At Ark St Alban’s Academy, the character programme teaches our pupils to stay safe, lead healthy lives and make well informed choices about their futures.
It does so by encouraging them to ask and to find answers to six Big Questions:
- Who am I?
- How can I keep myself safe and secure?
- How can I be an active citizen?
- Where am I going next?
- How can I stay physically and mentally healthy?
- How can I have healthy relationships?
We explore each question from a faith perspective through collective worship and through our calendar of topic-based assemblies.
Both collective worship and our assemblies supplement the curriculum time set aside for the teaching of Personal, Social & Health Education, Relationships & Sex Education and Citizenship.
Pupils also have the opportunity to ask to and to find answers to these questions through their study of our academic curriculum and in their participation in our enrichment offer.
Our character curriculum is led by eight intended outcomes which all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities are guided to master.
All pupils will know:
- Future pathways available to them and how to navigate them.
- British values, and our academy values, and what they mean in reality and in practice.
- Rights and wrongs in the eyes of the law, and the fundamentals of the justice system.
- Characteristics of good physical and mental health and how to monitor, maintain and improve both.
All pupils will be able to:
- Name and explain their own values and describe the factors that influence them.
- Develop and maintain a variety of healthy and safe relationships, including with their peers.
- Think critically about national and international events.
- Participate effectively in their community.
- Embrace and celebrate diverse perspectives, cultures and values.
Excellent pupil progress and achievement in the character curriculum is urgent and important. Providing pupils with the ability to keep both themselves and others safe, lead healthy lives and make well informed choices is critical not only to their reaching a selective destination, but also in being able to succeed and thrive when they get there.
Thematic, pedagogical and vocabulary-based links are made between all aspects of the character curriculum. These links guide pupils in becoming increasingly confident in engaging with the Big Questions and in the topics being addressed:
- Thematic links are used to support pupils in rehearsing and applying their knowledge.
- Vocabulary links guide pupils in being ever more precise in articulating their knowledge and understanding.
- Pedagogical links allow pupils to practise and prepare for making informed choices: pupils will often complete structured reflection and guided reading of non-fiction texts, and they will discuss, debate and apply their learning to real-life scenarios.
Key knowledge is revisited over time and built upon to ensure meaningful and age-appropriate learning. This approach to sequencing the character curriculum, alongside the links outlined above, supports pupils to know and remember more over time and to flourish as confident learners
The impact of our character curriculum is seen in the increasing confidence and precision with which our pupils are able to answer the six Big Questions as they progress through the school.
This confidence is also evident in the ever increasing ability of our pupils to do the following:
- Develop healthy, safe and supportive relationships with their peers.
- Meaningfully participate in enriching and collaborative endeavours.
- Navigate the pathways available to them and make ambitious choices.
All of our pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, enter an appropriate next step in education, employment or training when they leave our school and we follow their progress with great pride.
We recognise that the long-term impact of our curriculum is not seen simply in the exam results of our pupils, instead it is in their ability to flourish and to fulfil their God-given talents, both at, and beyond their chosen destination.