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Personal Development

The vision of Sedgefield Community College and The Laidlaw Schools Trust is to transform the lives of children and our wider community, through inspirational education.

We recognise that in addition to providing outstanding daily learning experiences in their lessons, we must also provide a comprehensive and well-structured programme of additional learning and personal development opportunities to build the ‘cultural capital’ of our students.

Every element of the way in which our school operates is informed by our desire to support our students to achieve their full potential both during their time at Sedgefield Community College and for the rest of their lives.

However, we can identify 14 key elements of our school practice that make a particularly important contribution to the personal development of our young people:

Broad and Balanced Curriculum

All students follow an aspirational curriculum that gives them the opportunity to study a wide range of high-quality subjects, including EBacc subjects. There are also opportunities to pursue a wide range of creative and practical subjects and all students develop the digital literacy skills needed to thrive in the 21st century.

Arts Award and Cultural Enrichment

Demonstrating our commitment to the creative arts, all of our students are supported to complete the Arts Award qualification during the course of Year 9. During their time at the school, students are also given opportunities to enjoy a range of other cultural opportunities, such as theatre visits, that they may not otherwise be able to access.

Independent Learners

As part of our Inevitable Progress teaching and learning model, all students are taught how to use a series of ‘thinking tools’. Across all subjects and year groups, students become experts in the use of approaches such as de Bono’s Thinking Hats and Hyerle’s Thinking Maps. Students are given practical skills to allow them to think deeply and independently.

Literacy Excellence

Across the school, students are given the chance to employ the Reciprocal Reading approach. This allows them to learn the skills they need to extract the meaning of challenging texts. As well as the skills necessary to read well, we also foster a love for reading and appreciation of the power of books. Building vocabulary is also integral to our day-to-day practice and all staff recognise their responsibility to support students with this.

Assemblies and Thoughts for the Week

Through assemblies and thoughts for the week, we support students to think deeply and develop fundamental British values that include mutual respect and tolerance. Exploring a consistent thematic thread across a series of assemblies allows students to develop a deeper understanding of important issues that affect the world around them.

Careers Journey

Our investment in Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance has led to the school successfully achieving the Quality in Careers Mark. Our ‘Careers Journey’ also meets the eight Gatsby Benchmarks that are the nationally accepted standard for high-quality careers provision. Partnerships have also been forged with local education/training providers, employers and higher education institutions.

Educational Visits and Enrichment

We offer a wide range of educational visits and enrichment activities.  The impact of these visits and activities is maximised by being carefully integrated into our subject curriculum plans. Visits overseas and within the UK are all designed to enrich the core curriculum and provide opportunities for students to go beyond this. When planning visits and enrichment, we have a focus on raising aspiration and providing opportunities for all.

Community Engagement

There are numerous opportunities for students to represent the school in sporting or other activities. Our approach to charitable giving is driven by our student body and this is just one of the ways in which they are able to engage positively with the local and wider community.  We also have a close partnership with National Citizen Service (more details below) and large numbers of our Year 11 students volunteer to take part in their community engagement programme each year.

National Citizen Service

National Citizen Service is a national organisation that is promoted by the government and which aims to support the development of young people as active and reflective citizens who are well-rounded and equipped to make a positive contribution to society.

After leaving Year 11, students have the opportunity to take part in a programme of activities that include residential experiences. Through these activities, young people can develop their own initiative and make a positive contribution to their local community.

The aims of NCS are very well matched to our school ethos and values and we, therefore, work closely with NCS to make sure that our Year 11 students are aware of the opportunities that are available to them through NCS. During Year 11, staff from NCS speak to all students as part of our assembly programme and visit school regularly to make sure all of our students are supported to sign up and take part.

We have been extremely successful in recent years in encouraging large numbers of students to take part in NCS. We take great pride in the fact that so many of our students have chosen to join the programme and were delighted to be recognised as a ‘Champion School’ by NCS in 2016, due to the large numbers of our students taking part and also the school’s ‘proactive and positive engagement with the programme’.

For anyone interested in finding out more about what NCS has to offer, visit their website at http://www.ncsyes.co.uk

Engaging with the Wider World

We take time to encourage all of our students to engage with and reflect upon the wider world.  We recognise important events such as Black History Month, Inter-Faith Week and Diversity Week and do so in a systematic manner that is embedded into our curriculum and allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the wider world.

Habits of Mind

We ensure a common understanding of the personal qualities that we wish our young people to develop using the framework of Art Costa’s Habits of Mind. Using this structure to support us, we plan to build the personal qualities that will empower our students to thrive during their time at the school and throughout their lives.

SMSC Curriculum

Our SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) curriculum incorporates lessons relating to PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) education, including Relationships and Sex Education), Citizenship and Careers Education. Our carefully-sequenced five-year curriculum is supplemented by a series of events that create additional learning time and give students the opportunity to extend their learning in different contexts and through the input of a wide range of external experts, where this is appropriate.

 

Making Links Across the Curriculum and Debating

Using our identified cross-curricular themes and skills, students are supported to make links between their learning across academic years and subject areas. As students are encouraged to consider vital topical issues, the use of debating lessons helps to provide them with the skills and confidence necessary to articulate their views and respond to the views of others.

Personal Development Journey – The LST Challenge

Every student’s experience during their time at Sedgefield Community College will be individual to them. However, there are certain activities that will be accessed by all students in a year group, and others that will be potentially accessible to everyone.

Some activities will be offered to a specific group or groups of students in order to meet their specific needs, in terms of developing their cultural capital. Based upon this wide programme of activities, we have established our LST Challenge’ for all of our students.  There are six elements to the LST Challenge and by meeting each of these, our young people are able to build the cultural capital that they will need to thrive in school and in the future.

Attend extra-curricular enrichment programmes and activities that go beyond the core curriculum.

Represent the school in sporting, academic, community and/or cultural events.

Experience activities that promote cultural growth within the school and outside of the school setting.

Take part in activities that will develop core skills in presenting and collaboration with others.

Engage with activities that will raise aspiration and allow you to understand the education and career opportunities available to you.

Access activities that will allow students to appreciate and contribute positively to our local, national and global communities.