Personal Development at CKJS
Personal development is embedded in every aspect of school life, from our ethos, our behaviour policy, assemblies, trips, visitors, extra-curricular opportunities, the wider aspects of school life as well as through our Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) curriculum.
For PSHE, the main curriculum follows the SCARF programme, a programme of learning also used by Charlton Kings Infant school. This means that the units studied at Key Stage 1 are purposefully built upon as the children progress through Key Stage 2. The units studied from SCARF are deliberately selected to meet the needs of the children at CKJS, and form a progressive scheme so children know more, remember more and can do more. Following the SCARF programme, all children follow the same unit each short term, although the learning planned is progressive as the children move through the school. The units covered are: Me and My Relationships, Valuing Difference, Keeping Myself Safe, Rights and Responsibilities, Being My Best, and Growing and Changing. Relationships and Sex Education is also an integral part of personal development. Elements are covered as part of the PSHE curriculum as well as part of the Science curriculum.
We are very aware that some children have been affected by the Covid pandemic and there is an increase in levels of anxiety and SEND in society. We are responsive to any pastoral needs and offer bespoke support according to need, such as time with our Pets as Therapy dog, Lola, or a therapy such as Drawing and Talking. Children love learning outside and we have developed a fantastic forest school area. As well as Forest School sessions, the area is used to enhance outdoor learning in the curriculum.
Assemblies are an integral part of the school ethos and community. Themes covered include many aspects of personal development, based around the school’s values ABC and the five British Values of mutual respect, tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, individual liberty, democracy and the rule of law. Aspects such as self-belief, resilience, personal safety, emotional well-being and role models are also considered. We invite a variety of visitors into school to enrich the taught and wider curriculum. This year some of our visitors include our local PCSOs and Schoolsbeat officers, visitors from the Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities and a local environmental group. As well as the C in our values ABC, we recognise the importance of community through the whole curriculum as a golden thread (the C in our VOICES). The children are encouraged to be involved through local churches, links to care homes, performances at a luncheon club for older residents and a whole range of charity events, some which are chosen by the school council or at the request of other children with a particular interest. On a Friday, we end the week with a celebration assembly in which the children’s achievements both in and out of school are recognised and act to inspire others.
Additionally, assemblies are part of our opportunities for spiritual development. Most assemblies have a time for reflection and, once a week, the local Open the Book team runs an assembly based on a bible story, in which children join in with acting and actions. Other opportunities for spiritual development take place alongside the PSHE curriculum, again with activities involving reflection, outdoor awareness in the Forest School area, appreciation of the environment and mindfulness.
Children from each class are elected annually to be part of two pupil voice groups. Our school council meet regularly to discuss any matters the children would like to raise, are involved in policy making and other strategic decision and run fund-raising and other school events. We also have a group of children acting as Anti-bullying Ambassadors. They are children who other children can go to if they need support in developing friendships and they do some activities with the children in their classes supporting the school’s approach to understanding bullying and what to do if they or someone they know are being bullied. As part of this, the older anti-bullying ambassadors have done some training with the Diana Award, which they have shared with the younger ambassadors.
There are many opportunities apart from those mentioned above, for children to take on roles of responsibility. All children in Year 6 undertake a prefect role which involves managing an aspect of school, such as the IT equipment in the hall or looking after some of the younger children. Additionally, the children are in one of four houses and house captains are elected to represent each house. House points are awarded for modelling our values and we hold house matches and other competitions, all which allow children to learn to both ‘win and lose’ well. Other roles include running the library at lunchtimes and young leaders.
The school offers a wide range of extra-curricular clubs and activities, some of which are offered following requests through the school council or pupil voice, such as ‘lego club’. Participation in extra-curricular opportunities are encouraged and tracked. We take part in a wide variety of inter-school/community sports competitions and events ranging from New Age Kurling to chess competitions, a mock trial and Young Voices. Inclusivity is important to us and all pupils have the opportunity to represent the school at some point in their journey and these are recorded so we are inclusive and every child does this. Additionally, we recognise the benefits that residential visits make to personal development. Children in Year 5 are offered two residential visits, one in the UK and the other in France. Year 6 pupils are offered a longer residential, focusing on the environment in a coastal national park in Wales. We are lucky to have our own swimming pool which enables us to teach every child to swim and to learn about water safety.
Our school motto, ‘Believe in Yourself’ captures our desire for every child to feel successful and to want to try new things. Another way we develop self-confidence is through the opportunity to perform in drama. Each year group performs a production to parents and the community involving performing, singing and speaking aloud in front of an audience. These productions become progressively more challenging and complex and climax with a full musical show at the end of Year 6. Children audition for parts and those who do not want to perform on stage have a key role in organising the lighting, costumes and stage effects. Many of our children go on to embrace opportunities in music and drama at secondary school.
Some children find transition difficult and we make comprehensive arrangements to help children joining us in Year 3 (and from other schools nationally) settle and when they move on to secondary school. This includes special arrangements for children with additional needs. We have especially strong links with Charlton Kings Infant School, where we use the motto, ‘Two schools but one Journey’ and undertake shared events and opportunities. Most children transfer to Balcarras secondary school and our children have the advantage of becoming very familiar with the much bigger site through visiting for hot lunches, lessons in food technology and art, house matches using their facilities and other events.
Pupils love coming to CKJS and feedback from parents and the community recognise the wealth of opportunities offered to support personal development. This is confirmed by comments such as: ‘This is the best school ever’ and ‘I think school is really wonderful and brilliant! I also think this school is full of ideas’ and ‘It's great and everyone is included’, from our most recent pupil survey.