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6 September 2023

Personal Development at St. Francis’ College

Change is a constant in our lives, and at St. Francis’ College, we believe in embracing it with open arms. In line with this philosophy, we are thrilled to introduce Personal Development, the exciting new iteration of PSHE (Personal, Social, Health, and Economic Education). This term, our focus is on 'Being Me in My World,' a theme that applies to every student in Key Stages 3, 4, and 5.

Personal Development is not just a change in name; it's a shift in perspective. We recognise the importance of nurturing not only academic excellence but also the holistic growth of our students. In 'Being Me in My World,' we empower our pupils to explore themselves and their place in the world, equipping them with valuable life skills, empathy, and self-awareness. The Personal Development curriculum has been tailored to the specific needs and stages of our pupils' lives. Our 'Being Me in My World' programme is designed to ensure that each topic aligns with the age and maturity of the students. Let's delve into the curriculum to see how we address age-appropriateness at every step of the journey.

In Year 7, our focus is on building a strong foundation for personal development. We believe it's essential to start with topics such as 'Unique Me', 'Belonging to a Group,' and 'Peer Pressure,' as students are introduced to the basics of self-awareness and empathy. These topics are age-appropriate and set the stage for deeper exploration in the years to come.

As students progress to Year 8, we continue to explore and build on these themes. 'Stereotypes’, 'Protected Characteristics’ and 'Respect for the Beliefs of Others' are all topics that align with their growing cognitive and social development. We want our students to understand the world around them while respecting diversity and individuality.

In Year 9, we introduce more complex subjects like 'Consent,' 'Grooming', ‘Radicalisation’ and ‘County Lines’. While these topics are undoubtedly important, we approach them with sensitivity, providing age-appropriate information and guidance to help students navigate these challenges responsibly.

As our students enter Year 10, they engage with topics like 'Human Rights and Societal Freedom' and 'Understanding Safety in the UK and Beyond.' These discussions are designed to foster a global perspective while ensuring that the content remains relevant and comprehensible for their age group.

In Year 11, students explore subjects like 'Relationships and the Law', ‘Age Limits and the Law’ and 'Coercive Control.' These themes become more significant as students approach adulthood, and we ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions. It is vital students understand the legal aspects of relationships, including the laws and legislation that is in place to protect them.

Finally in sixth form, as our students mature into adulthood and prepare for life beyond school, we delve into topics such as 'Mental Health', ‘Diet Culture and Eating Disorders’ and 'Managing Stress.' These discussions are tailored to the challenges they may face as young adults, helping them develop resilience and emotional intelligence.

This overview of 'Being Me in My World' within Personal Development represents only a fraction of what lies ahead. The journey of personal development is an ongoing one, with so much more to explore and discover throughout this academic year. We encourage our students to not only embrace these lessons but also to share their newfound knowledge and insights with their parents and guardians. Engaging in discussions about personal development can be enlightening and empowering, strengthening our students’ understanding and knowledge of their unique place within the wider world.

In my role as the Personal Development Lead, I am excited to witness our students go on their own Personal Development journey, both within the classroom and beyond!

Mrs J. Foster
Assistant Head (Pastoral)