Feeling valued and supported at work

Corrina wrote this story last year (before the birth of her first child). She shares with us how using a one-page profile in her role as a primary school teacher has helped her feel valued as an individual within her staff team and how it has significantly improved her appraisal and performance management process.

Corrina's one-page profile

Corrina’s one-page profile

Written by Corrina Warren

I am 26 years old and I am a primary school teacher at Oxley Park Academy, I have worked at Oxley Park for five years. I work in Key Stage Two and I love working and learning alongside the children. In June 2013 I am due to become a mum for the first time and I can’t wait for my son to be born.

I have a one-page profile as a member of staff at Oxley Park Academy. As a school we are currently working hard on driving forward personalisation  and the Academy Principal, Cathy Higgins, felt that it was important for the staff to be valued as individuals as well as the children.

We had training on what the purpose of a one-page profiles is and how to develop each section. Cathy then asked us to write our own for us to share with her at our Performance Management meeting. The purpose of doing this was so that Cathy had a greater understanding of the staff as individuals and what she could do to support us and to help develop us as professionals.

Teachers have Performance Management Meetings with Cathy on a termly basis. As part of the review process we share our one-page profiles and update Cathy, where necessary, on any amendments that have been made. Cathy uses the information from the one-page profile to help us set targets as well as offer strategies and guidance in order to help support us as individuals.

For me personally, the ‘Like and Admire’ is my favourite section of my one-page profile. This section reminds me of how I am valued and appreciated by my colleagues and always makes me smile when I read it. However, in terms of usefulness, the ‘How to support me best’ section is the most important. This is the section that is reviewed and updated most frequently and is the most important bit for Cathy to know because ultimately she is the one who implements the support for me.

Having the one-page profile and sharing it with Cathy has meant that she now has a greater understanding of what she can do in order to help me achieve my goals at work and ensure that what’s important to me is being met. Cathy knows that I like structure and for my job role to be clear, because of this I now have a clearly defined job description which outlines my roles and responsibilities. This has supported me greatly as I know who and what I am responsible for and no longer worry about things that are not part of my job role.

I now feel that I am able to confidently approach Cathy if I have any concerns about work and my work/life balance and I use my one-page profile to help me do this. It enables me to communicate with Cathy and share my feelings in a way that I might otherwise find difficult to do. Having the information written down in front of me ensures that I share how I am really feeling and Cathy also keeps a copy of it to keep on file with my Performance Management Meeting notes so that she also has a record of what has been agreed.

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.

Who decides a child’s potential? 4 benefits to using one-page profiles in School

Cathy Higgins

Cathy Higgins

Written by guest blogger Cathy Higgins, Head teacher at Oxley Park Academy

I’ve always found it strange when people talk about a child reaching their full potential. What is their full potential and who exactly decided it? It strikes me that by identifying this invisible finishing line and then pushing a child right up to it and nothing more, we are seriously underestimating what is possible.

I’ve worked in education for 30 years and have been Head Teacher three times. In 2005 I was appointed to Oxley Park Academy before it had even been built and was fortunate enough to take Headship at a time when I could influence its shape from the bottom up; quite literally – I was on site with a hard hat helping design something wonderful for our community!

When we opened in October that year, we had 100 pupils. We now have 550 and a waiting list but our size isn’t the only thing that has changed. In July 2011 we converted to academy status. We are still a state school but rather than taking direction from our local authority, we are funded centrally which means we have the freedom to develop the curriculum and to allocate money to the areas that we know supports our pupils, staff and community best.  In short, it has allowed us to be more person-centred and using one-page profiles with all 550 of our pupils is one of the ways that we do this.

In September 2011 we employed two people to drive forward our approach to personalisation. We don’t have Special Educational Needs teachers here at the school because we see every child as having individual requirements and we firmly believe that by adopting person-centred practices within our school’s culture, we can support and teach each child well.

One-page profiles celebrate the individual gifts and talents of our pupils. They also capture the essential information about what is important to and for each child and it is this that enables us to support and encourage them far beyond any pre-determined potential.  The profiles are stored in each classroom and electronically. They are added to continuously and redeveloped in full as pupils move to the next year group. Being able to dedicate time and resource into embedding these types of person-centred thinking practices into our school’s culture has been one of the most powerful outcomes of our academy status. The benefits for our pupils, teachers, parents and community (after all – each and every empowered child will be taking these values with them for the rest of their life) as a whole are magnificent.

Here are the four main benefits we have experienced by using one-page profiles:

1)      Better Understanding: To be truly person-centred we have to treat every child as unique, special and with unquantifiable potential. One-page profiles encourage pupils to think about what is important to them and empowers them to tell us how we can support them best.  The ‘what people like and admire about me’ section is exclusive to each child and encourages us (parents, teachers and classmates) to celebrate their individual skills and gifts.

2)      Better relationships: Children can often act differently at home and at school and by bringing parents and teachers together through a child’s one-page profile we can improve our understanding of them and support them better. The pupils themselves have learnt to celebrate their individuality and support each other, forming better and more positive working relationships with their peers and teachers.

3)      Good education: We believe every child has the right to a good education. A one-page profile highlights how we can support a child to learn well. It might lead us to use special equipment to aid with maths or communication or it might be as simple as encouraging them to ask questions or ensuring they have somewhere quiet to sit and concentrate. Whatever the profile identifies we are able to respond.

4)      Reflection: Both pupils and teachers have reflection time at Oxley Park Academy. We see this as vital for learning and progression as well as good mental health and wellbeing.  The profiles helped us to identify the need for this time (highlighted as something that is important) but they are also a tool that we reflect upon.

 

5 top tips to use one-page profiles in schools

Tabitha SmithWritten by guest blogger Tabitha Smith, then SENCO and Deputy Head at Norris Bank Primary School, Stockport

I’ve worked in education for over 20 years and 18 of these have been in Stockport. It was whilst teaching at Norris Bank Primary school in 2008 that I was first introduced to one-page profiles. Helen Sanderson is the mother of one of our old pupils and she came into school to talk to us about Laura’s progress. She introduced us to a single sheet of paper which communicated perfectly what people liked and admired about Laura, what was important to her and how best we could support her. This was the beginning of something huge; our personalisation journey.

We immediately saw the value of the one-page profile as a means to improve communication, learn about the individual requirements of each child, celebrate their gifts and talents and therefore teach and support them well.

At first we introduced the profiles to years two and six. We wanted to use them to help pupils in the transition from infant to juniors and from primary up to secondary. We had decided early on that this was not a tool to be used just with the children that had been identified as having ‘special educational needs’ as our belief is that all children have special or individual requirements and that each of them would benefit from using a one-page profile.

The children were incredibly excited about and receptive to creating their profiles. It wasn’t the first time we had asked them to tell us what they needed to work well but it was the first time we had introduced such a positive way of capturing this information, of embedding this culture deep into the roots of our school. We soon realised that we needed to give every child the opportunity to create their own profile and so we made this commitment.

I won’t lie and tell you that it was easy. It wasn’t. We have 340 pupils at Norris Bank and the coordination of communication between pupils, parents and teachers as well as the administration that was required, was enough to cause even the most committed of professionals a few sleepless nights! But we did it. In 2009 we achieved our aim or arming each child with their own one-page profile and setting a system in place that means that each year they re-work their profiles in time for their move to the next class.

We now know what each child needs to be supported well. This could be something as simple as how they like to be encouraged, what type of classroom environment they thrive in or whether there is any equipment the child needs to aid their communication or learning. Our parents are able to share with us the things that they love and admire about their child and we can celebrate this together – bridging the gap between home and school life. We have a point of reference for every parent’s evening and a detailed introduction to new teachers of each and every pupil. And crucially, our pupils feel valued and empowered to tell us what is important to and for them.

This year I accepted a Headship at a new school and I will be taking my learning of one-page profiles and the power of personalisation in education with me but I wanted to share with you five top tips to successfully introduce profiles in your school. I said before that it wasn’t easy – but as we have been through the process, we have learnt what works and what doesn’t work and now have a system that is absolutely achievable for schools – and believe me, the results are well worth the effort!

Using one-page profiles in a school setting:

  1. Understand their worth: It is important that the people making it happen (the teachers, pupils, parents and admin staff) understand how a one-page profile can benefit a child in school, how it can aid their learning, improve communication, highlight the need for new measures of support and celebrate their gifts and talents. We did this through training sessions, but also having resources like this blog site is a great way to share the ‘power of the one-page profile’!
  2. Give yourself time:  It takes time to achieve a task of this scale and giving yourself an unrealistic time frame will only de-motivate you. Think first about the practicalities of training people about one-page profiles, producing them, involving parents, capturing and storing the information then base your time scale on this.
  3. Keep it simple: We learnt early on that trying to type up each and every one-page profile and store them electronically wasn’t for us! We now send post cards out to parents at the end of each school year and they add the section about what they like and admire about their child. The children then return the cards to the class room and work through the sections ‘what is important to them and how best to support and encourage them in school’. Pupils personalise their postcard profiles with colours and drawings which further capture their personalities. The cards are then kept in a plastic flip wallet by the teacher and can be taken out and looked at or added to at any time.
  4. Involve parents: The benefits of a child having a one-page profile far transcends school and involving parents in the process early by getting them to add to the profiles is a good way of introducing them to the tool. We had an army of volunteers helping us when we first rolled out the project and although now we have streamlined it, we don’t need this administrative support, we still involve parents and are able to capture their rich insight into their child.
  5. Walk the walk: Capturing information isn’t enough. It is how you use it that will make your introduction of one-page profiles in school a success. We adapt our teaching style to our pupils based in what they have told us. We make decisions about their support based on what we know about them. We share this information with parents and with their new secondary school because we believe it is of vital importance. We see each or our pupils as individuals and whilst they may all be taught the same curriculum, we do it in the way that best suits them.

Speaking out – not suffering in silence

An example of how a one-page profile can help communicate the essential information needed to support a child with a long term health condition in school. Jessenia doesn’t like to make a fuss and can find it difficult to speak out about what she needs. Her one-page profile does this for her and ensures she is not put at risk because of a lack of information or understanding.  

Jessenia's one-page profile

Jessenia’s one-page profile

Written by Jessenia’s mum 

My eight year old Jessenia attends Oxley Park Academy and is in Year 4.  She was born with a congenital heart defect and has had four major heart operations since her birth, and many minor procedures. The last one was when she was five years old.  Jessenia is a child that likes to please the adults around her. She wants to be recognised for her well-behaved manner and strives for this recognition. She has a maturity about her and relates more to older children and adults.

As Jessenia’s mum I felt that she needed a one-page profile because physically she looks well, so unless you know of her heart condition, it would be difficult for someone who didn’t spend much time with her to recognise that she was having difficulty.  PE is quite demanding for Jessenia and although she wants to join in with her classmates she can’t always keep up and often just needs to sit down and rest.

Also walking long distances is very difficult for her as her heart has to work twice as hard as everyone elses and therefore she tires a lot quicker. She is flat footed too and this causes pains in her legs. We wanted to make sure that adults would recognise when Jessenia needed help as Jessenia herself doesn’t like to make a fuss and tends to suffer in silence because she doesn’t want to disturb the class.

Signs of Jessenia needing help can include constant coughing, sweating and tummy pain.  Jessenia finds it hard to eat, drink and breathe together and therefore eats a lot slower than her peers and subsequently needs more time to finish her meal or drink. This is why we asked that she be allowed to eat some of her lunch at break time and be allowed to drink during class time.

Jessenia’s one-page profile is kept in her classroom and also a copy in a central file. It helps her teacher to recognise when she might need some help and also lets her know what Jessenia’s needs might be when she is in difficulty.  It also means that if her usual teacher or teaching assistants are not around, the crucial information is readily available for whoever is in charge

Jessenia has found her one-page profile particularly helpful because it means that she doesn’t have to explain to adults why she is using the lift and why she needs liquids throughout the day.  She lacks confidence and doesn’t like to be put on the spot. The profile has also helped Jessenia because she knows that all the adult staff are aware of her issues and if she finds something difficult she is more comfortable to say so.  She now appreciates that others want to help her and will keep an eye on her.

As her mum, knowing Jessenia has a one-page profile has given me the confidence that all adult staff taking care of her when I’m not there are aware that she has a heart defect and that she is physically unable to keep up with her classmates sometimes. It also means that when she shows real signs of difficulty and may be in trouble, I am reassured that people know exactly what action to take.

Starting with your best foot forward

A wonderful example of how this boy’s one-page profile communicates all the things he can do, loves to do and that are important to him. Freddie’s mum felt that before using the one-page profile she’d be introducing her son with a long list of things that he struggles with. Now she has the perfect way of introducing him as the kind, brave, caring, giggly and perseverant boy that he is.

Freddie's one-page profile

Freddie’s one-page profile

Written By Freddie’s mum Tracee

When my son Freddie first started school, I hadn’t heard about one-page profiles. And so I made a list of everything I thought his new school might need to know as Freddie has Down’s Syndrome and sometimes needs a little extra help to go about his day in the best possible way.  Reading the list out loud, compiled mostly of things he struggles to achieve, to the assembled faculty was fairly depressing – and not just for me I imagine!

When I created Freddie’s first one-page profile I didn’t know too much about them, except that I liked the concept. And though it was a step forward, it wasn’t as balanced as it could be and crossed into what our family needed instead of focusing solely on Freddie’s needs. I’ve since had access to a book and workshop on the subject and now we include the people in Freddies life and as much as possible, Freddie himself, in compiling new versions and we update it every year.

We use the profile whenever Freddie starts a new class, goes to summer camp or joins a new club. Even summer camps he has attended in previous years appreciate an update on where Freddie is in life at that time.

When we hand out Freddie’s profile, we know we are giving Freddie the best possible chance of success in a new setting. Not just for him, but also for the person charged with caring for him. And in our family, successful days usually equal very happy days.

We’ve had very positive feedback from camp orgnanisers, who look forward to meeting this smiling boy who loves to read and run and jump outside. They like that they can quickly understand how best to support him and who of their team is best placed to provide that support.

Importantly the profile focuses as much on what Freddie can do and likes to do as it does what he needs support with. I feel this means he isn’t underestimated when he goes somewhere new. It means someone has information to build the foundations of friendship on and can suggest activities they can do together that he will like.

At school, when we presented the profile to the new class teacher she took it to the Head, who could immediately see how useful this simple person-centred thinking tool could be and said she was going to recommend that all children with special needs in the school had one.

Freddie’s younger sister Eden doesn’t have special needs. But when Eden starts school, I’ll be providing her teacher with a profile all the same as I want her to have the same opportunities for success as her brother. I can see the benefit in all children having one-page profiles in school and this is something I would love to happen.

I worry less about Freddie starting something new. Everyone involved gets the opportunity to start with their best foot forward and that can only be a positive thing.

We’re due to update the profile in the summer and as Freddie is that bit older (he is six now) I’m looking forward to including him a little bit more and recognising how much he has grown during the year.

What a difference; empowered, settled and happy in school

An example of how using a one-page profile from an early age has helped Lucy express what she needs and positively influence the support she receives.  Lucy’s one-page profile has followed her through school from the age of eight and at age thirteen, it’s hard to imagine how things would have turned out without it.

Lucy's one-page profile

Lucy’s one-page profile

Written by Gill Goodwin of HSA

Lucy was placed for adoption aged two after moving to foster care just before her first birthday due to extreme neglect. Now thirteen, Lucy has settled well however the legacy of her difficult start means she can become very anxious, has some difficulties with learning and some sensory problems. Lucy has a statement of educational need and receives full time support in her local mainstream school.

Since being eight years old Lucy has had a one-page profile. At the time she was experiencing symptoms of anxiety and we had hoped that a profile would enable her to be happier and more relaxed in school and optimise her relationships and learning.I visited Lucy and her Mum at home and we talked about what made a good day for Lucy and the kind of things Lucy felt would make a difference for her. I then spent some time with her class teacher and teaching assistant in school. Putting together the profile with Lucy’s mum meant that we were able to double check that it fully reflected Lucy from her perspective and covered all the important information that people needed to know to support her well.

Almost immediately after introducing Lucy’s first one-page profile her level of anxiety reduced and in turn some of her repetitive behaviours such as adjusting her clothes and pulling up her socks. It also had a positive effect on her skills such as reading aloud and her motivation to try activities in school.

Each year we update her profile in preparation for the school year ahead. Now that Lucy is in secondary school her Special Needs Coordinator goes through the one-page profile with her Teachers and Teaching Assistants at a meeting before the year starts. She ensures all staff have a copy and that the TAs in particular know the best ways to support Lucy and enable her to have good days.  Little things like teachers smiling at her specifically when she enters the room make her feel more relaxed.  Lucy’s one-page profile means that staff are aware of the things that can make Lucy upset and ensure that situations do not escalate and that she is supported to stay calm.

As she has matured Lucy has been able to identify the kind of support she knows will help her and is confident to tell her learning coach and SENCo. For example at her annual review she was able to say why she found the support from one TA less helpful and could explain that she needed her to give information one step at a time and not give the next instruction while she was writing or thinking. Having the one-page profile, and it so clearly belonging to her, has meant Lucy seems to understand that it is her responsibility to let people know how to support her in the best way. She also knows the way to phrase things and is therefore becoming empowered to influence positively the support she is given.

School staff  in her new school have quickly got to know Lucy and what makes her tick and these close supportive relationships have been pivotal in her successful inclusion into a large mainstream comprehensive school.

Lucy has had a one-page profile for so long now that it is difficult to know how things would have been without one! Lucy is happy, settled and has all the opportunities at school and at home open to her, which is what she and her family had wished for.

One-page profiles in transition – Supporting someone now and in the future

An example of how using a one-page profile in the transition from school to independent living empowers people to direct their future support and start to build strong relationships based on good understandings, with the new people in their life.

Calum's one-page profile

Calum’s one-page profile

Written by Sally, Calum’s mum

My son is a bit of a charmer! He is very affectionate, has a great sense of humour, is cheeky, and has a deep infectious laugh. Like most 20 year olds he knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like and although he doesn’t express himself verbally, he lets you know exactly what he wants.

He has some real loves and interests; his laminated hoover catalogue page, watching DVD’s, especially Happy Feet, going out for walks and to the local pub for a meal. He has a great fondness for jaffa cakes and extra strong mints. He also knows which people are likely to have a packet of mints in their pocket!

Calum’s one-page profile was developed as a precursor to developing his transition plan. We wanted the key people in his life to be clear about what was really important to him and what they needed to know at a quick glance about how to support him. We needed this because Calum would be moving into supported living once he left his specialist residential school. Maintaining continuity was crucial, but just as important was that others could use Calum’s one-page profile to get a sense of him as a person and start to bond with him in this way.

Together Calum, a team leader from residential, Calum’s key worker, the speech and language therapist and a friend of mine got together at his school ahead of developing Calum’s transition plan. Calum had laminated pictures of things that were important to him and other pictures of things he was interested in to help keep him engaged and to act as prompts to talk about what was important to him. Calum was central to the process and his presence made it dynamic and thought provoking. It is, as parent, uplifting to hear what others like and admire about your child and the affection felt towards him by those who know and work with him.

Creating Calum’s one-page profile was an especially important process for the staff at his school, as they were unfamiliar with person-centred thinking tools.  It became the first step in the school beginning to embrace this type of approach and they began to change their practice as a result.

Calum’s one-page profile, in essence, was the catalyst to collect more detailed information about him, covering everything from how he communicates to his evening routine. Calum’s receptive understanding is somewhat limited and he uses ‘Objects of Reference’ to communicate, so for Calum the profile provided those who have access to it, with a clear idea of how best to support him whether in the classroom or out and about.

The one-page profile also provided the means to think about trying new things or visiting new places and reinforced the belief in those working with him, that they were supporting him in the best way possible.

Creating a one-page profile was the first important phase in developing Calum’s person centred transition plan. It gave those working with Calum the opportunity to fully explore the things that it was felt were important to him and what needed to happen to support him now and in the future. I feel confident in the next phase in Calum’s life because of this process and I’m very proud of what he has achieved so far.

Planning for the future

A powerful example of how this young woman’s one-page profile has empowered her and her family in her transition from school, to volunteering, to hiring her own personal assistant and accessing her personal budget.

Melissa's one-page profile

Melissa’s one-page profile

Written by Debra and Ronnie

Melissa is our gorgeous, bubbly, engaging 21 year old daughter, who has a learning disability.  Melissa lives at home with us, her Mum and Dad. She sees Grandma often, spending time with her going shopping at least once a week.  Melissa has support from a personal assistant through her personal budget and lives the life she chooses, has a voluntary job and spends quality time with her friends and family.

Melissa attended a special school and we were invited to a meeting in her last year by Cath (the local Person Centred Practice coordinator) and Liz (a family expert in person-centred approaches).  The meeting was about hopes and fears for the future; we had hopes for Melissa’s future but these were often outweighed by our fears of what the future held…we had never heard of person-centred approaches or what support was available or how to ask for it.  After the meeting we felt more hopeful and had support from Cath to get the ball rolling for Melissa’s future.  We wanted to capture information about Melissa to share with others, match her with someone who could support her well and use to support her getting a personal budget.

Melissa already knew Cath from her time spent in school and it felt comfortable having chats at home all together to think about the things that were important to Melissa and what good support looked like.  Our starting point was developing a one-page profile together.

Being able to capture what we know as parents to share with others was really important.  We hadn’t used any other support for Melissa apart from family, so the one-page profile gave us confidence that people would have the right information to support her well.  The first time we used it (and the first time we had any involvement with social services) was meeting with the social worker for Melissa’s personal budget.  The one-page profile helped us enormously because we had captured the information in advance and we didn’t forget things when answering questions. This made the meeting a positive experience, the social worker was impressed with the profile.  We also used it to think about the type of person we wanted to support Melissa and the information they would need to know to support her well.

Beginning with Melissa’s one-page profile started the ball rolling to think about other person-centred thinking tools we could use; we used a communication chart to give more detail about the support Melissa needs around her epilepsy and migraines, and the matching tool to think about the type of person that could support Melissa well.  We update it to reflect the changes in Melissa’s life, for example when she finished at college and was thinking about what she wants to do next.  Melissa now has a volunteer job which she loves, has made new friends and kept in touch with old ones, takes the lead for arranging get togethers with her friends over coffee before going bowling and is taking control over her own life with confidence.

Melissa’s profile helps us all to think about what is important to her to have quality in her life and the support she needs to achieve this. It’s great to be able to capture this on one piece of paper.

 

 

An alternative to setting targets through SEN Statements

A wonderful example of how one-page profiles can help schoolchildren who experience autism communicate what is important to and for them whilst sharing their personal skills and gifts in a way that works well for them. Connor’s story demonstrates how one-page profiles can be used in person-centred reviews as an alternative to solely setting targets through SEN Statements; putting him at the heart of all decision making.

Connor's school one-page profile

Connor’s school one-page profile

Written by SENCo Debra Ayers from Blaenbaglan Primary School

Connor is eleven years old and has a dual diagnosis of speech, language and communication difficulties and autistic spectrum disorder. He is very caring and loves singing and drama. His personality endears him to adults and he has built some good friendships. He speaks as he finds and has a sense of humour if the joke isn’t on him.

Connor’s one page profile was created in readiness for his transition to Comprehensive school so that the new people in his life could get to know him a little before meeting him and Connor could tell them what he thought was important for them to know about him.

Connor completed ‘what’s important to me?’ independently and ‘good day bad day’ was shared with staff to create ‘how best to support me’. His peers, staff and family contributed to ‘what we like and admire’. He created his profile in school using ‘Pages’ (i-pad) and included a video. The profile was completed over the course of five teaching sessions in a week.

Connor’s profile is on display in school and has been shared with staff in his new school, his family, the LEA and professionals who are currently working with him. It was sent out with his invitation to his first person-centred review. It has been used in preparing for this review through discussion with Connor, his mother, teacher and speech and language therapist, identifying what’s working / not working and possible outcomes to be considered in the review meeting. It’s a working document which he can amend and add to.

He has loved making it and it portrays so much about him, even down his choice of colours and use of video. It has helped staff working with him gain a deeper insight into his views in and out of school. It has certainly helped us realise the importance of not assuming we know everything! Even his mother was surprised at one thing he included in ‘best ways to support me’. It helped us realise how astute Connor is about his likes, strengths and needs. It has helped family and professionals realise how they can support him and use the profile as the link to encouraging him to become increasingly independent by offering something that we know he wants or is important to him and putting in strategies that will enable this to be successful.

Connor loves sharing his profile with others and it has helped him to build relationships with less familiar adults and peers. The profile, as part of the person-centred review process, has, undoubtedly, made Connor central to the decision making process and the outcomes are pertinent to him at this moment in time, rather than having targets set linked to his Statement of SEN and what we as parents and professionals consider to be important for him.

We thought we knew Connor well before producing his one-page profiles but he still surprised us and his mother. It gives an amazing insight that we just hadn’t managed to achieve before! The person-centred review process, has changed the way we will prepare for and conduct review meetings. Connor is now at the heart of the process, being fully involved in the meeting and actively buying into the outcomes because they are important to him.