Here is an excellent example of how one-page profiles in schools can help pupils and teachers adjust to a new term, build confidence, enhance understanding and communicate additional support needs. Jacob had struggled to make progress with his writing and to engage in certain lessons. His one-page profile has helped him turn this around, with his writing improving significantly and a better consistency in support between home and school.
Written by Jacob’s Mum, Marianne
My son Jacob is nine years old. He lives at home with me, his dad and his two younger brothers. Jacob loves playing computer games and watching films. Jacob doesn’t get any formal additional support at school but has been struggling for a couple of years to make progress with his writing. He enjoys being in class but can find it difficult to concentrate when the subject matter doesn’t grab his attention.
Jacob’s youngest brother has had a one-page profile for quite a while and so during the summer holidays before starting Year 5, Jacob and I decided we would develop one for him too. We hoped it would help his new teacher get to know him quickly. We asked Jacobs teachers who already knew him well to tell us what they had learnt about him over the last year. We asked them to focus in particular on the things they liked about him as well as the support he needs to get the most out of learning.
We also asked the rest of our family what they love about him. Jacob spent time thinking about the things he most enjoyed about being at school – the things that meant he had a great day there. Jacob loves playing on his dad’s ipad and decided he wanted to use an app called pic collage to develop what his profile looked like. This meant he could design it as he wanted to.
Jacob took his one-page profile back to school with him after the summer holidays and gave it to his new teacher. A copy was also given to his Kumon teacher which he started at the same time. The profile is kept on our fridge at home so everyone can see it. His dad and I use the ‘important for’ section in particular when helping him with his homework. The plan is to update it properly, once a year. As the summer term comes to an end, we will ask his Year 5 teachers to share their learning about how best to support Jacob at school in preparation for helping year 6 get off to the best start.
Jacob is already working out how his next profile will look – he’s decided that the wrestling and superheroes photos will most likely be replaced with Skylanders! Jacob really enjoyed creating his own profile. He said that he liked having a photo that wasn’t of him wearing his school uniform and he liked being able to find photos of the things he likes to put on it.
When his profile was given to his Kumon teacher, she said it was one of the most useful things she had seen in terms of understanding Jacobs learning support needs straight away.
His school teacher was new to the whole school not just Jacob, so his profile helped her quickly get a feel for what mattered to Jacob, how to get him and keep him interested in learning.
We absolutely loved hearing from his year 4 teachers what they liked about him as did Jacob! It was so good to hear the genuine affection and regard they had for him and to hear how different he is at school from at home. We also found the information about how to support him at school really helpful and detailed. We hadn’t been given this information previously and it made a real difference to how we now support Jacob at home with school work.
Jacob has made real progress in his first two terms of year 5. The school has a better understanding of how to engage in what he is learning and his concentration has therefore improved. He has made more progress in his writing this year than he has in the previous three years and there is more consistency between home and school in how we all support him. I’m looking forward to repeating the process each year and seeing how Jacob and his one-page profiles evolve.