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We are all really excited about the prospect of the One-Page
Profile project being filmed at Norris Bank. What an honour! We
have been approached to be part of this project, to 'spread the
word' about the role that One-Page Profiles can play in a
As I wanted all members of staff to feel informed and involved
in the process of the filming, I met with our Teaching Assistants
and explained how I would like them to be on the film. This is
especially important as our TAs were pivotal in collecting
information about the children on a 1:1 basis. I have reported how
beneficial they found this process in previous Blog entries.
Then yesterday we held our staff meeting, dedicating the whole
session to why the film is being made, and how the teachers need to
play a key part in it.
I recapped the development of One-Page Profiles here at
We discussed the very positive impact the whole process has on
the social and emotional, as well as academic development of our
We then moved on to remind everyone how this is now an integral
part of the academic year.
All the staff discussed how they find the whole process, and the
impact that it has on the class. Our PHSE coordinator talked about
how this approach is central to developing the SEAL curriculum
(Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning), as well as the Every
Child Matters Agenda.
Although I am keen to stay in the background of the film, I know
who I want to play a lead role! Watch this space to find out who
the celebrity voice over will be!
Last month, I wrote about how we were going to involve the
children in the School Agreements on a deeper and more meaningful
All the teachers were given the outline of activities that they
could do with the class, and four weeks to do this work in. This
type of activity should become an integral part of class teaching
time, as the Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural (SMSC) life of
schools is taking a higher priority within the OFSTED agenda.
However, as with many things in school, this activity did not
turn out as I was expecting! We live and learn all the time!
It became clear to me that the Personal Health and Sex Education
(PHSE) side of the curriculum is not given the time, attention and
priority that it should be. It is the one subject that regularly
becomes squeezed as the pressures to fit everything else in take
over. Potentially, teachers did not give the activities the thought
that was needed beforehand? Many teachers reported back to me that
it was a very hard activity, and that the children needed a lot of
support and guidance in coming forward with their own ideas and
suggestions. Yet one of our teachers did a superb job, collecting
quotations along the way.
So where do we go from here? I think we need to raise the
profile of PHSE teaching across the school. I think we need to
emphasise the importance to developing children's social awareness
and develop their idea of responsibility. As staff we need to see
and understand the value of PHSE to the way a school runs. This
will feed into the Spring term work on updating and revising our
One Page Profiles.
We are working on keeping the School Agreements live and
relevant to the children. We also want to gather information from
the children to inform the School Development Plan. To this end,
our teachers will work with them over the next few weeks to find
out their thoughts and opinions. To help the teachers, I have
written an outline of activities that can be used. I talked this
through with the teachers at our staff meeting, and will gather the
information about what is working and not working just before the
February half term holiday.
The lesson plan is based on making sure all children really
understand what is in the School Agreements and then think about
what is working and not working from their perspective. Each class
will then decide on actions they can take, to build on what is
working and change what is not working.
The following is the information given to teachers:
Why do this mini project in PHSE sessions?
The PHSE topic is 'Going for Goals' and this mini project fits
It will encourage a feeling of responsibility.
It will develop children's ability to listen, to share ideas, to
talk, to make decisions. Children can be challenged to explain
It meets the different stages on the Blooms Taxonomy
It develops the idea of Pupil Voice in a meaningful way.
It teaches the idea of how a process can be worked through.
It will have links to whole school assemblies.
The findings will be reported back to children, parents and
It is a way for all children to contribute to goals for the
class and to the whole school, as this information is fed into the
School Development Plan.
Part One: What do the School Agreements MEAN to the
Each class will take one of the School Agreements. (By all means
do more if you want, but as a minimum you must cover the agreement
allocated to your class).
Discuss with your class what this actually means. What does this
agreement look like in practice both within the class, and around
Record their ideas on the sheet provided using the children's
Part Two: What are we doing that is working
Look back at the statements the children have talked about,
showing their understanding of the School Agreement.
Give two strips of coloured paper to pairs of children. (Age
The children need to write down two things that show or gives an
example of how this School Agreement is working well from their
perspective. What things do they do that show the School Agreement
is working? What is done that they are proud of linked to this
School Agreement? This can be in the form of: 'I do….' and 'We
Display the pieces of paper and ask the children to see if they
can 'cluster' them into themes. (This will organise the 30 or so
pieces of paper into a few main areas as there will be overlaps in
As a class, discuss and then decide which the most important two
themes are and record on the sheet.(Please keep the sheets of paper
for a whole school display.)
Part Three: Actions or Goals
Talk about the things that the CLASS need to do to ensure that
these key themes continue. What? Who? When by?
Part Four: What are we doing that is NOT working as
Look back at the School Agreement and the class' definition of
This time, give the children two strips of coloured paper
(different to the previous activity) to record the aspects of the
School Agreement that they feel are not working so well; those
aspects that they feel could be done better.
Display these (as before) and try to cluster them to make common
From these common themes, get the class to decide which the most
important two themes are. (Please keep the sheets of paper for a
whole school display.)
Part Five: What can be done to change
Talk about the things that the CLASS need to do to ensure that
these key themes change for the better. What? Who? When by?
We are excited about this as a way to really 'hear the
children's voices' in making change, both to their class and to the
school, through the School Development Plan.
As I explained last month, we have encouraged parents to
continue their involvement in the school via our Parents Evening
and the Parents Forum using the Working Together for Change format.
In October, parents were encouraged to write down comments covering
three areas: the things that we do well (what is working, the
things we could do differently/more of/better (what is not
working)and an opportunity to ask questions abut the
school(questions to answer). The comments made during Parents
Evening were anonymous and parents wrote them on cards as they came
in. At the Parents Forum we asked parents to write their comments
on cards and then I clustered them with parents and addressed as
many of the 'questions to answer' as I could. I learned that
anonymous comments can be more blunt!
All of the comments - 85 in total - have been collated and
categorised. Of the 85 total comments, an amazing 52 were extremely
positive. The others we have been sorted into those comments and
questions that can be answered with information, and those
questions and comments that require us to take action. It was
interesting that some areas(for example reading) were both on the
'things we do well' side and the 'things we could do differently'
side. There will always be issues in school that some parents feel
we do well and other parents feel we can do differently.
A sample of the positives are:
A sample of the issues causing concern are:
I have sent out an initial (fairly long) letter to parents
explaining that I will feedback on all of the issues. Some will be
easily answered with information whilst other comments will need
some action taken by us. I will feedback a few positives, as well
as concerns in our weekly newsletter, over the coming weeks. As
well as directly addressing the issues raised by parents through
Working Together for Change, their views will go to inform that
School Improvement Plan. Next term we will be using Working
Together for Change to gather the views of pupils, so that we can
act on those, and ensure that they contribute to the School
Improvement Plan as well.
This year we are going to really focus on our communication with
parents, by using 'Working Together for Change.' Over the last few
weeks, we have had two opportunities to consult with parents, and
to engage with them in a positive and constructive way.
Prior to Parents Evening, I wrote to all parents asking them to
come along a little earlier to a) read the hopes and stars
aspirations of all the children b) to read the One Page Profiles
that were in every child's drawer, and to add to these if parents
so wished, and c) to contribute to three comments boards.
We took the approach of asking for comments on three different
1) Aspects of the school that are going well (working)
2) Aspects of the school that we could do differently, or
better, or more of (not working)
3) Questions they would like answering about the school
(questions to answer)
We ran this exercise twice - during Parents Evening and again at
our Parents Forum. Doing this type of exercise during Parents
Evening potentially opened us up to anonymous criticism; it
provided parents the opportunity to make negative remarks without
having to justify themselves. This did make us stop and think as it
would have been easy for us to put our defences! The second time
was during a much more 'intimate' Parents Forum whereby parents had
to stand by their concerns, and to talk about them. This led onto
very constructive dialogue.
We have now catalogued and grouped the comments. The very many
positive comments provided a definite 'feel good' atmosphere
amongst staff. The 'could do better' comments have made us think
about where we go next. We have grouped all these into three
1) Those comments that can be answered by giving information
2) Those comments that need us to take some sort of action
3) Those comments that we need other people to action
I will report more on this in my next blog, to explain how we
will feed back to parents.
I am also continuing to feedback to parents on a monthly basis
our progress towards fulfilling the Schools Agreements and the
Golden Rules. Having written about the School Agreement 'We
are confident to try new things and take risks' and the
Golden Rule 'We are kind and helpful', this month
I will focus on the School Agreement 'We will provide
lessons that engage children.'
I have written in our weekly newsletter: 'As staff, we are very
aware of the need to inspire our children - be this through an
attractive work environment, or through a wide range of exciting
and memorable activities. As part of our staff development, we have
been focusing on the elements of outstanding teaching. Key to this
is the 'hook' into subjects, the 'end product' and having high
expectations of all our pupils. Our teachers are excellent at
planning hands on activities to make learning memorable. They might
arrange to have a visitor in, or they might go out on a visit. They
might dress up and become different characters in role. So far this
term, we have had a Medieval Day, a Victorian Museum, mummifying
oranges (!) air raid shelters built and then bombed, Egyptian
reporters investigating tombs, and numerous trips. Children's
learning is obviously greatly influenced by home.
Indeed, children spend much more time at home than at school, so
we would ask that school is supported by you from home. Learning is
so much easier when children are bright eyed, enthusiastic and
fresh! By being involved in what your child has been learning will
inspire them to learn even more. '
Last week, we held a Parents Forum meeting just for our new
Reception parents. We have always held termly meetings for our
parents, to give them the opportunity to ask questions and to raise
concerns. However, we were very aware that new parents may have
different questions and queries.
This meeting was very well attended, and the parents knew that
our focus was
'Working Together For Change'. As parents arrived, they were
given two slips of green paper, and two slips of blue paper. They
were asked to write down on the green slips the areas that were
being successful for them and for their children.
A sample of the comments on the green slips are as follows:
On the blue slips, they were asked to write down areas that were
not working for them. This was a really interesting exercise, as
there did not seem to be any real pattern of areas of concern. We
picked up these issues in the rest of the meeting, providing
answers to many varied questions.
I am going to develop this formula even further when I hold my
usual Parents Forum. I will build into this the opportunity to work
on coloured slips of paper, and also add the element of
establishing what is important for the future.
Over the past couple of weeks we have also had the Hopes and
Stars sheets being returned to us. This is now an established part
of our new academic year process whereby we give parents the
opportunity to tell us what they hope their child will achieve this
year. These are really lovely, and are displayed in the entrance
Home School Agreement has a high profile as well. All children
have been given a beautiful full colour laminated card, detailing
the School Agreements and the Golden Rules. We refer to these
during assemblies, in class time and also at the end of each month;
I write a summary of how we are getting on, in relation to one of
the School Agreements or the Golden Rules. This summary is put into
our 'Friday Issue'. This will keep the profile high amongst pupils
The end of September update went as follows:
Each month, we will give you an update on our Golden Rules and
our School Agreements. You will all have a beautiful copy of these,
brought home by your children.
This month the focus is on one of the School Agreements -
'We are confident to try new things and take
Here at Norris Bank we are determined to offer our pupils
exciting and challenging learning opportunities. Our teachers are
encouraged to plan for exciting and new ways into subjects. Every
class has trips and visits linked to the topic. We have an exciting
range of Residential visits for our junior pupils. We also know the
value of extra curricular activities. This term sees the
introduction of a new Street Dance session for all of our Year 3
children, as well as Karate for our oldest pupils. Our orchestra is
going from strength to strength, especially now it is part of
curriculum time. Establishing our garden was a big step for us, but
is proving to be a valuable and enjoyable part of the school. The
extra dimension that this brings is wonderful. The new sporting
activities that we participate in also demonstrate our desire to
try new things.
As parents, we would really appreciate it if you can encourage
your children to take part in the activities offered. You play a
vital role in encouraging your children to try their best, to not
give up when facing something new.
Together, we will achieve great things!
Another school year and already we have so much planned! A very
exciting aspect is that, as of last July, we are now working
towards being a two form entry school. This means more children,
more staff and more building work. The plans are superb so we are
all looking forward to that.
Our work on Person Centred Learning is continuing to take a high
priority as we develop a much greater pupil involvement in planning
An important focus is going to be working with
parents use 'Working Together for Change'. The Parents Forum
meetings we hold every term will become more focussed. We will
concentrate on aspects of school life that work for our parents,
those aspects that are not working so well, and also things that
are important for the future. This will be fed into the School
As the year progresses, we will have regular opportunities to
update and keep 'live' our One Page Profiles. Now that all the
children have a lovely 'postcard' with their interests on, we will
update these each term. This will then feed into creating a new one
to hand on to the next class teacher. We will consult with the
pupils about aspects of school that are working / not working. This
will be done via class assemblies as well as dedicated class time.
I am looking forward to working with the School
Council on this too. In our community assemblies, we will consult
with parents on more general aspects of school. We will also have
at our assemblies a copy of the Home School Agreements, to keep
them at the forefront of our minds. Keeping the new Home School
Agreements live will also be done via monthly updates in our Friday
So as another school year starts at great pace, we have lots of
exciting projects to develop and look forward to.
As another academic year draws rapidly to a close, it is
interesting to reflect on the work that we have done.
There have been some major projects that have taken place, all
having a positive impact on our drive to a more personalised
approach to learning.
The Autumn term heralded our Ofsted inspection. We were more
than ready for this, and we wanted it to be an opportunity to show
the many things that we are proud of. For us, the experience was
very positive; the team of inspectors was very friendly, they did
actually smile and seemed to relax here….. indeed, one inspector
sat himself down at lunchtime and played the piano in one of the
classrooms. The final outcome was 'outstanding' which was very
exciting for us. They spent a lot of time looking at how we care
for our pupils, and they were very interested in the model of
reviews which I have written about before.
undertook a 'bookmarks' project, whereby all the pupils were given
a beautiful bookmark. They recorded all the things that are
important to them, as well as the things that they like about
themselves. Then we focused on ways to support this child's
The Spring term was spent re-invigorating the Home School
Agreement, into a meaningful and attractive
document. We invited parents to contribute their ideas, and
incorporated these into the draft version. We are very pleased with
the end result, and look forward to launching it to our parents in
We have also thought about transition, and how we can make this
useful for the children and the teachers. We have decided to create
postcards, written and illustrated by the pupils, with information
for their new teacher. At the moment these are being done, and I
trust that they will be of use as teachers have a new cohort of
And so where next? One challenge is to keep the Home School
Agreement 'live'. In order to do this, we will have a monthly
update in our newsletter. We are having some complex SEN children
coming into school, so I want to ensure that these pupils have one
page profiles, and special reviews so that we can really meet their
needs. We need to continue to embed the work that we have done so
far, and ensure that the children have an ongoing record of their
This time last year, we worked very hard to ensure that every
single pupil at the school had a One Page Profile. We had a team of
parental volunteers who worked alongside us, talking to the pupils
and helping to type up all the responses.
Since then, we have reflected on what worked, and
what didn't work. We felt that although the one page profiles were
effective, they were not as easy for people to use on a day to day
basis. So this year we are going to create a postcard that the
children can give to their new teacher. This postcard will be hand
written rather than typed - so that the older pupils can write it
themselves. The elements will remain the same; what we like and
admire about the pupil, what is important to the pupil, and what
they would like their new teacher to know about themselves. A copy
of the postcard will be sent home with the child's report.
We have written to the parents asking for their input on the
'like and admire' section, and also on what they think the new
teacher should know about the child. This letter gave very clear
examples of the type of response - to clarify and specify, avoiding
'woolly' advice and guidance.
Our Teaching Assistants have been briefed about
the project, and indeed a parent has come up to ask if we are doing
the profile again, and how can she help. The teachers are keen, as
they can see the benefits of having information about the new
children in their class. The Guide to One Page profiles in schools that
we wrote last year to support the project will be used again, to
focus questions and ensure that a true picture of each child is
captured in a meaningful and useful manner. The more specific the
responses, the better the quality of personalised attention we can
Our new Reception children will have their postcard completed in
their initial 1:1 meeting that we are holding in July. Last year
the teachers had a 30 minute meeting with new parents and their
children in September. They completed their One Page Profile then.
In retrospect, we realised that this was too late - this 1:1
meeting would be much better being held in July, before the
children actually start school. So the teachers can start the new
year with a clear picture of each child, and will have strategies
to support a smooth introduction to school life.
We will also be completing a postcard for our year 6 children to
send on to their Secondary school. Last year we had positive
feedback from the profiles.
The postcards will be kept 'live' and teachers will be
encouraged to revisit them as the term progresses, and write on
them any changes that may become obvious. It will become a 'working
document' that will inform teachers.
By reflecting on what worked and did not work about the way we
are introducing and using one page profiles, we are able to get
better and better at making them living documents that make a
difference for all.
The development of our new Home School Agreement is going well.
As part of the process we consulted with pupils, parents and staff.
We had some great feedback from parents:
'I think that it clearly defines everyone's role.'
'Overall, a good set of points which sum up curriculum, pastoral
and social issues.'
'As this is not legally binding, how can it be enforced?'
'I particularly like the way it includes the children's
agreement as well as parents, as I personally would read this to my
children and explain what is expected of them.
The pupils were positive about it and staff felt that it
reflected our ethos and aims. The agreement specifically mentions
the school developing personalised information about each child (a
one page profile) and reviewing progress (using working and not
So where now? We will produce a paper A5 size 'booklet' with
changes as a result of the parental comments - the main change that
we have made is moving the Golden Rules to the back page in a
section of their own. This will be introduced to new parents in
July and again in September. We also have had poster versions of
the agreements and golden rules for each classroom,
the offices and corridors, and a smaller laminated copy will be
given out to each pupil to be kept in book bags. Sharing the
information is the first step, and building long term strategies to
keep it 'live' is vital.
I produce a termly newsletter which
will have a section devoted to the work on the Home School
Agreement, and also the other work on Person Centred approaches
within the school in the summer term edition. We will then have
monthly updates, featuring one of the 'agreements', what this means
in practice in the school, and giving a 'progress report' on how
things are going. This will be in our regular weekly newsletter. We
are building in a way to review how the Home School Agreement works
in practice from the perspectives of the parents, pupils and staff
each year, using the person centred thinking tool 'Working and Not
working from different perspectives.'
I will keep you updated on how this goes. Please let me know if
you have other ideas or experiences to share about how we can keep
our Home School Agreement live.