoped. His teachers were citing a lack of effort and his exam grades were way down on previous reports. We had hoped that each of our pupils would benefit from the one-page profiles in many ways, but it was a particularly opportune time for John to start the process.

Following his report John was having regular meetings with me (his Head of Year) to discuss his individual subjects and his approach to work. Meanwhile John was completing several activities with his form tutor around our one-page profile programme. It was the one-page profile and in particular the section on ‘What is important to me?’ that was the most useful. John had received guidance about filling in his one-page profile from his Form Tutor and from me. He knew that when he came to explain what was important to him, he was only supposed to include things that either he could consciously control or things that he could control with the help of others.

In ‘what’s important to me’ John wrote,

‘To get a good night’s sleep. I feel I go to bed well too late and then have to get up really early. This affects me in my lessons as I feel droopy and put no effort into my classwork.’

He also wrote,

‘To get a healthy breakfast. Usually I don’t get breakfast because I don’t put the effort into getting breakfast. During some lessons I can only think about getting some food at break or lunch and therefore my classwork suffers.’

This gave me as John’s Head of Year an immediate insight in to the problems that John was having. As John always seems like a cheerful and awake young man when I see him it had never occurred to me to talk to him about sleep and his diet. The one-page profile gave me a vehicle to talk about these issues with John and very quickly I was able to gather some more information around the subject. It turned out that John was only having breakfast one school day per week and that he was rarely in bed before midnight. All of a sudden it was not surprising that John’s concentration in lessons and the quality of his work had deteriorated. In ‘How best to support me’ John had simply written,

‘Send me to bed at a reasonable time so I am allowed to have a good night sleep.’

and,

‘Either give me some breakfast or remind me to get breakfast.’

This is very simple advice that I have acted upon. Whenever I see John in school I make sure that he has had breakfast and check what time he went to bed. I have also asked his brother to keep an eye on him as well. When parents were shown the one-page profile there was an opportunity for John and his Form Tutor to discuss these issues and suggestions with them face to face.

Using John as an example, the one-page profile process has resulted in the school receiving some very important, yet simple information about a pupil. Parents, teachers and the pupil were then able to work together for a solution to the identified problem.