The personal development of students is at the heart of the school’s mission and ethos. Our personal development provision is outstanding with a high quality and well-structured personal development curriculum, which extends beyond academic and vocational. Students experience a truly holistic education in the broadest sense, with fantastic opportunities both within and outside of the classroom. As an inclusive, highly performing Catholic School, our aim is to enhance the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all of our students.   

All students in Years 7 to 13 receive weekly Personal Development lessons on a Friday morning. The Personal Development curriculum at KS3 and KS4 covers six topics each year. These topics are taught at an age-appropriate level, which covers all statutory guidance and lessons are delivered by Form Tutors who we feel know the students best and are best placed to deliver and explore such sensitive topics. The six topics covered each year are: 

  • Rights, Responsibilities and British Values
  • Celebrating Diversity and Equality
  • Relationships and Sex Education
  • Staying Safe, Online and Offline
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Life Beyond School (CEIAG)

The Personal Development curriculum at KS5 covers the following four topics each year: 

  • Knowing the world 
  • Entering the world 
  • Preparing for the world 
  • Being in the world 


The intent of the Personal Development curriculum is to support and prepare students for life in the modern world. At St Mary’s, students are given opportunities to develop their character and we guide them to become confident, resilient and independent young people. Our aim is for our students to develop into kind, respectful young adults who have a good moral compass and who are active citizens who have a positive impact in the wider world. Our students develop an understanding of British Values such as democracy, mutual respect and tolerance of those who have difference beliefs, opinions and faiths to themselves. They engage with discussions and debates in a considered and respectful way, they show respect for the different protected characteristics. In all aspects of school life, equality and diversity are celebrated and promoted. Students are taught to understand, appreciate, respect and celebrate differences in the world.  

Alongside high quality care and pastoral support, our students are taught how to stay physically and mentally healthy. They have a good understanding of the things that can impact their health in a negative way, the things that promote good health and where to go for support should they need it. Students are also taught how to keep themselves safe online and in the ever-changing world of technology. They have a good understanding of potential risks online and know how to keep themselves safe from danger. With regard to relationships, we aim for our students to have a good understanding of positive relationships, but also to understand how to recognise negative relationships and what to do when faced with relationship challenges.  

 In addition to our comprehensive Personal Development taught curriculum, students are given extensive opportunities for personal development across all aspects of school life. Each morning during form time, students explore and reflect upon the theme of the week and weekly assemblies build upon these themes further. Awareness weeks throughout the year allow us to really focus on key areas in more detail.  

The school’s ethos inspires our work at periods of time such as Advent and Lent, with the central Gospel message of ‘love your neighbour’ at heart of students’ development. Students are inspired by the behaviours modelled to them by our staff team who live this out in their daily care for students and one another. The school’s ethos is built around our genuine belief that all students are unique, with their own God-given gifts and talents. Everyone’s uniqueness is celebrated. St Mary’s is blessed to have students and staff from range of faith, ethic, socio-eco backgrounds, as well as from different genders, sexual orientations and SEND. The school is proud to celebrate our diversity.  

 We have excellent safeguarding provision across the school, with outstanding daily pastoral work from the Pastoral Team, as well as school counsellors, school nurse and other external agencies.  

Students are offered a vast range of wider opportunities including subject clubs and extra-curricular clubs, music ensembles/choirs, sports teams and clubs, art/drama enrichment, educational visits and residential trips. All of our students take part in fundraising events and acts of service throughout the school year. Our Sixth Form students participate in the Sixth Form Leadership Scheme in which they all provide service to our wider community by participating and leading in different areas of school life.  

Our behaviour climate is excellent and we have high expectations of our students. This encourages our students to have high ambitions and aspirations for themselves and their future.  

Students across all year groups receive high quality careers education, information and guidance allowing them to successfully progress in the next stage of their educational/employment. Students understand the range of career and education opportunities available to them and what they need to achieve to succeed. They are given opportunities to encounter different careers and employers at our yearly career fair. From Year 7, they explore and develop the skills needed for the world of work and further education such as communication skills and teamwork skills.  Sixth Form students receive excellent support with the UCAS process, apprenticeships and work placements. Further information regarding CEIAG can be found in the Careers section of the website.  



Here is an overview of Personal Development at St Mary’s:

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