Using The Boxall Profile To Shape Social, Emotional and Mental Health Support In Schools (With Arti Sharma)

Using The Boxall Profile To Shape Social, Emotional and Mental Health Support In Schools (With Arti Sharma)

Listen now:


Are you searching for ways to support your students' social, emotional, and mental health needs in the classroom? Or have you put interventions in place to support a child and you need a way of systematically assessing whether they're having an impact?

Then join us today as we sit down with Arti Sharma from Nurture UK to discuss how the Boxall Profile can be used in schools to identify underlying SEMH needs, track progress and unlock student potential.

Important links:

Visit Nurture UK

To find out more about The Boxall Profile.

Get our FREE SEND Behaviour Handbook:

Download other FREE behaviour resources for use in school:

Share this podcast with your friends:

Show notes / transcription

Episode 210 Transcript


[00:00:00 - 00:00:36] Emma Shackleton

Are you working with kids who present challenging behaviour in class and you're asking yourself why are they doing that, But you're not quite sure where to start beyond using your intuition. Or you've put in place an intervention to support a child and you need a way of systematically assessing whether or not it's having an impact. Well, if you are, today's show is perfect for you because our guest, Arti Sharma from Nurture UK, is about to reveal the secrets to understanding, assessing, and supporting your pupils with social, emotional, and mental health needs.

[00:00:37 - 00:02:15] Simon Currigan

Welcome to the School Behaviour Secrets podcast. I'm your host, Simon Currigan. My co host is Emma Shackleton, and we're obsessed with helping teachers, school leaders, parents, and, of course, students when classroom behaviour gets in the way of success. We're gonna share the tried and tested secrets to classroom management, behavioural special needs, whole school strategy, and more, all with the aim of helping your students reach their true potential. Plus, we'll be letting you eavesdrop on our conversations with thought leaders from around the world. So you'll get to hear the latest evidence based strategies before anyone else.

This is the school behaviour secrets podcast. Hi there. My name's Simon Currigan, and welcome to episode 210 of the school behaviour secrets podcast. One of our reviewers said that by continuing to produce episodes of this podcast, we demonstrate tenacity, but in a bad way, and yet we kept on going. The behaviourists wanted us to stop. They tried punishing us until new episodes became extinct, but we kept on going. The relationists wanted us to stop.

They tried getting to know us and connecting with us at a deeper level. We still kept going. The trauma informed crowd wanted us to stop. But at some level, given our early life history, they were just impressed. We turned up and recorded a functioning podcast, and we kept on going. The zero tolerance community said that they simply would not have it, and we kept producing episodes. We know what the public think, and we don't care.

I'm joined today by my much more empathetic cohost, Emma Shackleton. Hi, Emma.

[00:02:15 - 00:02:16] Emma Shackleton

Hi, Simon.

[00:02:16 - 00:02:18] Simon Currigan

Was that introduction a bit niche? Very, very sort of SEMH?

[00:02:19 - 00:02:20] Emma Shackleton

Oh, it's fine. Carry on.

[00:02:21 - 00:02:23] Simon Currigan

Right. Have you got time for a quick question?

[00:02:23 - 00:02:24] Emma Shackleton

Of course. Go on.

[00:02:24 - 00:02:32] Simon Currigan

So in your life, what's your process for making big, difficult decisions, you know, weighing up whether you want to go ahead with something or not?

[00:02:32 - 00:03:28] Emma Shackleton

Oh, interesting question. Toss a coin? No. No. I'm just kidding.

I'm just kidding. I must admit, I do like a list. So good old pros and cons list, you know, divide your paper into two. On one column, write down all the reasons why you think this is a good idea, and then on the other half of the page, write down the reasons why it might not be a good idea. I think that's quite helpful to get a perspective on a problem. And something that's really helped me over the years as well, especially when making big decisions, is to recognize that almost all decisions can be reversed. So not to think of it as all or nothing.

So I think I do quite like to take a chance on things because I know that usually, if it's not the right decision, in some way, it can be undone. You know, you kind of can walk back through that door once you've opened it.

[00:03:28 - 00:03:30] Simon Currigan

Yeah. That's a really good point. That's really interesting.

[00:03:30 - 00:03:33] Emma Shackleton

So how is that related to today's episode?

[00:03:33 - 00:04:00] Simon Currigan

So today, we're sharing my conversation with Aarti Sharma from Nurture UK who are the people behind the Boxall profile. And if you're new to it, the Boxall profile is a way of assessing a student's SEMH needs and really trying to understand what's driving their behaviour so you can make sure any provision that you're putting in place in school is the right provision and addresses their needs. It's about making good decisions based on evidence and assessments and insights.

[00:04:00 - 00:04:40] Emma Shackleton

Ah, I see what you did there. But before we get into that, if you haven't done it already, please make sure you are following and subscribing to the podcast. We've got some really interesting knowledgeable guests coming up who are going to do deep dives into subjects like using social scripts to support autistic students, helping kids overcome sadness and negative emotions, and how language development affects behaviour, and lots more. And when you subscribe, your podcast player will automatically download those episodes for you so you don't have to worry about it, and you never miss something that's useful to you.

[00:04:40 - 00:04:53] Simon Currigan

We've also got a free download that goes really well with this episode. It's called the SEND handbook, and it's there to help you link student behaviours that you might see in the classroom to conditions like autism or ADHD or trauma.

[00:04:53 - 00:05:24] Emma Shackleton

Plus, the handbook comes with a fact sheet containing key information and strategies for conditions such as PDA, ODD, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and many more. The aim of the guide is to help you get the right professionals involved to support the child as quickly as possible and not for the teachers to try and make a diagnosis for the kids. That's not our role, and everyone knows that early intervention is really important in helping children succeed in meeting their potential.

[00:05:24 - 00:05:42] Simon Currigan

If you'd like to get a free copy of the handbook, we'll put a direct link in the show notes. All you have to do is click on this podcast episode in your phone or your device, scroll down to the text that comes with it, and you'll see a direct link to our website there. Click on the link, and we'll email you your copy of the guide.

[00:05:42 - 00:05:48] Emma Shackleton

And now here's Simon's interview with Arti Sharma from Nurture UK about the Boxall profile.

[00:05:49 - 00:06:38] Simon Currigan

I'm very lucky this week to be able to welcome Arti Sharma to the show. Arti has always been passionate about education and the development of young people. Before becoming CEO of Nurture UK in 2020, she was a Nurture UK trustee and the deputy chief executive for youth social action charity, City Year UK, where she led all external facing activities, including school sales, recruitment, partnerships, public affairs, communications, and development. Arti's background in marketing and communication spans several not for profit and commercial sectors, and she has put her passion into practice in a range of roles within the education sector from teaching young children to marketing students and mentoring graduates on their career aspirations. Arti, you've been very busy. Welcome to the show.

[00:06:38 - 00:06:41] Arti Sharma

Thank you very much, Simon. Very happy to be here today.

[00:06:41 - 00:06:59] Simon Currigan

We're going to talk today about using the Boxall profile to identify the underlying SEMH needs that may be driving a student's behaviour so we can put in place appropriate support for them. But first of all, I think we should start with, what is the Boxall profile, and how was it developed?

[00:07:00 - 00:08:21] Arti Sharma

Sure. So the Boxall profile was developed over 50 years ago by an education psychologist called Marjorie Boxall, and the whole idea was that she wanted to find a precise way of assessing people's needs, planning intervention, and measuring progress in the classroom. The Boxall profile norms apply to children competently functioning aged from 14 to 18 years old. And the online version came into being in 2017, so before it was all paper based. Boxall profile online supports a whole school approach to assessing and addressing children's and young people's social, emotional, and mental health needs to positively impact learning, behaviour, attendance, and well-being. And it provides educators with an individualised learning plan, aids class planning, and the setting of achievable targets that help to reinforce target behaviour and skills as well as providing a way to track progress of the children and young people in their settings. And it is the first step along with the graduated approach to nurture, and it is the best way to identify children's hidden issues, ensuring that every child and young person gets the support they need to engage fully in their learning.

That's what we're all about. The combination of the assessment tool and the graduated approach really helps to create a nurturing and supportive environment within the school system and ensuring that the children and young people's emotional, social, and well-being is addressed effectively throughout the different levels of support.

[00:08:21 - 00:08:43] Simon Currigan

So this is all about then digging deeper into why a child might be acting a certain way in school, looking for those underlying causes, and then finding a graduated way forward from there to to meet their needs. Yes. So how would a school go about filling out a Boxall profile for a student? What does a Boxall profile look like, and what does the process look like?

[00:08:43 - 00:09:36] Arti Sharma

Sure. I mean, the process is very, very simple. It's a 2 part checklist, which we always recommend is completed by a staff member who knows the child best, and it's very simple to complete. And then most importantly, it identifies the levels of skills the young person possesses to access learning through the questions as presented by the tool and scores each question based on their own observation of the pupils, which is why we always recommend it's done by an adult who's worked closely with the child. We recommend that settings carry out at least 2 assessments a year. So ideally, in the October term, once children have settled in after the summer term and just before the summer term ends, so there's a nice transition into the next class or the next year group that they're going into to allow for tracking of progress and ensuring any interventions or support that was identified is passed through the child's school year.

[00:09:36 - 00:09:49] Simon Currigan

So the profile's split into 2 different sections. There's the developmental profile and the diagnostic profile. Can you tell us about what the developmental profile is? What information does it give us?

[00:09:49 - 00:10:21] Arti Sharma

Sure. So the development strand essentially measures different aspects of the children and young people's cognitive social emotional development that influence how well they're able to learn and function within the classroom. And the diagnostic profile measures children and young people's challenging behaviours that prevent the successful social and academic performance. These behaviours are directly or indirectly as a result of impaired development in the early years, and this can be resolved on once the social and emotional needs are identified using the tool and then the necessary skills that the child needs to develop.

[00:10:21 - 00:10:34] Simon Currigan

So the one positive profile is about positive competencies that we want the children to develop. So from memory, one of the competencies because we use this in schools that we yeah. We actually go into schools and use this with teachers and school leaders.

[00:10:35 - 00:10:35] Arti Sharma


[00:10:35 - 00:10:45] Simon Currigan

One example of that might be gives way to another child when they need resources. So it's things that we want the children to do well. And then the other is more kind of obstacles.

Is that right?

[00:10:45 - 00:11:20] Arti Sharma

It is. It's sort of saying where they are at their own development stage. So we always say stage, not age, because a child may have a number. They may be 7 years old and there is societal expectations that they need to behave in a certain way. But they may have had earlier childhood trauma or some sort of impact to their early years of development that they're unable to do certain aspects. So the diagnostic sort of identifies where they're at their development stage and the various sort of interventions and tools that the teacher or the adult who's working with the child closely is able to utilise to help them get to this sort of ideal stage where they need to be.

[00:11:20 - 00:11:42] Simon Currigan

So adults who know the child really well complete both of those sections. Once they've answered the questions, and I think there's about 30, 32 questions about the child in each section, isn't there? What then happens? What useful information does the profile give us in terms of supporting pupils in school? How does it help us drill down into the pupil's underlying needs?

[00:11:42 - 00:12:45] Arti Sharma

So the great thing about the Boxall profile is that it plays a real role in understanding what lies beneath a child's behaviour. And it provides teachers or the adults an accurate and precise way of understanding where they are at socially, emotionally, and their mental health stages. So the assessment really uncovers those hidden SEMH needs, and it identifies the strengths and areas of that needs further support for the child. So there's things like the teacher will be able to identify sort of individualised personalised learning plans that they might need to offer their child. There's sort of lesson planning in terms of whole school planning, setting targets. And the beauty of Boxall profile is that it really identifies those unmet needs. And that's what's really important.

We all know how busy teachers are. There's lots going on. Many teachers we've worked with are saying, well, I didn't really know child A or B had issues with sharing or issues with learning needs. And I think that's the beauty of the tool, tracking of the pupils that teachers can access to then see that progress as they go through.

[00:12:45 - 00:13:16] Simon Currigan

And, of course, once you have identified those needs, and you can make sure that your support programs that you're putting in afterwards and, like you say, your plans for that chart, those that individualized set of activities, you know that you're focusing on the right thing. You know that you're putting your time and effort into the area that is going to make the difference rather than sort of a, well, this child's got social skills problems. We'll give them a little social skills program. But, actually, there might be issues there around the way they view themselves. Do they have sort of a negative self view? It really helps you dig into that sort of those sort of needs at a complex level.

[00:13:16 - 00:14:21] Arti Sharma

Absolutely. And I think that's what it is. It's a it's so individualized that when you go through those questions, it gives a framework for the teachers to work with, but it's really getting to know the child and where it's come from. And, you know, those who are working in the teaching profession, you go in there because you really want to help the child, and you really want to understand why and how I can support them. And that's the beauty of the Boxall profile tool. It allows teachers to be able to do that, is really get under the skin. And we did a report back in 2016 called the Now You See Us report.

And in an average class of 30, you know, inevitably, teachers are really focusing pupils that have huge amounts of issues or possibly those children are high achievers. And there's a group of, like, 19 children within the classroom who are probably quietly getting along, but may have unmet needs, unmet social, emotional, mental health needs. And that's what that report identified that, actually, the whole school approach, whole class approach to Boxall profile really is a positive way to support a child's development. It's really getting under the skin. Just because a child is quiet and not saying anything doesn't mean that they may not need, some sort of support.

[00:14:21 - 00:14:35] Simon Currigan

Yeah. Making sure those kids don't go under the radar is so important because our eye is drawn and attention is naturally drawn to kids who are throwing chairs at windows and things like that. You can't miss that, but those kids that are just quietly struggling, actually, tools like this help pick that up.

[00:14:35 - 00:14:36] Arti Sharma

Absolutely. Yes.

[00:14:36 - 00:15:00] Simon Currigan

So let's imagine that we've used the Boxall profile to analyse a child and work out what their underlying needs are, and then we've used the suggestions from the website to help plan out a set of activities to help address those needs. How do we then use the Boxall profile to demonstrate whether that support worked, whether the intervention was having an impact for the pupils? And the big question is, did our input provide value for money?

[00:15:00 - 00:16:25] Arti Sharma

Yes. Absolutely. I think any every time you're investing money or time, you want to know whether it works. So Boxall Profile is evidence based assessment tool, and That's what we always say. And we always recommend a minimum of 2 assessments a year, but more if a, teacher has the time. And the great thing about Boxall profile, you can actually track the progress. You can review where the child is at.

You can see what assessment you did back in October, review them again since January, February time, and you can track and see the changes and think, well, where they scored low on certain areas, they've moved on. So you want to be able to track that. Over the last year, we've made a lot of developments to, Boxall profile. And shortly, we will be having sort of a dashboard that enables teachers to see either whole school or individuals and see that progress at a click of a button rather than going into individual pupils. And I think that's really, really important is to compare the assessment scores against the comparative norms as well, but compare them against previous assessments and visibly see the change. So for us, we want to support teachers to be able to showcase how their pupils are improving. And Boxall profile, you're able to compare previous reports you've done, previous assessments, and also look at the development plans that you've previously utilised and where a child has got to against that.

So it's  a very visible, clear, simple way of assessing, reviewing, measuring, and tracking, and knowing what further action you may need to take.

[00:16:25 - 00:17:31] Simon Currigan

What I like about the profile, I should say upfront actually, that I'm not an affiliate. I'm not being paid to have you on the show. I'm not getting any commission for any, you know, any  customer that comes your way. But what I really like is often schools will use very blunt data like number of fixed and exclusions or time set to time out, that kind of thing. But what Boxall Profile gives you is a set of really fine grained measurements. You can look at things like the child's perception of themselves as a learner, and you can see those scores moving, which might not yet have resulted in a reduction in instance in the classroom. But you can evidence that process.

So if an Ofsted inspector were in or a school improvement partner, you can say, look. We are having an impact, but that bigger data that kinda lags, the exclusion data that will follow, we are having an impact. We can show we're having an before those measures are affected. I can say the thing I like about it as well is on each scale, say, again, perception of themselves as a learner, you can see as well the range where children will typically sit. So you don't only compare them to themselves, but also you can compare them to the normal mathematical normal range, which is really helpful.

[00:17:31 - 00:18:42] Arti Sharma

It is really helpful. Those comparative norms, this is it gives you a sort of an idea of where they sit against other pupils. What the great thing is if you are working with a range of pupils with, SEMH needs, we know that, you know, it's not sticking plaster. One off session is not going to help improve them. It it's playing the long game, really. And then the great thing about Boxall profile is if that early intervention, that earlier identification is done, you know, soon as possible, you can actually support the child through their school years and development. And what typically could have been predicted what they'll be doing in years 4 or 5, you can actually alleviate that by identifying it back in year 3, which is really, really important.

And I love the fact that you can see those small changes. As you've said earlier, that there doesn't have to be huge amounts of changes, or you might think there's not a dramatic steep that they've started hitting such areas. But that incremental is so important to a child's self esteem and who they are as an individual. And these things take time. And I think that's, again, you can see that progress. You know, we have been cited in Ofsted by a number of schools about the nurturing approach to a child's development. And we all know that a child, it takes time.

It it's not, you know, a one off session, half an hour, and that's it. It takes time.

[00:18:42 - 00:18:58] Simon Currigan

Yeah. There's no magic formula. Whatever the Internet tells you or your social media feed, actually, anyone who works in SEMH knows it's about small wins over time, and that's so important. What else does the Boxall profile give a school or its leaders and its SENCOs that it didn't have before?

[00:18:58 - 00:20:34] Arti Sharma

I suppose it gives them individualized learning plans, aids class planning, and sets targets, which schools are sort of assessed, targeted. You know, that language is is common. But this is a nice way to assess and see how your pupils are doing rather than focusing just on academia. It's actually really getting to the heart of the SEMH. And that, you know, since the pandemic, we've seen it time and time again. Kids don't want to come in school. They're not happy.

You know, we talk about an attendance crisis. Teachers have got a lot on their plate. And what this tool does gives them a better understanding of their pupils. If you understand your pupils better, why they're behaving as they are, what the barriers are, You can create an environment and a culture that helps them thrive. But also, you as an individual teacher, or a leader, or a SENCO, can continue to enjoy, you know, the profession that you the reason that you came into it is actually really identifying where the child is at. And I think for me, that is really, really key. Schools use Boxall profile in different ways.

Some do it by small group of children, some do it whole year groups, Some do health school. But if you're able to assess, you know, a whole year group, you're able to plan forward plan and see what resourcing is needed to support the range of children and the range of SEMH needs across the school year. So and I think knowing how your children are feeling where they're at and thinking is so important. You know, you  want them to be happy and enjoy being at school and ready to learn. So I think for me, it's that other side of the coin. It's not telling you they can get a level x in stats and or year 6 or year 2 or at secondary school, these are the academic. It's the other side.

It's the it tells you the inner side of the child, and I think that's really important.

[00:20:34 - 00:20:45] Simon Currigan

If you're a teacher or a school leader or a SENCO listening to this podcast and you're interested in what you've heard so far, how can they find out more about using the Boxall profile in their school?

[00:20:45 - 00:22:15] Arti Sharma

Sure. So you could always visit our website, boxallprofile. org. The Boxall profile actually is a tool that comes from Nurture UK. We are a national charity that works with over 4,000 schools across the 4 nations, and we've been around for 50 years. And our real sort of premise as a charity is really focusing and supporting educators to improve behaviour, increase attendance, reduce exclusions, and really have those children happy in school. How we do that is through a range of tools.

We train teachers and school staff. So we don't directly work with the pupils. We do actually work with the adults who work with young children, and we give them a range of tools and resources, programs that they can work with to address the children's unmet needs. And Boxall Profile is our flagship tool named after Marjorie Boxall, the education psychologist who created. And I'm so proud that 50 years on, it's still there.

It still exists. Sadly, it's all sad because it shows that, you know, we still need to be we haven't created an education system that allows our children's social and emotional health to be nurtured, and it's still something that needs to be there. So either or boxallprofile. org. And teachers, educators can learn more about Boxall profile online, and they can also sign up to a free trial to access and see how it works before they sort of commit to buy. And we've got a very helpful customer services team who are there to answer any questions, and we work with a range of primary and secondary schools.

[00:22:15 - 00:22:43] Simon Currigan

To make it easy for people, I'll put direct links to your website in the show notes as well. So all people have to do is click on this episode as it's playing. The text will pop up that's describing the episode today, and you'll see in the middle of there a link straight through to Nurture UK to make it easy for people just to tap through. Arti, we ask this of all of our guests. Who's the key figure or what's the key book that influenced you most and had the biggest impact on your approach to working with kids?

[00:22:43 - 00:25:11] Arti Sharma

I started off my career as a teacher, and I was lucky enough to do my PGCE in Exeter. And we had lectures by Ted Ragg, who, you know, who's had a close affiliation to Exeter. At the time, he was writing his weekly humorous articles in the TES and had a couple of lectures on behaviour management. And it was a whole new world for me because it wasn't my own school experience was very different. And you had, a very sort of warm, engaging, funny, humanistic approach to teaching. And that sort of moment just I was like, oh, wow. You can actually be a kind teacher.

You can be a different sort of personality, and your kids will still thrive. You can still have behaviour management because in mindset, behaviour management was to be quite strict. You have to sort of behave in a certain way. So he really influenced my sort of early teacher career. And when I moved to London to teach in a primary school as a newly qualified teacher, I took that toolbox with me. And it was about being funny and about being humanistic and really getting to the heart of children. And in hindsight, looking back to it, I probably was doing nurturing without even realising.

That was my sort of approach from a sort of teaching point of view. But once I left teaching, I was always very fascinated by leadership and behaviour in a different way, the work world. And I think sometimes you still, you've got to win hearts and minds. It's not about one or the other. It's not about strategy. It's not about approach. It's about winning hearts and minds.

So there's been a range of authors and people I've read. Simon Sinek is quite sort of an interesting leader. But prior to my PGCE, I studied politics with international relations. And it was during the period when Nelson Mandela had come in. He was president of South Africa. And one of my modules was South African politics. And I studied a lot during my degree, but post university, you know, really interested in how someone went through huge amount of adversity, but focused on peace and reconciliation and brought so many people together.

And he had, again, the same sort of mantra, I suppose, as Ted Ragg and many sort of authors and individuals I've seen. It's about winning hearts and minds. It's about I think they're all doing nurturing in a funny sort of way. So I suppose it's not a particular book or a particular way. I think it's an approach that subliminally, that it seemed to appeal to me without ever me realizing this sort of approach bordered on something called nurturing. And so it's for me, it's actually quite nice to work for an organization that's called Nurture UK.

[00:25:11 - 00:25:22] Simon Currigan

Do you know, I think given the polarized states of the world, I think that's a message that more people could do with hearing right now. Arti, it's been brilliant having you on the show. Thank you for your time today. I've really enjoyed it.

[00:25:22 - 00:25:24] Arti Sharma

Thank you so much, Simon. I've really enjoyed it as well.

[00:25:24 - 00:25:50] Emma Shackleton

I think if you're working with children with social, emotional, and mental health needs in school, having access to tools like the Boxall profile is really important because it helps you to move away from using your intuition to support children and guessing what their needs might be to a more structured formal process. It's certainly something that we've used many times in our face to face work with schools.

[00:25:51 - 00:26:08] Simon Currigan

And I like that it makes progress measurable too. You can see whether your intervention or support or the environmental changes or whatever you're using to support the child is having the impact that you'd hope that it'd have. And as I said earlier in the interview, I'll put a direct link to Nurture UK's website in the episode description.

[00:26:08 - 00:26:34] Emma Shackleton

So that's all for this week. If you find the podcast helpful today and you haven't done it before, it would be amazing if you could spend just 30 seconds rating and reviewing us. And that will prompt the podcast algorithm to share this episode with other listeners just like you. And it helps the show to grow and get the important information out there. It really does make a difference, so thank you for doing that.

[00:26:34 - 00:26:40] Simon Currigan

Until next time, we hope you have a brilliant week, and we look forward to seeing you on next School Behaviour Secrets.

[00:26:40 - 00:26:42] Emma Shackleton

Hey. That's my line. Bye, everyone.

[00:26:42 - 00:26:43] Simon Currigan



(This automated transcript may not be 100% accurate.)