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Personal Development

Personal development at Hartford Church of England High School is built upon the foundations of the school’s Christian ethos - and our motto ‘Caritas et Veritas.’

These values underpin school culture and every student’s daily school life.

We also actively promote and develop students’ understanding and appreciation for the five core British values (tolerance, rule of law, democracy, individual liberty and mutual respect).

The school believes in the holistic development of its students, offering them more chances so they have more choices in the future. Our personal development curriculum goes beyond the classroom. It offers learning experiences which provide students with cultural capital. By offering a varied and diverse set of experiences, we help to prepare students for the rapidly changing society in which we live.

The school ensures students are resilient, respectful and kind. We ensure, through a broad enrichment curriculum, that students develop the key skills to be motivated in the face of adversity - and that they have the confidence to take on any challenge.

To allow for personal development, our students are able to learn and actively engage in four key areas:

  • SMSC development
  • Character Development
  • PSHE and Sex and Relationships Education
  • Careers

You can find more detail on each of these areas below.

The personal development curriculum is developed in line with both statutory guidance and The PSHE Association’s recommended curriculum.


Click on a section below to expand:

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) Development

Spiritual: explore beliefs and experience; respect values; discover oneself and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect.

Moral: recognise right and wrong; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views.

Social: use social skills in different contexts; work well with others; resolve conflicts; understand how communities work.

Cultural: appreciate cultural influences; participate in cultural opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.


Students embed the core values of the school and are mindful of one another’s views, demonstrating tolerance to differences in opinions. We encourage students to be reflective learners, showing curiosity and a thirst for knowledge in order to improve as individuals. This enables them to develop holistically and become active participants in modern British life. This is a real strength of our school and is embedded in the curriculum through ‘theme days’ four times a year (see below), tutor time activities (see below), educational visits, extra-curricular activities (see below) and the assembly programme (see below).

To promote spiritual development, all students study Religious Education at Key Stage 3. This encourages students to reflect on their own beliefs and those of others. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism and Sikhism are studied and other belief systems are examined through modules on ethics and metaphysics. All students study a full range of creative subjects at Key Stage 3 including Art, Music, Drama, Dance and Technology, allowing them to engage their imaginations and be creative in their learning.

The moral development of students is also promoted through tutor time and our Assembly programme (see below). Students reflect on the difference between right and wrong, and they are equipped to apply reasoning and critical thinking skills to their own lives, based on a moral compass. All students study ethics, including different points of view, and learn about how to make ethical decisions as part of Religious Education at Key Stage 3. Students reflect on their own moral decision-making through a focus on restorative justice, integrated into our culture for learning.

Caritas and Veritas Award

In Year 7 and Year 8, students complete the Caritas Award and the Veritas Award respectively. These awards encourage students to challenge themselves in all aspects of their life: both inside and outside of school, physically, academically and emotionally. The award system is inclusive, with opportunities to work cumulatively towards Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum stages.

Caritas and Veritas Lessons

Personal Development is taught specifically to our Year 7 and 8 students through fortnightly lessons (Caritas in Year 7 and Veritas in Year 8). The lessons develop skills such as resilience, independence and the fostering of a growth mind-set, as well as focusing on the ability to work well with others and serving our community. The Caritas and Veritas lessons also incorporate some aspects of Careers education, and explore the different routes available to our students when they leave us at the end of KS4.

Downloads

Inter House Opportunities

The school strives to ensure it is fully inclusive and we achieve this by ensuring all students have a strong sense of association with their House and that students are able to succeed as well as show resilience in adversity. Students will work towards gaining points toward the ‘House Cup’. Competitions will take place within subject areas and students will be awarded points based on attendance and achievement points. Examples of how to gain House points are as follows:

  • Raising money for their House’s nominated charity
  • Being a member of the Student Council
  • Taking the opportunity to speak in public during assemblies
  • Volunteering at events such as Open Afternoon
  • Taking part and competing in inter-house competitions such as debates, sports and culture for learning

Enrichment

Our enrichment programme offers students the chance to develop a wider variety of skills, knowledge and cultural capital to use in becoming active citizens of society. Hartford Church of England High School offers a wide range of enrichment clubs.

Download our Enrichment Programme

Mentoring and Leadership

In order to support our students as they develop into successful citizens in society, there are a number of mentoring and leadership opportunities via our Buddy, Prefect and House/Sport Captains Programme.

Duke of Edinburgh

Hartford Church of England High School is incredibly proud to be a Directly Licensed Centre for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, offering Bronze and Silver levels to all students from Year 9 through to Year 11.

The D of E award is a highly prestigious extra-curricular programme, recognised around the world for developing a huge range of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills amongst participants - and incredibly valuable for future study and employment.

Over the past years, 100s of our students have participated in the D of E Award, completing activities in the volunteering, physical, and skills sections, as well as completing a self-sufficient expedition. It provides students with a life-changing opportunity to engage in experiences that challenge them, enhancing their skills in leadership, resilience, cooperation, team-work, communication, and confidence. Participants must consistently display high levels of commitment and determination to achieve a D of E award; it is rated as the most important extra-curricular activity undertaken at school by a huge number of major employers across the UK.

PSHE and RSE

PSHE stands for the Personal, Social, Health and Economic Wellbeing Education.

Relationships and Sex Education

The Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum is a statutory requirement. Parts of this curriculum cross over with the PSHE curriculum. The aim is to give students the information they need to help them navigate all types of relationships, human sexuality and both mental and physical well-being.

The RSE lessons do not encourage early sexual experimentation, but teach young people to understand human sexuality and to respect themselves and others. They enable students to mature, build confidence and self-esteem and understand the reasons for delaying sexual activity. We aim to build lessons that will support our young people throughout their lives, to develop safe, fulfilling and healthy sexual relationships, at the appropriate time.

Tutor Time

Each daily session is 25 minutes and includes set reading time. Students develop their character and cultural capital each day through a different themed activity (see below). All tutor time follows the same six core themes, but these are developed specifically from Year 7 through to Year 11.

  • Pastoral Empathy Tutorials (PETs) have been developed for each year group. They cover different areas of personal development including Relationships, British Values, Careers, the Wider Community, SRE and Health and Well-being.
  • TOW sessions allow pupils to reflect upon their personal impact on the school and wider community based on the assembly message delivered that week.
  • Careers sessions focus on key employability skills: Leadership, Problem Solving, Listening, Creativity, Staying Positive, Teamwork, Aiming High and Presenting.
  • PSHE sessions concentrate on SMSC, PSHE and Citizenship. Specifically looking at developing students’ understanding of tolerance, right and wrong and relationships.
  • Well-Being sessions focus on how to look after mental and physical health. Students will develop strategies to improve their own and others’ well-being and know where to access support.
  • Form Time Literacy sessions are delivered by tutors to each year group, and include areas of literacy such as: broadening vocabulary, root words, prefixes, suffixes, homophones and idioms. At KS4, these sessions also include guided reading of challenge extracts.

Download Learning Journeys

Assemblies

Students attend assemblies in year groups, once a week. Assemblies are usually led by the Chaplain, a member of the Senior Leadership Team or a visiting guest speaker and based upon a topical theme. Themes can be religious, but may also support the Citizenship curriculum and thereby promote global awareness. Assemblies help to supplement the tutor time programme, providing a space where students can engage with the six core themes.

Educational Visits

Students regularly take part in educational visits and trips, to develop their understanding of historic and culturally significant events and landmarks within the world. Such visits and trips give students opportunities to develop an association when retrieving key information, whether this be in lessons or in conversations in their everyday lives.

Careers

The teaching and promotion of careers, in line with the Gatsby Benchmarks, is embedded within school life. We aim to create an ambitious culture for our students to understand different pathways into the wider world of work, encouraging them to actively contemplate different careers and the chances they must take now to help them achieve their employment goals; for example, which academic qualification or work experience will best assist them. This is achieved in a variety of ways:

  • The tutorial programme, with set time assigned to Careers
  • Weekly Careers employability skill focus: listening; teamwork; leadership; aiming high; problem solving; creativity; staying positive; and presenting
  • Thematic days
  • External speakers and trips
  • Annual careers fair
  • Educational Visits

Theme Days

Thematic days take place four times a year and are delivered in year groups. They provide opportunities for students to learn beyond the academic curriculum in a variety of ways. These days supplement the four core themes of the personal development curriculum (SMSC development, character development, PSHE/Citizenship and Careers). Hartford Church of England High School staff, as well as external agencies, run these days.

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