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Personal Development & Awareness

The Personal Development Programme lives at the heart of the Priory Academy LSST. Meticulously crafted to provide our students with a wide range of transferable skills and knowledge to help them in all aspects of their lives, the personal development covers a wide range of topics from empathy to careers pathways, harmful online content and preventing prejudice and discrimination. This programme aligns closely with our academy values of respect, resilience, aspiration, inspiration and innovation and The Priory Federation of Academies Trust’ mission to improve the life chances of students so that they can become true citizens of the world.

Relevant Policies

Safeguarding and Child Protection
Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy - Students
Relationships and Sex Education Policy
Student Wellbeing Policy
Careers Guidance Policy
SEND Policy

Intent

The Personal Development Programme (PDP) at The Priory Academy LSST aims to encourage all our students to consider their own personal, educational and career development. We want our students not only to be equipped with the necessary qualifications for their futures but also with the skills, confidence, resilience and awareness necessary to be successful and effective members of the communities in which they will live and work. One of the key aims of our Personal Development Programme is Character Development. Through our offer we focus on developing numerous character skills such as respect, volunteerism and resilience.

Our students come from a wide geographical area and come with a breadth of experiences and needs and consequently our PDP is designed to have the capacity to meet these needs.

Following feedback from our students in the Pupil Perception survey we have a particular focus on mental health and coping strategies which we call ‘The Mental Health Toolkit’.

At the heart of our PDP are six strands which cover the elements of Personal Development such as PSHE, Citizenship, SMSC and RSE. The strands of PDP are:

Community - our community sessions are all about existing alongside others in harmony. Key topics include managing personal emotions, showing empathy, respect and resilience and looking after the environment. Forms of prejudice and discrimination are discussed and challenged including those of stereotyping, bullying and racism. Students are encouraged to discuss their thoughts on these topics in a safe environment. We believe this strand is important as it supports our Academy Values and is based on staff knowledge of the students. Through this strand and the Careers and Wider World strand we deliver much of our Citizenship provision which helps to provide students with the knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society.

Careers and the Wider World - as an academy, we aim to provide our students with a skill-set that will allow them to flourish when they leave us at the end of a successful journey. Much of this skill-set comes from a rich and varied curriculum, the rest is provided through awareness sessions and off-timetable days. Sessions on career pathways and utilisation of external visitors from many different careers supports students in planning their next steps after life at the academy. For the younger students, an introduction to responsible money management and financial risk sets them up to be able to handle their own income and control their expenses. Student’s rights are explained to them, both in terms of their human rights and their rights as consumers of goods both physical and digital. This strand also encourages students to begin to take responsibility for their own safety when travelling, working or spending time with friends as well as how to avoid illegal and illicit activities. There are strong links between our Personal Development Programme and our Careers Programme which can be viewed on our website here.

British Values - we ensure the Priory Academy LSST promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs; and encourage students to respect other people, with particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.

RSE and Health – our primary goal is to equip students with the knowledge to create maintain positive and healthy relationships in all aspects of their lives. Sessions on trust, connections with others and expressing emotions support students in their ongoing relationships with family and friends and those on romantic and sexual attraction, intimate relationships and consent prepare students for new types of relationships they may be exposed to as they progress through the academy. External speakers combined with form time awareness sessions are utilised to offer expert advice to students on all aspects of their personal health including self-examination, dental health and the importance of sleep. Our RSE Provision can be found in full here. 

The four strands above form the four key topic areas of our Awareness sessions that take place during Form Time (see Implementation below). Many elements of these strands are also delivered elsewhere as well, for example much of our Careers Programme is delivered by the Careers Team and element of RSE and Health are delivered by departments such as Science, PE, RE and Food.

Online Safety - in a world where interactions increasingly occur online, the Online Safety strand of our Personal Development Programme aims to provide students with the tools to explore the online world safely and productively. An awareness of some of the dangers present on the internet such as online radicalisation, fake news and other harmful online content is provided and online rights and responsibilities are discussed. All strands of the personal development programme discuss the use of proper and safe use technology where applicable; this strand goes into a greater level of detail for some of these topics.
Online Safety is mainly delivered via assemblies, ICT lessons, visiting speakers and our Awareness Days.

Mental Health Toolkit – following feedback from students we have developed sessions that discuss the importance of mental health, coping strategies and where to get support when it is needed. These also incorporate events such as World Mental Health Day, Children’s Mental Health Week and Mental Health Awareness Week.
The Mental Health Toolkit forms part of our Awareness Sessions and Enrichment Sessions.

Much planning takes place to ensure our PDP covers the mandatory Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education guidance, the Curriculum planning for Relationships, Sex and Health Education in secondary schools as part of education recovery and helps the Academy to ensure the Gatsby Benchmarks are met.

Implementation

We deliver our Personal Development Programme through a range of channels. Personal Development is delivered through:

  • Awareness –discussion based lessons delivered during Form Time.
  • Assemblies – delivered in year groups and designed to support the Awareness lessons and used to deliver specific content. Include the delivery of 
  • Awareness Days – a full day off timetable where students spend the day focusing on a specific area of personal development pertinent to each year group.
  • External speakers – specialist people are invited to speak with our students on topics such as drug and alcohol awareness, contraception, higher education etc. 
  • Curriculum – some of the topics are covered directly through our curriculum areas such as Science, RE and PE.
  • The Mental Health Toolkit – a series of lessons delivered to students during form time to equip them with skills needed to cope with mental health issues and know where to access help when necessary.
  • Enrichment – these are used as a means of revisiting the topics that have been covered so far to ensure students are reminded of the important topics covered, to deliver topical content based on current affairs and to deliver our Mental Health Toolkit.
  • Priory Passport – a document that challenges students in the areas of Leadership and Challenge, Physical and Wellbeing, Cultural and Creative and Community.

Staff are trained to deliver Personal Development annually and where necessary and also given further support where requested. This is also underpinned by safeguarding training. 

Other supporting work for Personal Development (Implementation):

  • LSST Values
  • Extra-curricular activities booklet
  • The Academic Curriculum
  • Reading challenges
  • House events
  • Reading Log
  • Religious Education
  • Academy Council
  • Careers provision 
  • Enrichment tracker
  • Careers Fair
  • Work Experience
  • Careers Programme
  • Careers Guidance

Sequencing

Each strand of the Personal Development Programme is sequenced to ensure students further their understanding of the key topics during their time at the Academy and to ensure students learn appropriate content at the relevant Key Stage. Student voice, staff voice, staff knowledge and parental feedback are all considered when sequencing the Personal Development Programme to ensure it develops students’ understanding and skills from Year 7-13.

SMSC 

A full Academy Audit is carried out twice an Academic Year to ensure there is plenty of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development opportunities for our students. We believe our SMSC offer is vast due to a broad and deep curriculum, tools such as our Priory Passport, our vast extra-curricular offer and large number of visits that take place. A copy of the latest SMSC Audit is available on request by emailing generalenquiries@priorylsst.co.uk 

Quality Assurance

Personal Development is quality assured through:

  • Learning Walks which are a weekly item on the Senior Leadership agenda.
  • Student Voice
  • Staff Voice
  • Quizzing which helps to identify gaps in knowledge
  • Analysis of Pupil Perception Surveys
  • Analysis of Parental Voice
  • Student evaluations completed on specific days such as Awareness Day

External Speakers

The Academy uses a range of external speakers to support the Personal Development Programme. Examples include Positive Health, the Stay Safe Partnership, Lincolnshire Police, people from industry to discuss different career paths and motivational speakers. We use external speakers to support our programme due to their level of expertise and student voice has shown they can be highly impactful. 

Equality and Diversity

Equality and diversity is promoted throughout our Personal Development programme. The materials provided include different viewpoints from all different walks of life and students are encouraged to freely express their views on the topics covered. Recent examples include sessions covering LGBTQ+, Black Lives Matter and the political situation in Ukraine.

Safeguarding

Our Designated Safeguarding Lead and Personal Development Lead meet regularly to ensure the Personal Development programme addresses any current safeguarding concerns or issues. This also feeds into staff training, for example all staff have been trained in spotting signs of sexual harassment. We also survey students each year to ensure they feel safe on site and to identify potential issues that can then be addressed.

Specific Needs

All Personal Development activities are fully inclusive. For example all students attend Awareness sessions and the activities on an Awareness Day. Further support is then offered to those students who need it using the following strategies:

  • Our Learning Strategies Department review our personal development and enrichment activities on a weekly basis.  As part of this review learners who may need additional support with any of the Awareness topics or other Personal Development activities are identified and offered this.
  • We have members of staff who are Mental Health First Aid trained and ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) trained who provide mentoring provision and specific intervention e.g. anxiety, friendship issues, difficulty forming/sustaining relationships.
  • There are Learning Strategies mentors for each Year Group who liaise with Heads of Year to assess whether there are students who need further support with Personal Development. Form Tutors make Head of Year aware if they have noticed any issues in students regarding Personal Development (Awareness).
  • From the above, and through the work of Learning Strategies, a small cohort of students have been equipped with mechanisms and a safe haven where they can approach the Learning Strategies team in a way that they are comfortable if anything they have learnt or been doing has made them feel uncomfortable. 
  • We are aware some students need further support to access the PD Programme and one to one support and intervention are given where required.
  • If a student needs further support with Personal Development, appropriate external agencies will be approached. 

Further Support

At the end of each Awareness session there is a reminder informing students of where they can get support should they need it including internal academy systems and external agencies. These are also highlighted regularly in assemblies.

Consultation and Opt-Out

Parents and carers and students are consulted on our RSE offer each academic year and parents and carers can choose to remove their child from RSE sessions should they wish. These children are offered alternative lessons instead. Our RSE Provision can be found in full here.