Curriculum Intent Statement
Curriculum statement: personal development
'The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.’
~ Anne Frank
At NUSA, pupils’ Personal Development is at the heart of the school. It is our goal to equip pupils with the knowledge and skills that they need to empower them to make informed choices and to live safe, happy and healthy lives. Our overall aim of Personal Development is to enable all pupils to overcome any barriers to learning that they may face; to create resilient, well-rounded pupils who can go on to ‘thrive at 25.’
The community that we serve faces many challenges. According to the English Indices of Deprivation 2019, 29.8% of children in Nottingham live in income deprived households, with several of NUSA’s surrounding neighbourhoods falling into the top 10% of most deprived areas nationally. Through Personal Development we aim to raise aspirations and encourage social mobility, getting pupils to believe that they can achieve and be successful in today’s society. We also want pupils to feel comfortable with who they are and to feel free to express this in a safe and encouraging environment. We endeavour to assist our students to develop into young people who are accepting and tolerant of others in this diverse modern world.
There is a wide breadth of provision to ensure that pupils are able to reach their full potential both academically and beyond. All year groups will have weekly lessons and tutor time sessions. These are complimented by several specifically focused drop down days, which are designed to extend and enrich pupils’ experiences beyond the classroom. This includes a careers day in Year 11, where each pupil is interviewed by an external professional from a variety of industries. Additionally, Year 9 pupils participate in a ‘Prison! Me? No Way!’ day where they explore the potential consequences of decisions around involvement in gangs and drug crime, as well as the realities of prison life.
Key Themes covered:
- Health and wellbeing
- Living in the wider world
Pupils will explore and consider a wide range of relevant, engaging and age-appropriate topics under each of these headings, including all aspects of the statutory content. Pupils are actively encouraged to discuss and debate issues, developing their communication skills along with the confidence to express their opinions and beliefs on important issues. Examples of these include: features of a healthy lifestyle for both physical and mental wellbeing; characteristics of positive and negative relationships; intimate relationships and consent; stereotypes and discrimination; pregnancy, contraception and STIs; and online safety in different contexts.
We work closely with external providers to ensure pupils receive the most relevant and engaging sessions regarding current issues covered. These include The No Way Trust who run the crime awareness day mentioned above, as well as the Pintsize Theatre group who run interactive drama workshops on topics such as online relationships and grooming, consequences of teenage pregnancy and the influence of alcohol on risk taking behaviour. This also gives students the chance to communicate with a range of people from different backgrounds, whose own experiences can also be of great benefit to our pupils.
The curriculum is designed to meet the fundamental objective of Personal Development, which is to fully prepare pupils to deal with and manage issues relating to their own health, relationships and wellbeing, as well as being a valuable member of our society.
Throughout the year, Personal Development offers pupils the opportunity to participate in fundraising activities, encouraging them to show empathy towards those less fortunate than themselves. As a school we support national initiatives such as Comic Relief, Children in Need and Remembrance Day, along with more local and personal charities. For example, in 2019 as a school we raised £512 for the Young Minds Hello Yellow Campaign and £919 for Comic Relief. Our proudest fundraising achievement in 2019 was raising a grand total of £1078.15, to be shared between Muscular Dystrophy UK and Rainbow Trust, in memory of one of our pupils who sadly passed away last year.
We support the British Value of democracy through the Student Council election process, where all pupils in each year group are able to nominate themselves as candidates, with the year group then voting for their representatives. The Student Council meet regularly throughout the year to discuss issues around the school. They also participate in the interview process for new teaching staff, forming pupil panels and giving tours of the school.
Careers and ambitions are interwoven in the Personal Development curriculum and enrichment from Year 7 to 11. In Key Stage 3, pupils are given support when considering which options they want to choose for further study at Key Stage 4, with a view on linking these to career prospects and aspirations. At Key Stage 4, there is an even greater focus on careers and work experience, with an abundance of support in place for pupils. All pupils create CVs and personal statements that they can use to help with work experience, post-16 and further education applications. Year 10 students complete a one week work experience placement, providing extremely beneficial insight into potential career paths. These placements are undertaken in a wide variety of workplaces, with previous examples including The Co-op, Halfords, Barton Buses, KAM servicing and many local nurseries and primary schools for our budding teachers and childcare professionals. As mentioned above, Year 11s participate in a careers day which provides an invaluable experience of what the interview process entails. We also have links with DANCOP who deliver targeted higher education outreach programmes to secondary schools, with the aim of raising the aspirations of the young people that they work with.