Why is the Boxall Profile so important for children in nurture?

16 October 2017 – Dr Florence Ruby


Throughout your training you have probably been told many times about the Boxall Profile and the crucial role it plays in nurture. Have a look below for a recap of what the Boxall can do for you and for children in nurture!

In a nutshell…

As you probably know, the Boxall is used to assess the SEMH of children and young people, and it can help you identify pupils who could benefit from a nurturing intervention.  

It is divided in two parts: 

  • Developmental Strands, that measure aspects of cognitive, social and emotional development essential for pupils to engage with learning and peers.
  • Diagnostic Profile, that measures the challenging behaviours that prevent the child from being successful in class and with peers

Children in primary schools should be assessed with the Boxall Profile 2017, children in secondary should be assessed with the Boxall Profile for Young People. 

How can you use the Boxall Profile?

1. Identify the needs of the pupil

By doing the Boxall, you become aware of the social and emotional skills that a child is lacking, which may be at the root of his difficulties in learning and behaviour. The Boxall helps you identify the needs and pinpoints the areas where the child may need your support to function better in school.

Tip 1: When completing a Boxall, remember to answer all the questions – not only the Developmental Strands or the Diagnostic Profile! All the questions are important to give you an insight into the child’s difficulties.  

Tip 2: Remember the two parts work as a seesaw! Once the child will make progress on the Developmental Strands, you will also see improvements in his behaviour / in Diagnostic Profile scores.

2. Prioritise your support  

Once you have done the Boxall, you can see which areas the child may need support, but also the areas where actually he or she is doing well! This helps you define the areas that need to be targeted and the strategies you can use to answer those particular needs.

Tip 1: When defining target areas to work on, remember to focus first on the Developmental Strands, especially Strands A to E. Gaps in these strands (even small ones!) will have a big impact on other Developmental Strands and on the child’s behaviour, and that's why they need to be addressed first.

Tip 2: Once you've identified the areas of needs, use the website or the Beyond the Boxall Handbook to help you select strategies and resources! 

3. Have a baseline and measure progress

It’s important to assess a child using the Boxall before you start an intervention. Not only will this help you identify the child’s needs, but it will also help you monitor the progress the child is making while being in nurture.

Tip: Use the Boxall Profile before, during and after attending the nurture group. NGN recommends assessing a child once a term so that you can monitor the child’s progress, identify what is working, and change was it not!


Any questions about the Boxall Profile? Get in touch at info@nurtureuk.org