Personal Development

The Hart School, in partnership with parents, has a vital role in preparing children and young people to negotiate the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly complex world. This presents many positive and exciting opportunities, but also challenges and risks. Personal Development deals with real-life issues affecting our children, families and communities. It’s concerned with the social, health and economic realities of their lives, experiences and attitudes including relationships. It supports students to be healthy (mentally and physically), safe (online and offline) and equipped to thrive in their relationships and careers. 

Parents’ and carers’ support is important to the success of our personal development programme. Students are encouraged to talk about the curriculum with parents and carers. Our personal development curriculum includes relationship education and is available for download so that parents and carers can see what content is being delivered.

Why is Personal Development Important?

  • It contributes to physical and mental health and wellbeing, encouraging individual responsibility for health.
  • It contributes to the safety and protection of our children and young people, from staying safe online to understanding risks associated with drugs and alcohol and knowing the law surrounding these topics.
  • It contributes to the information young people need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds, not just intimate relationships, and know boundaries within the law.
  • It promotes independence, resilience and responsibility — preparing children and young people for future roles as parents, employees and leaders.
  • It supports employability by developing the personal and social skills demanded by commerce and industry.
  • It supports students to be critical consumers of information and develops the skills to identify misleading news or views on social media and elsewhere.

How is Personal Development taught?

As a school, we operate a whole school approach to Personal Development and some appropriate topics are explored in tutor time, Life Skills, Life and Soul Days and assembly.  Other subject areas contribute to certain topics such as biology in Science and aspects of relationship and health education arise in English, Drama and PE.

Teaching is conducted in a safe learning environment through the use of ground rules and distancing techniques so that students are not put on the spot or expected to discuss their own personal issues in class. Teaching resources are selected on the basis of their appropriateness to students. 

Life Skills

At Key Stage 3 discrete Personal Development (Life Skills) is taught once a week by a specialised team of teachers. A wide range of teaching methods are used that enable students to actively participate in their own learning. This includes the use of quizzes, case studies, research, role-play, video, small group discussion and use of appropriate guest speakers. Occasional use of drama productions may also form part of the programme.

The Personal Development curriculum is underpinned by the ethos and values of The Hart School and we uphold it as an entitlement for all our students. We recognise the need to work with parents and carers to ensure a shared understanding of Personal Development and to deliver an effective and personalised programme that meets the needs of our students.  

The school believes that students should have opportunities to have their genuine questions answered in a sensible and matter-of-fact manner. Teachers will use their skill and discretion to decide about whether to answer questions in class and, if so, how. They will establish clear parameters of what is appropriate and inappropriate; they will follow the school behaviour for learning policy and discuss ground rules with students by taking an approach that encourages students to be mature and sensible.  Like other subjects, discrete personal development lessons gradually build key concepts and skills through topics that are relevant to children and young people’s age and stage of development. Personal Development lessons cover a wide range of topics and curriculum areas based on the three core themes of:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Relationships
  • Living in the wider world  

Health Education aims to give your child the information they need to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing, to recognise issues in themselves and others, and to seek support as early as possible when issues arise.

Topics include:

  • mental wellbeing
  • Internet safety and harms
  • physical health and fitness
  • healthy eating
  • drugs, alcohol and tobacco
  • health and prevention
  • basic first aid
  • changing adolescent body

Relationship Education will build on the teaching at primary school. It aims to give young people the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds. They will explore what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like and what makes a good friend, colleague and successful marriage or committed relationship.

At the appropriate time, the focus will move to developing intimate relationships, to equip your child with the knowledge they need to make safe, informed and healthy choices as they progress through adult life.

Topics include:

  • secondary transition
  • friendship, including respectful relationships
  • families
  • online media
  • anti-bullying
  • being safe
  • consent 

and later, intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health

As students progress through the years they will be taught the facts and the law about sex, sexuality, sexual health and gender identity in an age-appropriate and inclusive way. It must be recognised that young people may be discovering or understanding their sexual orientation or gender identity. All students should feel that the content is relevant to them and their developing sexuality. Sexual orientation and gender identity are explored at a timely point and in a clear, sensitive and respectful manner. 

The aim of Relationship Education is to give young people the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds, not just intimate relationships in a secure learning environment taught by professionals. It should enable them to know what a healthy relationship looks like and what makes a good friend, a good colleague and a successful marriage or other type of committed relationship.

Effective Relationship Education does not encourage early sexual experimentation. It should teach young people to understand human sexuality and to respect themselves and others. It enables young people to mature, build their confidence and self-esteem and understand the reasons for delaying sexual activity. Effective Relationship Education also supports people, throughout life, to develop safe, fulfilling and healthy sexual relationships, at the appropriate time. Knowledge about safer sex and sexual health remains important to ensure that young people are equipped to make safe, informed and healthy choices as they progress through adult life.

Living in the wider world aims to teach our young people how to be responsible citizens and possess the skills needed for the future. Our young people will also learn about careers and other work-related learning aspects including citizenship and financial management. 

Do I have a right to withdraw my child from Life Skills?

If you do not want your child to take part in some or all of the Sex Education lessons delivered at secondary school, you can ask that they are withdrawn. The Principal will consider this request and discuss it with you.

The science curriculum in all maintained schools also includes content on human development, including reproduction, from which there is no right to withdraw children.

There are huge personal and social benefits of a young person receiving RSE education any withdrawal may have detrimental effects on the child.  This could include any social and emotional effects of being excluded, as well as the likelihood of the child hearing their peers’ version of what was said in the classes, rather than what was directly said by the teacher.

From September 2020 parents and carers cannot withdraw their child from Health Education or the Relationships Education element of Personal Development, because it is important that all children receive this content, covering topics such as friendships and how to stay safe. A young person, up until three school terms before they turn 16, can choose to receive Sex Education if they would like to, and we as a school should arrange for your child to receive this teaching in one of those three terms. 

Whilst every effort is made, sometimes relationship and sex topics can arise incidentally in other subjects, lessons and situations and it is not possible to withdraw pupils from these relatively limited and often unplanned discussions.

Links to

British Values

The Hart School actively promotes British Values through our curriculum choices and teaching and learning practices, for example challenging opinions and behaviours in lessons and through our personal development programme: tutor time, Life Skills lessons, Life and Soul days and assemblies. This ensures that students are able to distinguish right from wrong and to have some knowledge of the civil and criminal law of Britain. Students are able to build respect for the democratic processes on which law is made and applied in Britain.

As part of our approach to British Values, we take very seriously our public sector equality duty (s.149 of the Equality Act 2010) which requires us to have due regard of the need to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under that Act;
  • advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it;
  • foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.


The principle of democracy is consistently reinforced, with the democratic process being employed for important decisions within the school community, for instance, elections being held for Head Boy and Head Girl.  The principle of democracy is explored in departments like English and Humanities as well as through our Life and Soul Days and assemblies. 

The rule of law

The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Students are taught the values and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.

Individual liberty

Students are actively encouraged to make independent choices knowing that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for students to make safe choices, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education.  Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, responsibilities and personal freedoms and receive advice about how to exercise these safely, for example through our exploration of E-Safety in computing, and their Life and Soul day activities.

Mutual respect

Respect is one of our core values and is modelled by students and staff alike. The school promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning environments. In line with our commitment to democracy, students are always able to voice their opinions and we foster an environment in class where students are safe to disagree with each other. Mutual respect is embraced throughout the curriculum from the concept of ‘fair play’ in PE to our new student mentoring programme which will be launched once we are in a position following government guidance to remove year bubbles. This will promote mutual respect and support between students across different year groups within the school.

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

This is achieved through equipping students with the ability to understand their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity within the school community.  Students are actively encouraged to share their faith and beliefs within the school. Our curriculum provides a broad and balanced education on a range of faiths, religions and cultures.  This is delivered across curriculum areas, in tutor time, assemblies, and Life and Soul Days with visits from members of different faiths helping to avoid misconceptions.


At The Hart School, we recognise that the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students plays a significant part in their ability to learn and achieve. Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education (SMSC) is delivered as golden thread through all curriculum areas and in every aspect of school life.

SMSC Education is broadly split into four areas:

Spiritual: exploring beliefs and experiences; respecting values; discovering oneself and the surrounding world; using imagination and creativity; reflection.

Moral: recognising right and wrong; understanding consequences; investigating moral and ethical issues; offering reasoned views.

Social: using social skills in different contexts; working well with others; resolving conflicts; understanding how communities work.

Cultural: appreciating cultural influences; participating in cultural opportunities; understanding, accepting, respecting and celebrating diversity.

The Hart School promotes SMSC development of our students through a variety of ways including:

  • The provision of a broad, balanced and knowledge rich curriculum. Within this, teachers strive to promote opportunities whereby students are encouraged to engage with the wider world and consider and question their place within it.
  • The delivery of a bespoke Life Skills programme and Life and Soul days which enables students to discuss issues that arise in situations beyond academic and vocational study.
  • A varied assembly and weekly tutorial programme through which teachers and visitors discuss topics that help students reflect upon themes that are important in the wider world today as well as addressing local, national and global current affairs.
  • An extensive enrichment programme that includes sporting, academic, musical and cultural opportunities.
  • Links with the Wider Community.
  • Links with a range of faith groups and local places of worship are fostered.
  • The school supports the work of a variety of charities.
  • Supported by an active and well-connected governing body, the school has strong links with a wide range of businesses, employers and further / higher education providers.
  • A strong home-school agreement enables parents and teachers to work in an effective partnership to support pupils.
  • Pupils are taught to appreciate and to take responsibility for their local environment.
  • The school participates in a wide range of competitive activities including debating, maths challenges and team and individual sports.

In addition to the above, all Faculty Directors have audited their curriculum at Key Stage 3 and have identified additional opportunities to develop students’ experiences outside of the classroom through topic specific trips, educational visits, guest speakers, business and workplace experiences and other relevant activities such as theatre trips, cinema experiences, opera visits and concerts.  Each curriculum area aims to provide at least one of the above experiences, directly related to a topic being studied, for each year group, each academic year.


Over the course of their education, children spend over 7,800 hours at school. With such a huge amount of time spent in the classroom, schools provide an ideal environment for promoting good emotional wellbeing and identifying early behaviour changes and signs of mental distress. The social and emotional skills, knowledge and behaviours that young people learn in the classroom can help them to build resilience and set the pattern for how they will manage their mental health throughout their lives.

Emotional wellbeing is a clear indicator of academic achievement, success and satisfaction in later life. Evidence shows that mental health and wellbeing programmes in schools, can lead to significant improvements in children’s mental health, and social and emotional skills. Wellbeing provision in schools can also lead to reductions in classroom misbehaviour and bullying.

Student Mental Health and Wellbeing

Parents’ & Carers’ Mental Health and Wellbeing

How To Talk To Your Child About Social Media And The Internet

The internet offers huge opportunities. From a young age, children have the chance to learn, research, play games, have fun and connect with family who may not live nearby. But it’s important to help them to use the online world in a way that’s safe and positive for their mental health.

That’s why it’s good to have regular conversations about the internet and social media from a young age – it should be as ordinary as talking about the weather, the dog, or something you’ve watched on TV.

Please make use of the links below:

Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing


Can the logos be made smaller for amazon, Careers enterprise and Stoke-on-trent partnership.

On the  careers page can we add a section underneath the following sections:

Work Experience

Careers Programme 2020-21

Currently under review following Covid-19 restrictions and government guidance.

Need a section referencing LMI

Labour Market Information (LMI) Section

Labour market information is important as it tells you;

  • What jobs and skills employers are looking for
  • Which industries have vacancies and where they are
  • What education and training you need for a specific job
  • Which job areas are growing in the future, which are in decline and other statistics in their career choices and decisions.

Include images of LMI posters for Stoke-On_Trent, Black Country, Greater Birmingham and Warwickshire. (pdfs in folder)


 Careersmart is an independent and impartial careers website it aims to enable individuals to be informed and confident in their career choices and decisions.

Success at School – The best websites to find Labour Market Information


The Hart School (formerly known as Fair Oak, Hagley Park, Aelfgar Sixth Form, and Rugeley Academies) replaced Fair Oak and Hagley Park Academies in September 2016. In September 2018 the school moved to a single site on Penkridge Bank Road.

We have a dazzling array of ex-students of the school in its various incarnations, and the purpose of this page is to bring this community of wonderful Alumni together.

The purpose of our alumni community is not simply to create a list of ex-students, but to bring the current life of the school to those ex-students in all of its glory and to involve them where practicable. It will become a thriving community, which both supports and contributes to the development of the school. If you are an alumnus and would like to be part of our alumni community, please complete the form below.

For more information email: