Please click here to download a pdf booklet which summarises our approach to Personal Development.
While it is taken for granted at a school such as ours that an exceptional education should be about much more than just exam results it is much harder to define what we actually mean by Personal Development, even though we all know that students benefit immeasurably from taking part in activities such as raising money for charity, work experience, theatre, public speaking, sport, trips and visits and the Duke of Edinburgh award schemes.
Our vision for Personal Development
The concept which underpins our vision for Personal Development is that it is a web of skills, knowledge and experiences, developed over time, that is unique to every child and which prepares them for their future – whatever that may be.
What are the Personal Development strands?
There are 8 Personal Development strands in the model we have developed at IGS.
Due to the nature of Personal Development these strands interconnect and overlap but we believe that everything a student will do either in or out of school, and the knowledge and skills they acquire on that journey, should fit into one of these categories which are
- Active Citizenship & Community
- Leadership & Influence
- Scholarship & Curiosity
- Next Steps & Careers
- Sport, Interests & Culture
- Health & Wellbeing
- Respect, Equality & Diversity
- Discovery & Adventure
The Personal Development booklet and Showbie
The downloadable booklet is our attempt not only to define Personal Development but also to organise all the fantastic things that take place at IGS into a structure that is simple enough for everyone to understand but also flexible enough to accommodate the incredible range of opportunities available to students in and out of school.
The information contained in the downloadable booklet is also mirrored on Showbie which is where all the resources and opportunities are stored for students. Each year group has its own Personal Development Showbie folder which contains a sub-folder for each Personal Development strand.
As parents/carers you have access to the Personal Development Folder for your child as long as you can access Showbie.
Where does Personal Development take place?
At IGS we think of Personal Development as a curriculum which takes place both within and beyond the subjects students study in the classroom. We have made sure that there is a core set of Personal Development activities that all students will access through things like assemblies, tutor time and Personal Best Time as well as a rich set of additional opportunities that students can opt into.
These additional opportunities may be organised by school, but they may also take place out of school. What we are aiming to offer students is a rich set of interconnecting experiences as we know that ‘the more we do the more we become’.
A personalised approach
As Personal Development is something that is unique and personal to each individual and delivered not through one subject area but through a combination of experiences that weave in and out of the academic curriculum, taking place in and out of school, it is very hard to pin down. We have tried to provide a guiding structure without limiting Personal Development to a fixed set of boxes that students are required to tick. This means that the path each student takes on their Personal Development journey will be unique to them.
Why are you telling us about this?
The reason we are sharing this vision with you as parents and carers is because we know that Personal Development takes place both in and out of school and we want you to engage in this conversation with us about what Personal Development means for your child. For some it will mean taking part in maths competitions, for others it will involve reading or computer programming and for others it may be football, climbing, raising money for charity, supporting others, a part time job, the school performance. The list is infinite. What we do know though is that the more of these positive things we can get young people to do in and/or out of school the more adaptable and resilient they will become, and the better prepared they will be to face whatever lies ahead.
What is happening now?
At the start of each year we will launch and promote the range of opt-in extra-curricular opportunities available to students through the usual channels (assembies, tutor time, the Leadership launch and the Enrichment Fayre and weekly messaging during tutor time).
We will also make sure that all students have access to a core set of Personal Development experiences through things like assemblies and PBT. In these sessions we will focus on things such as awareness of national/international events such as Black History month and also deliver strands on key themes such as wellbeing, how students learn best (the learner curriculum) and the Next Steps & Careers programme.In this way we are not just relying on students to opt-in to activities, all students will have access to a rich set of core Personal Development opportunities.
How do you track participation in Personal Development?
At the start of each academic year students will receive a copy of their most recent self-report (unless in Y7) and will complete a reflection and target setting activity.
Towards the end of the autumn term, in the run up to Christmas, all students will be required to complete an online questionnaire about their Personal Development activities in that term. Unlike academic reporting students will self-report their Personal Development experiences using prompt sheets that we will provide. You can see examples of these prompt sheets in the Personal Development folder on Showbie for each year group and in the downloadable booklet above. Students will self-report on:
- Core Personal Development Activities experienced by all students, for example in lessons, in PBT, tutor time & assemblies etc.
- Activities they have opted intoand organised by school such as clubs, sport, drama, music and iLeaders
- Activities they have been involved in out of school
We will share this report with students, tutors and parents/carers who will use it as a starting point for celebrating successes and also identifying possible next steps, remembering that every Personal Development journey is unique.
Students will complete a second self report at the end of the summer term (students in exam years – Y11 and Y13 – will only complete one self-report each year). This will give them the chance to reflect on what progress has been made since the last questionnaire. We will share this self-report with students, tutors, parents and carers again as we start to build up a picture of Personal Development.
What can I do as a parent/carer?
As parents/carers you should already have access to Showbie and you can view the Personal Development folders for your child’s year group. You could use it as a starting point for discussions about the concept of Personal Development and to discuss the opportunities available with them.
In the downloadable booklet and on Showbie you will also find the Personal Development prompts for your child’s year group. This is intended to give you and your child ideas about the kinds of things that can be done in and out of school.
Our ambition is that whatever the individual circumstances may be, all students will have access to a core set of enriching opportunities through school, but we also know that lots of students are involved with activities outside school as well and we want to recognise and capture that information too.
Where will this lead?
The aim of this more structured approach is that these Personal Development reports, which will build up over time, will be valuable to students in the following ways:
- Applying for part time jobs/apprenticeships;
- Applying for work experience;
- Developing a CV (curriculum vitae);
- Preparing for interviews;
- Writing personal statements for colleges and universities;
- Making it easier for students to understand and explain their individual Personal Development journey.
We hope you have found this information useful. If, after having read the downloadable booklet and explored Showbie, you have any questions please contact the school via firstname.lastname@example.org
We believe we have developed something unique which we hope will make the concept of Personal Development meaningful and easy for all involved to understand but we are keen to receive feedback about how we might improve the programme further.