Beyond Primary Schools: One-Page Profiles in Secondary Education

It is exciting to have an opportunity to explore how One-Page Profiles can be used in secondary education. Our first opportunity to do this, across whole year groups, is at Manchester Grammar School.

Here, the Head of Middle School, Andy Smith, shares his thoughts:

The MGS journey into the world of Personalised Education and One-Page Profiles began with a perennial series of challenges that have presented themselves to me in my role as Head of Middle School. Over the years I have done this job I have  become increasingly aware that there are hidden dimensions at work in education linked to independence, motivation, self- knowledge and structures of support that have a profound effect on the outcomes for different pupils. The extent to which a pupil will flourish, develop a range of aptitudes and ultimately be happy, fulfilled and successful at school will often depend on factors that go beyond classroom learning. I am convinced of the necessity for schools to address and to try to positively influence this arena. The challenge, for us MGS, is to develop an evolving programme which creates opportunities for independent thinking, self-reflection and challenge, aspiration and goal setting and the development of supportive mechanisms for our pupils.  At the heart of this process should be dialogue with the Form Tutor acting in their role as academic and pastoral mentor.

The other challenge that faces the school is rather more prosaic though hardly less important. This involves the development of a functional and useful Record of Achievement for each pupil that would create a profile of achievement and experiences throughout a pupil’s career at MGS and eventually act as a resource for writing their UCAS personal statement and curriculum vitae. We have experimented with various manifestations of Records of Achievement, including some rather glossy ‘social networking themed’ variations. However, none of these have been particularly successful either because they have degenerated into ‘box –ticking’ exercises or that they didn’t seem to really fit the needs of pupils at MGS.  There is a need to create a ‘bespoke’ version for MGS which is meaningful for our pupils, allows us to value their achievements and experiences and facilitates our pupils in the independent management of their profile (which, of course, is a valuable activity in itself).

Inspiration and the first steps towards involvement with HSA and the concept of personalised education came through my wife Tabitha’s work at Norris Bank Primary School where they already have a great deal of experience successfully developing One–Page Profiles with the children at the school. After several conversations Tabitha agreed to come into school to talk to my team of deputies about her school’s experience of working with One–Page Profiles. Although the needs of primary school and secondary school pupils are very different we immediately saw the value of what had been achieved at Norris Bank and ideas began to gestate about applying these principles at MGS. This was soon to be followed with a meeting with Helen where we, very quickly, had the sense that this was a truly serendipitous moment for the school. Helen brought with her a philosophy and methodology that was flexible, robust and had real integrity. We brought a question looking for an answer!  Over the course of two meetings a plan and a set of resources began to emerge. We also began to map how we could use one-page profiling across the school year.  Two year groups (Years 9 &10 ) were identified as the most suitable for the pilot project. The next step was to introduce the ideas we had generated to the Form Tutors and convince them of their value!

Well that was two months ago, and there has been a lot of progress. Tonight, Andy and members of staff are joining us at the House of Commons to launch the film and website. Andy, however, has already starred in a film about One-Page Profiles! You can see it on our YouTube Channel HelenSandersonHSA, or here is the link of him  talking to parents of new Year 9 pupils about One-Page Profiles.


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