Personal Development


Our Personal Development Curriculum is tailored specifically to meet the needs of our local context whilst at the same time equipping pupils with the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to partake in the evolving 21st century world.  RE, RSE, PSHE, CEIAG and fundamental British Values are delivered through a combination of timetabled lessons, a Form Tutor and assembly programme, plus a series of drop-down days, which frequently emphasise cross curricular links across a wide range of subjects.

Social and personal development are at the heart of its design, with discussion, self-expression and the promotion of tolerance and respect being key aspects of the curriculum. Providing opportunities for pupils to develop confidence, resilience and knowledge to stay mentally and physically healthy are also included and developed in topics such as ‘Physical health and fitness’ and ‘Healthy relationships’ and OCR Sport.

The inappropriate use of mobile technology and social media is reinforced through the ICT curriculum as well as being emphasised and revisited in our tutor time and assembly programme, promoting for example national ‘Safer Internet Day’ across the academy and key stages.

Religious Studies is embedded throughout Key Stage 3, with pupils able to explore the religions of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism in order to develop skills of reflection, respect and tolerance. Religious quotes are woven into schemes of learning such as ‘Evil and Suffering’ and are interpreted alongside some religious practices and core beliefs. A key question approach is adopted where possible to allow pupils to engage in an enquiry-based learning; appraising varied responses to key questions such as, ‘Why is there suffering?’ or ‘Is death the end?’ as well as allowing pupils to develop responses of their own. We also examine peace and conflict in the world today to ensure pupils have a better understanding of the issues facing the world. Religious Studies is key in helping pupils understand the aim of and need for reward and punishment. We do this through our ‘Crime and Punishment’ topic, which looks at the court system in the UK as well as the role of the individual.

We are fully committed to inspiring our students and raising the aspirations of those who attend the academy. As a result, we are working to ensure that our Careers Programme provides sufficient scope to achieve all eight of The Gatsby Benchmarks, working alongside organizations such as CareersInc, HEPPSY and the Careers and Enterprise Company. This year we are offering students visits to employers, universities and post-16 providers, alongside tutor time activities, assemblies and ‘careers cafes’ in school in order to raise these aspirations and allow the following benchmarks to be met: 

  1. A stable careers programme
  2. Learning from career and labour market information
  3. Addressing the needs of each pupil
  4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
  5. Encounters with employers and employees 
  6. Experiences of workplaces 
  7. Encounters with further and higher education 
  8. Personal guidance

Our RSE curriculum provision gives due regard to the DfE’s statutory guidance on Sex and Relationship Education as well as focusing in more detail on issues most relevant to pupils in our local context. Specific needs, as they arise are responded to and incorporated into our planning. We bring in an agency called Spectrum to deliver bespoke sessions to meet the specific needs of our pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11. Pupils are taught about key topics such as teenage pregnancy, consent, STIs & contraception, healthy relationships and domestic abuse. Year 7 and 8 are taught RSE in RE lessons at the end of year 7 and 8. In KS3 we focus more on changes taking place in their bodies and attitudes, as well as what to expect during puberty.

The Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development of our pupils has always been at the heart of the education offered in Darton Academy. The Academy’s approach to SMSC is embedded in the ethos of mutual respect, partnership working and collaboration; an approach that we believe is fundamental to a full and positive participation in life in modern Britain.

Broad PSHE themes are delivered throughout each academic year and revisited so that they can be reinforced and developed over the years:

  • Relationships and Risk Diversity
  • Identity and Careers Rights & Responsibilities
  • Aspirations and Power,
  • Healthy Lifestyles and British Values

Examples of how fundamental British Values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs are actively promoted across the Academy include:

  • Weekly year group assemblies led by academy leaders or guest speakers
  • Student Voice activities
  • Student Council and Barnsley Youth Council.
  • Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) lessons.
  • Religious Education and life topics
  • Healthy schools’ initiatives
  • Cross curricular initiatives
  • Curriculum links where appropriate
  • After school clubs and enrichment activities
  • Charity work
  • Sporting events
  • Links with the wider community including ‘Plastic Free Friday’
  • Educational trips and visits and other opportunities for learning outside the classroom
  • Pledge System
  • Theatre and drama group presentations
  • Memorial Garden and Student Memorial