In the Summer Term 2013 Lindsay Gibson-Phillips, Deputy Head teacher, at Millfileds CE Primary School, and I embarked on a daunting and exciting journey together. Our plan was to work with the pupils in her Year3/4 class to produce their One Page Profiles. We wanted to do this because we hoped it would help with transitions between year groups, but also to improve links between school staff and parents and carers.
We started by showing the children some One Page Profiles that were published on the Personalising Education website and then did the ‘Appreciation’ activity. Lindsay, who is a good sport, happily let the children decorate her with post-it notes expressing what they liked and admired about her. They were not short of ideas! The children went on to do the same for each member of the class and I even got some too! (I have them on my notice board in front of my desk and they always make me feel good when I read them.) The children delighted in the appreciations and one little girl said, “I feel like the most special girl in the world!”
We kept the momentum by working on different aspects of the profiles each week over a 6-8 week period, always spending some time at the end of each lesson evaluating what had gone well and what we could improve on. Lindsay and I both agreed that although it was time consuming, the ‘Good Day’ ‘Bad Day’ activity yielded the richest information; the children took turns at being in the ‘Hot Seat’ and after the adult had modelled it a few times, the other children asked the child in the hot seat the questions whilst the adult scribed. One of the most difficult tasks was eliciting the reasons why certain things were important, e.g., one child said that it was important for her that people hung their coats up. We found that we had to encourage the children to add a ‘because’, e.g., It is important to me that people hang their coats up because I feel happier when the classroom is tidy. Some children did better at this than others and Lindsay and I both felt that the ability to be reflective would develop over time.
When we had completed the One Page Profiles we had a tea party to celebrate and share the pupils’ work with their parents and carers. The children designed invitations and made lots of lovely cakes which we all enjoyed whilst looking at their profiles. We finished our tea party by ding the appreciation activity again, this time inviting the children to say what they liked and admired about their parent or carer. Needless to say this brought a smile and the odd tear to their loved one’s eyes!
Lindsay is very enthused by her experience and intends to share this with her colleagues at Millfields. I know she has already started some profiles in Year 2.
Three things we learned: start early in the school year; embed the philosophy and principles of Person Centred Approaches in the school’s ethos and most of all give it a go. Making mistakes is a great way of learning what to do differently next time!