What is Personal Development and why is it important?

Today's children and young people are growing up in an increasingly complex world and living their lives seamlessly on and offline. This presents many positive and exciting opportunities, but also challenges and risks. In this environment, children and young people need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way. 

Personal Development lessons allow this crucial education to our students. It is a subject where students development the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives, now and in the future. These skills and attributes help students to stay healthy, safe and prepare them for life and work both now and in the future. 

In September 2020, it became compulsory for all secondary schools in England to educate their students Health Education and age appropriate Relationships and Sex Education. Here at Uffculme School, we have developed an in depth curriculum that ALL students (Year 7 to Year 11) receive on a Tuesday in lesson 5. An overview of this curriculum can be seen here. This curriculum covers both the compulsory requirements and also many more topics that will help aid our students with the information they need to support them both now and in their future life choices.  

Key Stage 3

Our Key Stage 3 Personal Development (PD) programme has been informed by best practice at a local and national level and also statutory guidelines provided by the Department for Education. The programme is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to make good choices at an age appropriate level. Parents/Carers are central to a child's education about personal development and we are keen to ensure that parents are informed and consulted about the Personal Development programme at Uffculme School. If parents/carers would like any further information, or wish to discuss any concerns about any of the topics outlined in these documents, please get in touch with Mrs Reed (Head of Personal Development) or Miss Francombe (Assistant Headteacher). 

The programme for each year group at Key Stage 3 will include the following topics:

Year 7: 

  • Team Building
  • Me as Learner
  • Change
  • Relationships
  • Self-Esteem
  • Diversity

Year 8:

  • Relationships
  • Drugs, Smoking and Alcohol
  • Law and Order
  • Roles in Society

Year 9:

  • Respect and Prevent
  • Mental Health
  • Body Image and Media
  • Relationships and Sexual Education

Key Stage 4

As well as having dedicated study time, Key Stage 4 students also follow a programme consisting of key topics disbursed over each term and a specific safety day later in the year. Each session is planned and resourced to develop prior learning from the KS3 PD programme. The topics include:

  • Mental Health
  • Relationships and Sexual Education (including Sexual Harassment - resources used are available here)
  • Drugs and Alcohol Awareness and Safety
  • Money Wise
  • Anti-Bullying
  • Diversity
  • Basic First Aid including a visit from the RNLI and beach safety
  • Revision and Study Strategies (including stress management)

Provisions of Relationships and Sexual Education

In line with revised Department for Education statutory guidance, we, along with all other secondary schools, will deliver Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) to all students in Year 7-11. 

RSE is coordinated by the Head of Personal Development and it is taught across the curriculum for example within Science, in Religious Education (where moral and ethical issues are particularly important), and within the Year 7-11 Personal Development programme (which covers the PSHE curriculum).

The main aims of the RSE curriculum is to equip our young people to make sensible and safe decisions both now and in the future. A spiral curriculum is deployed with 3 core themes running from Year 7 right through to Year 11. These key themes are: 

  • Relationships and Change
  • Staying Healthy
  • Living in the Wider World

Examples of RSE topics include: personal hygiene and puberty in Year 7. In Year 8, a unit on Law and Order is delivered as well as a topic on Roles in Society. In Year 9, students have sessions on contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. They also have sessions that explore the emotional aspects of sex, that empower them to resist peer and partner pressure, to make healthy choices and stay safe. FGM and Radicalisation are also part of the Year 9 RSE programmes. Students in Year 10 and Year 11 have further sessions which revisit and build upon prior learning from Key Stage 3 and work to fill any gaps that have arisen due to a rolling programme of introductions. The spiral curriculum works particularly well here for KS4 as it allows for application of knowledge and understanding within specific contexts.