The Boxall Profile is an invaluable resource for the assessment of children and young people's social, emotional and behavioural development.
The two-part checklist, which is completed by staff who know the child and young person best, is quick — and, very importantly, identifies the levels of skills the children and young people possess to access learning. Many children in school are insecure about their worth, often not able to articulate their feelings. Instead they show their discomfort by withdrawal, achieving much less than they could, not making good relationships.
Others may act out their feelings of anger and failure by minor or major acts of disrupting the progress of others. Whatever the behaviour, the result is that they do not get positively engaged in education. Understanding what lies behind this can make all teachers much more confident in their class management, which is where the Boxall Profile comes in.
Supporting staff to develop their observational skills and their understanding of children and young people's difficulties.
Setting individualised, achievable targets that reinforce target behaviour and skills.
Helping staff review children and young people's target behaviour.
There are two Boxall Profile Tests - one for children (nursery/primary school pupils), and the other for young people (secondary school students), which the Online Boxall Profile automatically sets according to the date of birth inputted by the member of staff. On completion, the scores of each individual student are compared to the standardised emotional literacy scores of "competently functioning" children of a similar age group.
Individualised, achievable targets for social and emotional aptitudes are then set for the student which are reviewed and re-assessed periodically. Both profiles have two sections, each consisting of a list of 34 descriptive items.
Section I: Developmental strands
This measures progress through the different aspects of development in the student's early years- the first assessing the child and young person's organisation of their learning experiences, the second, their internalisation of controls.
Section II: The diagnostic profile
This consists of items describing behaviours that inhibit or interfere with the child's satisfactory involvement in school- self-limiting features, undeveloped behaviour and unsupported development. They are directly or indirectly the outcome of impaired learning in the earliest years. The earlier such children are identified the greater the hope of being able to address and remediate their social, emotional and behavioural difficulties by offering patient and supportive teaching.
"The Boxall Profile helped us gain a positive language. To identify where a child is in different areas in their development... It helped staff to look more perceptively, to think where does this behaviour come from?"
Primary School Headteacher, London
The Boxall Profile was developed as part of the nurture group movement. Nurture groups were started in Hackney, inner London, in 1969, as the response of Marjorie Boxall, an educational psychologist, to the high levels of distress in primary schools at a time of great social upheaval and teacher shortage.
Referrals to special schools for children seen as having SEBD had reached unmanageable levels. The annual rate of staff turnover in many schools had reached 50%. Boxall brought into school a different way of looking at the behaviour that was getting in the way of the child's progress. She focused on children's early development, on their self-concept, on the attitudes they had absorbed and brought with them into school. She understood the difficulties presented by most of these children as the outcome of impoverished early nurturing. Lacking an adequate experience of being cherished and attended to, for whatever reason, they were not able to make trusting relationships with adults or to respond appropriately to other children. They were unready to meet the social and intellectual demands of school life, and so failed.
This way of thinking made sense to teachers, who knew of the stresses in the lives of many local families. They were also well aware of pressures brought about by 'child-centred' education, which took for granted the child's ability to organise themselves, to sit round tables, cooperating with each other, with much less structure and supervision than in the old-style classrooms. Nurture groups quickly became established in many schools in inner London, and staff saw great progress in children who had been on the verge of exclusion. They also saw a great improvement in staff morale as teachers and assistants realised that they could develop the skills to improve children's lives quite fundamentally.
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