Learner Profiles: A richer picture of learning for students

Discover how Wapping High School is designing and implementing a Learner Profile, going beyond traditional assessments to capture the wider skills essential for life.

Nestled in the heart of London, Wapping High School stands proudly as a close-knit 11-16 institution driven by an expansive vision. Our ethos champions a personalised approach to education, with a curriculum that balances knowledge, practical application, and immersive experiences. We celebrate our rich cultural diversity within our community and this fuels our global perspective.

At the core of our identity lie the values of passion, aspiration, community, and kindness. Yet, these principles often clash with the rigid assessment framework that sits within the UK educational system. While we value the rigorous journey toward a final performance, the current examination system alone falls short, leaving a void of creativity, intrigue and flare for our community, and doesn’t capture the wider skills vital for life beyond the classroom.

In the first year of the Big Education, Next Big 10 project, we collaborated with Rethinking Assessment to design and implement a Learner Profile using Google sites.

During its alpha phase, our Learner Profile was designed to empower learners to showcase their proudest work using a combination of text, image, video and sound. Within our Working Group we explored using this platform to revamp outdated reporting systems and to shift the focus of parent events from teacher-centred to student-led. Responding to post-16 data insights, our aim was to assist learners in charting career pathways and making informed choices for their futures beyond KS4. We sought to provide a centralised record of their journey, aligned with the Gatsby benchmarks, aiding in GCSE selections and post-16 transitions.

Our curriculum at Wapping High School encompasses dedicated sessions branded as 'Workshop Wednesdays.' Here, learners work together to build skills through the nationally acclaimed Skills Builder programme, applying the skills across diverse learning contexts curated by our teaching team. For example, workshops on managing conflict during high-pressure situations precede tasks like team-based, timed cooking challenges. Additionally, we take great pride in our innovative 'Personal Growth' program, where the PSHE curriculum and the promotion of British values is carefully delivered to all learners through a blend of expert-led seminars and peer coaching opportunities.

Recognising the significance of these pillars in our broad and ambitious curriculum, we envisioned our Learner Profile as a comprehensive platform for learners to document their reflections, experiences, and growth. Recently collaborating with Skills Builder, we have expanded our site to encompass the core skills honed at our school. The Learner Profile now has separate pages for skills, careers, wellbeing, forming relationships, staying safe and celebrating diversity, enriched with links to resources and useful websites.

Now in its beta phase, our focus is on refining the site alongside our delivery team to ensure age-appropriate functionality, while our marketing and design teams elevate its aesthetics and align each page with our core values. We are committed to rolling out the first pilot of this product in February 2024 and are excited about the space it will open as our learners continue to raise their aspirations and broaden their horizons.

Jonathan Palmer, Deputy Headteacher at Wapping High School

This blog was originally published by Big Education here.

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How the exam system reinforces inequalities inherent in the values system of our country

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