Intent, Implementation and Impact
Our curriculum is best understood through the answers to the following three questions:
- Intent: why do we teach what we teach?
- Implementation: how do we teach what we teach?
- Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
1. Intent: why do we teach what we teach?
Our personal development curriculum aims to ensure our pupils are safe, happy and successful people both in their time with us in our school community and out in the wider world over the rest of their lives.
Our personal development curriculum is therefore the body of knowledge, skills and experiences pupils gain to learn more about themselves, their communities and the world. From the first good morning on the street to the final phone calls staff make to praise pupils’ achievements at the end of the day – in our taught pastoral curriculum encompassing PSHE, RSE, Citizenship, SMSC and British Values and in our commitment to transformational learning experiences for each and every pupil, we maintain an equity of provision and opportunity we are extremely proud of.
An intended by-product of pupils’ increased knowledge and understanding in the personal development curriculum is also better access to the academic curriculum: we prioritise social, emotional and language development in our EYFS curriculum and invest time and energy into teaching pupils how to listen actively, speak up for what they believe in and be ready to learn from others. Oracy is placed at the heart of our PD curriculum - considering the moral dilemmas characters face in the texts we study from Nursery right through to Year 13, debating conflicts in history and evaluating the responsibility of different stakeholders in addressing global challenges such as climate change. We want our pupils to know and celebrate how their view – though personal and important to them – is one of many. Good oracy also therefore means the ability to express difference of opinion and, where necessary, to disagree in a spirit of respect and trust for others.
Our values of aiming high, being kind, working together and leading the way support our shared work in developing our pupils as kind, confident people who are able to lead happy, successful lives within our inclusive school environment and beyond the school gates, and have positive impact on the wider world.
Our personal development curriculum offer is underpinned by a commitment to ensuring our pupils are:
2. Implementation: how do we teach what we teach?
The personal development curriculum is driven by the leaders of the school through the embedding of a long-term curriculum overview which ensure we meet and exceed the expectations of the National Curriculum detailed in individual medium-term plans and detailed resources. It incorporates all the following elements:
We teach the Personal Development curriculum through:
- A weekly Personal Development lesson for Year 1-11 with two lessons per week in Sixth Form, all centrally mapped;
- A half-termly Personal Development drop-down day (sometimes with a discrete focus such as during Careers Week);
- Weekly assemblies;
- Whole school events, trips, experiences and guest speakers;
- Mapping into other parts of the curriculum (e.g. financial literacy in maths and staying safe online in computing)
- Interactions throughout the school day e.g. in family service lunch, how we play together in social times, after school clubs programme etc.
Principles of the learning cycle:
- All learning objectives are planned into the long-term curriculum overview by Senior PD Leaders
- Learning Objectives are scheduled by PD leaders, working closely with Heads of Year in secondary and Year Leads in primary to marry up all the different elements of the PD curriculum into a cohesive whole
- Pupils begin PD lessons with a Do Now to consolidate prior learning or engage in a new topic and lessons are planned to follow the principles of a KSA lesson
- Oracy and reading are prioritised with specific age-appropriate texts selected and guided reading used to develop literacy through PD lessons
- In primary, PD lessons finish with an exit ticket to assess knowledge and understanding – these exit tickets form the termly quiz to assess how well knowledge and understanding are being retained over time. In secondary PD lessons finish with either a knowledge-based exit ticket or an extended independent reflection which allows pupils the space to consider their key take-aways from the lesson. In Secondary there is a termly PD quiz alongside focus groups and work reviews to assess the impact of the lessons.
- Regular assemblies, trips, events and community engagement activities put PD learning into real-world contexts
- Pupils complete regular reflection activities enabling them to review their learning and how it all fits together, including with their own more independent experiences of clubs and enrichment activities both in and out of school
- Leaders review data from quizzes, pupil reflections and student focus groups to adapt learning for the next cycle, ensuring knowledge and understanding are embedded.
- Pupils are explicitly taught our shared values Aim High, Work Together, Be Kind, Lead the Way from a young age and conversations about character permeate every conversation across the school from age 2-18 through planned structures in morning meeting and dismissal, shout outs, end of lesson routines, assemblies, circle times and whole class rewards and celebrations as well as consequences – for example in detention reflection – as much as through informal and ad-hoc conversations and moments every day.
- Zones of Regulation are embedded throughout the school as a way for children to learn to describe their feelings and behaviours and learn how to self-regulate through naming and utilising age-appropriate strategies.
- In secondary, pupils are also taught to reflect on their attitudes and behaviours both within lessons or in specific situations and also over the longer period of a week through the ‘payslip’ model of counting up positives and subtracting negatives to ‘earn’ enrichment time and over time – through earning one’s place on the end of year residential trip by securing a payslip average of 100.
ii Personal Social and Health Education AND Relationships and Sex Education
- We are proud of our comprehensive all-through PSHE and RSE curriculum which we have developed over the last four years into three cycles drawing heavily on the excellent work of the PSHE Association: ‘living in the wider world’, ‘mental and physical health,’ and ‘healthy relationships’.
- We undertook a significant review of this curriculum in 2021 and in 2023 to ensure it meets the needs our pupils and parents have told us they want and need: the curriculum now has an increased focus on consent (starting in KS1), child on child abuse and issues around sexual harassment, sexual abuse and sexual violence. It also has a significantly bigger focus on online safety now in every year group and we are excited to be developing more real-world experiences of community engagement in every year group.
- This planned curriculum means that we are confident we are teaching pupils to recognise risks and dangers – particularly online and from peers – in an age-appropriate manner in each and every year group throughout the school. As such, pupils’ learning is built upon year on year and embedded and remembered.
- Pupils with SEND are well supported in the delivery of the PSHE curriculum and receive additional support in making the learning ‘stick’ for example, through additional sessions, smaller group coaching or one to one follow up. Knowing our SEND pupils are more vulnerable to abuse, we pay particular attention to the teaching of consent all-through, exploring healthy relationships in KS2-KS5 and to sex education in KS3-KS5.
iii. Mental and physical health
- Pupils’ mental health concerns have increased during and post-pandemic. We are proud of our investment in effective relationships with partner organisations to support our pupils: Place2Be, MIND, CAMHS, West London Zone and National Schools Breakfast Programme as well as carefully nurtured relationships with our School Nurse, our local Safer Schools Officer, and with Early Help and Westminster Children’s Services.
- 71% of parents believe they can get their child the mental health support their child needs (compared to 50% across the Ark network).
- Zones of Regulation are well-embedded across primary and reflecting on pupils’ confidence, resilience and self-knowledge are a core part of each lesson, as well as in daily and weekly reflections
- We continue to invest in the capacity of our PE team, developing a broader range of sporting clubs and opportunities for a wider range of pupils.
- Each enrichment slot within the school day from KS2 to 5 includes the offer of multiple sports activities. All year groups from 1 to 13 have free access to after school sports clubs at least once a week. In Sixth Form, student run sports clubs develop leadership as well as physical health.
- Citizenship, alongside Spiritual, Social, Moral and Cultural development and the teaching of British values, are all embedded into many aspects of the academic curriculum in English, humanities as well as through the PD curriculum taught in PD lessons, morning meetings, assemblies and circle times.
- Our pupils learn about their individual rights and responsibilities as well as the holistic development of self and the ways in which they can contribute to society as an active citizen in our school and in a local, national and even international context.
- We move from learning about the difference between right and wrong in the Early Years and KS1, into learning about democracy in KS2 with a rite of passage visit to the Houses of Parliament in Year 6. We meet and exceed the National Curriculum expectations for the teaching of Citizenship throughout KS3 and KS4 with a particular focus on rights and protected characteristics, voting, and the responsibilities of the world of work.
- We ensure pupils also learn through Social Action: in Year 6, all pupils participate in the Junior Citizenship Scheme and in Year 9, all pupils participate in First Give, a charitable project where pupils compete in small groups to raise money for local charities. Each year, we run a service project, during which pupils and parents donate food and other items towards a local foodbank. Pupils discuss the value of this to the community through assemblies and morning meetings in this week.
- Sixth Form volunteers read with Year 2 pupils two mornings a week
- Pupils in KS3 and KS4 do guided reading of a non-fiction article for DEAR every week. This is chosen to expose pupils to global issues and issues concerning UK citizens in the news. The reading texts facilitate discussion through comprehension and debate questions designed to help pupils evaluate how they relate to these citizenship questions.
- We are growing our provision in championing student voice – pupils currently all complete an annual survey which we feedback on how we have implemented their feedback. We have a range of leadership roles embedded across primary and secondary culminating in a very active Sixth Form Student Leadership Team.
- We know that for many of our pupils, their spiritual identity is fundamental to who they are. All pupils have opportunities to reflect on their own beliefs and perspectives on life, as well as learn knowledge of and respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values.
- From Year 1 to Year 6, all pupils visit a different religious place of worship each year, an important foundation on which to build our GCSE Religious Studies curriculum which every pupil learns in KS4.
- We celebrate both Eid and Christmas as important all-through celebratory events and mark other religious celebrations through assemblies
- Students in Sixth Form run an Iftar during Eid which both students and parents are invited to. This is open for everyone to attend.
- Moral and social development are intrinsic to our whole school approach to behaviour as well as through our PSHE and pastoral curriculum. Pupils need to be taught rules of how to behave, the difference between right and wrong, but also how to self-regulate and a restorative, coaching approach is at the heart of our work. We always seek to learn, through our choices and our mistakes.
- We have a planned curriculum of weekly Personal Development lessons all-through, complimented by an all-through assemblies calendar which ensures we cover all the important element of SMSC and British Values as well as keeping space to respond to events or circumstances as they arise.
vi British Values
- British values are at the heart of our personal development work – believing in democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law and mutual respect and tolerance.
- Democracy is taught throughout the school through class voting, a rite of passage visit to the Houses of Parliament in Year 6 and through Sixth Form student leadership hustings where all secondary pupils have a vote and in Model United Nations in Sixth Form.
- Pupils are exposed to the value of individual liberty through the celebration of key moments e.g. Black History Month, Pride, LGBT+ History months
- Pupils learn about the Rule of Law through our behaviour policy, assemblies and key topics in Personal Development. For example, pupils learn about what rules are and why we have them in Year 1 as part of their ‘Living in the wider world’ cycle of work. All Primary pupils in Years 1-6 learn about changes to the Law protecting LGBT+ rights in whole school assemblies during LGBT+ History Month.
- Crucially pupils are expected to live by the values of mutual respect and tolerance through learning about each other’s identities and celebrating them – e.g. on International Day, at Eid parties, during Pride month – but also through day-to-day experiences of living our school values of being kind and working together.
vii Equal Opportunities
- Our school is inclusive to our core in the belief that every single one of our children is capable of achieving our mission. Our school mantra of ‘climbing the mountain to university’ speaks to all of us working together, promoting equality of opportunity for all pupils.
- Class rewards throughout primary and secondary promote a sense of ‘team and family’ that we thrive together and when we do celebrate individuals, we do so by enjoying each other’s successes e.g. through giving each other ‘shout-outs.’
- Whilst other schools might pay for music tuition for gifted or talented musicians or offer it as an option for those parents who choose it, KSA ensures every single pupil learns a stringed instrument from Year 4 to Year 9 and participates in a whole year group orchestra once a week throughout Middle School. We know the transformative power of playing music together as well as the personal development opportunities practice gives to learn commitment, resilience and satisfaction.
- We actively teach pupils about the protected characteristics across the curriculum (notably in PD and in English) and display them in every room of the school.
- We have an active Diversity and Inclusion staff group, which has influenced our curriculum and recruitment approach.
- Through surveys we know that pupils, parents and staff feel connected to the staff community.
viii Extended Learning and Enrichment
- We know that alongside knowledge, young people’s experiences of the world help share their understanding, appreciation and world-view. We believe that every child is entitled to a set of experiences throughout their time at KSA.
- Our extensive planned trips programme ensures pupils regularly learn from a wide variety of experiences beyond their classroom, complementing the academic curriculum with knowledge and understanding of lived experiences e.g through a Diwali dance workshop in Reception, a trip to a Victorian school room in Year 5, a trip to the Science Museum in Year 9, Geography field work costal trip in Year 10 and trip to Sussex and other Universities close to but outside of London at the start of Year 12
- We make the most of living in London and all our great city has to offer - taking the whole of Year 1 to the Barbican to see the London Symphony Orchestra and celebrating our very own musicians on the same main-stage of the Barbican at the biannual Ark Gala.
- All pupils are encouraged to pursue individual interests beyond the classroom in their play on our Younger Years Site, in daily structured activity and in-school earned enrichment on our Older Years Site and through an extensive programme of after school clubs and activities
- For pupils on Younger Years, we invest in enriching play in the playground through our ‘Midday Magic team’ running a range of high-quality games and activities for pupils to learn through play, overseen and planned with Senior Leaders.
- One afternoon a week from Year 5 up, pupils are able to earn an afternoon of an enriching activity of their choice including a range of sports, arts and creative projects culminating in performances, exhibitions or completed projects – and for the first time in Juniors in 2023-24, celebrated with parents.
- We have a daily programme of clubs on both sites which are completely funded by the school. In 2022-23 we began piloting reserving 50% of the places for pupils on Free School Meals first in order to ensure we are providing these enriching opportunities to the pupils who most need us to give them.
- Participation is tracked on FSM, SEN and gender and pupils are targeted to ensure equity of access.
- We also offer the Duke of Edinburgh Award to KS4 and KS5 pupils.
- We are working with East Learning to pilot provision of enriching experiences from Year 4-Year 13, specifically targeting an ‘Aspirations Programme’ using data from pupils on their needs, interests and ambitions to tailor our programme precisely to meet them.
- Ark Primary Connections Passport is embedded into the Personal Development Curriculum
ix Careers and Employment Advice, Information and Guidance
- Careers information, advice and guidance is a great strength of the academy with excellent and committed leadership from a full-time non-teaching member of staff. 7/8 Gatsby benchmarks are in place across the whole curriculum with the eighth due to be achieved in 2022-23 with our Careers Lead achieving her Level 6 qualification.
- All primary pupils learn about a different career each week through morning meetings and participate in the all-through Careers Week every year.
- Professional visitors form a central part of pupils’ Personal Development lessons where they have the opportunity to meet and speak with professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds. For example, pupils meet health workers, lawyers, librarians, journalists and carers, to name a sample.
- Primary pupils have a termly Community Engagement activity where they have opportunities to engage with people younger and older than their peer group. These activities practise vital skills of empathy, teamwork, community service and altruism. For example, Year 5 pupils read to pupils in Reception and Reception pupils learn to show case their learning to older pupils. Furthermore, Year 4 pupils learn how to pick litter around their local streets using safe, professional equipment.
- Pupils get real-life experience of the workplace through planned curriculum trips in primary school, Year 9 Workplace Visit Day, Year 10 Work Experience and Year 12 Work visits and experience.
- All secondary pupils present a ‘Portfolio’ of their year’s work to a panel of external guests at the end of every school year to give pupils the experience of speaking to genuine strangers in a professional setting.
- KS4 pupils participate in ‘Speed Networking’ every year, where they can meet a range of employees from diverse backgrounds and get the chance to ask questions and broaden their understanding of the opportunities open to them in their local area.
- All KS4 and KS5 pupils benefit from regular one to one coaching from our Careers Lead
- Transitions are well-planned for to ensure pupils are knowledgeable about their options choosing GCSEs and making post-16 and post-18 decisions.
- The name of every class from Reception to Year 11 is named after a university their class teacher is affiliated with. Pupils begin visiting universities in Year 6 when they attend a chemistry lecture at the University of Oxford and tour a college and visit at least one university a year throughout secondary. In sixth form, as well as organised trips, our students take part in programmes with Kings College, UCL, Imperial and many other universities.
- We have excellent relationships with a range of local, national and global employers – for example with McKinsey and Company, BP, Howard de Walden, BNP Paribas, BAI Communications and Paddington Central. We engage with over 50 different businesses throughout the academic year.
- We support students with applying for post 16 and post 18 vocational routes, including apprenticeships and vocational training. This includes partnering with Construction Youth and City Lions on mentoring programmes and having companies support students with applications including CV workshop with Goldman Sachs and apprenticeship providers including Lloyds and Multiverse.
- What will you see and hear as you walk around our school?
- Morning welcomes from staff and pupils
- Zones of Regulation check ins
- Emotion coaching
- Pupil clicking for support, encouragement, agreement and celebration
- Good manners – saying please and thank you, holding doors open
- Shout outs at the end of lessons
- Secondary end of lesson reviews against values
- Secondary payslip
- End of day review, rewards and shout outs
- Marble jar rewards for team successes in primary
- Green cards/merits for individual successes on Older Years Site
Transitions from each year group into the next are carefully planned for all pupils with additional small group and individual transition plans in place for all our SEN and more vulnerable pupils. The biggest milestones (Starting in Nursery or Reception, moving from YYS to OYS, from Y6 into Y7, Y9 into Y10 and joining sixth form) are particularly carefully planned with multiple practice days to ensure success for all pupils e.g. Junior School or Upper School Practice Days and Transition Academy for Y6 into Y7.
Trips, workshops, events
There is a rich and diverse programme of trips, visits and experiences across the academy half-termly in primary and complimenting the curriculum throughout secondary.
All pupils go on residential trips usually linked to universities in every year from Year 5 through to Year 13 (for example Year 7 spend a week at Warwick University) – pupils tell us these experiences have a transformational impact on them, and support large numbers of pupils applying to top universities, including Warwick. Year 10 travel to Belgium to study and understand the impact of World War One as part of their History curriculum, spending a few nights in Ypres.
Every year, the Upper School Orchestra go on an International Tour which they fundraise for themselves: around 40 pupils each year have travelled to perform in countries such as Spain, Bulgaria, Austria and Slovakia (not in 2020 or 2021 due to pandemic). The majority of Sixth Form attend optional international cultural residentials, for example to Berlin and Prague.
Inclusion and personalisation
Whilst our approach is always to begin with ensuring our curriculum is right for all pupils to learn together, we also know some of our pupils need us to do more or different to ensure they know and understand more or better. Some specific pupil needs are identified by staff, other times by pupils themselves in response to safeguarding concerns (e.g. additional online safety coaching) local knowledge or events (e.g. a member of staff’s marriage, a murder in the community) or to questions raised during a pastoral session (one to one reading or social story).
Teacher development, intellectual preparation and subject development
A significant amount of time and energy are invested in the Training calendar on ensuring all staff (teacher, support staff, lunchtime time) learn how to invest in building positive relationships with pupils. We know that creating safe and predictable relationships with staff make for a safe and predictable learning environment where all pupils can flourish.
Staff have development time each cycle to prepare for teaching the pastoral curriculum e.g. planning and rehearsing Personal Development lessons, discussion common misconceptions and model answers together with leaders.
The senior safeguarding team meet every week to review pastoral concerns and tie together safeguarding, behaviour, attendance, mental health provision and the wider pastoral curriculum of PSHE. We have a non-teaching Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead who works all-through across both sites to support safeguarding but also to work with families and invest in relationships with a range of early help services, police, school nurse, CAMHS, MIND and Place 2 Be.
Staff can all access additional mental health provision through Place 2 Think or through the Employee Assistance Programme sponsored by Ark.
Two senior leaders (one primary and one secondary) are enrolled on Senior Mental Health Practitioner training through Place 2 Be.
3. Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
We work hard to ensure we all live by our shared values in every interaction, every day. And when we don’t, we aim to regulate through using our shared language of zones of regulation and emotion coaching. Pupils are able to reflect on their attitudes and behaviours and strive to be better.
Pupils are knowledgeable about how to develop and maintain positive mental and physical health for themselves and how to develop and maintain a range of healthy relationships. They are able to celebrate diversity and inclusion and are becoming resilient, confident and independent learners.
For the first time in 2023-24, we are piloting primary pupils recording their PD learning in individual Personal Development Journals building on the well-established journal approach of EYFS. The journals aim to capture both the knowledge and understanding from pupils’ PD lessons as well as celebrating their opportunities and achievements through photographs of their rich and varied diet of trips and experiences – a true record of their personal development journey through the school which will hopefully be treasured for years to come.
For 2023-24 in secondary, we are expanding our use of the UniFrog careers and universities platform to replicate the recording of experiences and reflections that will be trialled through the journals in primary. UniFrog allows are pupils to access labour market information, careers guidance and is already embedded into the university and apprenticeships support in KS5. Each term students will record their key PD experiences on UniFrog as well as having time to use the platform to build on their personal career research. Over time this will allow students to build a record of achievement and reflection that will help inform their pathways choices in Year 9, 11 and 13 as well familiarising them with UniFrog so that they can conduct further research outside of school hours.
The quantity and quality of learning is monitored through regular review through the Pastoral Leadership Team and Senior Leaders – paying particular attention to the quality and quantity of learning of more vulnerable pupils, especially those with SEND.
Every term pupils complete self-reflection questions to engage critically with what they have learned and what they would like to learn more about. Pupils also complete an online termly quiz for teachers to assess their learning formatively. Together, this reflection activity and quiz check for pupil understanding and inform future planning as part of our Intellectual Preparation for cycles of learning every term.
Pupils speak with real joy about the many opportunities they are able to grasp as part of every-day life at KSA: every child learning a stringed instrument and playing in orchestra together, every child attending transformational trips at world-class universities.
The long-term proof of our personal development work will be in the happiness and ‘success’ of our pupils’ lives over time and the transformational impact they are able to have on their future families and communities. In the meantime, we are proud that we are consistently enabling more than 70% of our pupils to attend top thirty universities. As our first cohorts of alumni return to visit, or indeed to work in our school, they are inspiring the next generation of KSA pupils, and demonstrate the long-term impact of our curriculum. They are thriving at top universities and securing careers in law, engineering, accountancy, childcare, nursing, local government, teaching and the civil service. By tracking our pupils’ destinations and achievements over time, and maintaining strong relationships with the community we serve, we are able to reflect on how our curriculum can be refined further, to better still achieve our mission.
Personal Development Long Term Plans
Learning Objectives within the Primary Long Term Plan.
Learning Objectives within the Secondary Long Term Plan.