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The North School

Personal Development

Subject Overview

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” (Charles R. Swindall)


A high-quality Values education helps to provide pupils with knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society. To embrace the challenges of creating a happy and successful adult life, pupils need knowledge that will enable them to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships and to build their self-efficacy. Pupils can also put this knowledge into practice as they develop the capacity to make sound decisions when facing risks, challenges and complex contexts. Everyone faces difficult situations in their lives and the curriculum can support young people to develop resilience, to know how and when to ask for help, and to know where to access support.

Key Stage Three - RSE

Years 7 , 8 and 9 follow a scaffolded curriculum; study of the six main topics is designed around a key question specific to each year group.  The key (or big) questions allow students to build on previous learning and develop their knowledge and application of skills,  Big questions are shown on the overview below and some of the key topics studied in the term to solve them are in italics beneath:



Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

1 - Being Me in My World

How do I fit into the world I live in?

Influences, peer pressure and online identity

Can I choose how I fit into the world?

Family, first impressions, faith and belief

To what extent does the world I live in affect my identity?

Peer approval, risks and consent

2 - Celebrating Difference

Do we need to feel the same to belong?

Prejudice, discrimination and equality

How different are we really?

Prejudice and discrimination, inequality, and bullying

Is being different a good thing?

Understanding difference, the positive power of language and bullying

3 - Dreams and Goals

Can my choices affect my dreams and goals?

Responsible and irresponsible choices, coping strategies

Can the choices I make now influence my future?

What money can’t buy; online safety; the price of life

What do I dream of becoming?

The power of planning; mental health and ill-health; media manipulation and mental health

4 - Healthy Me

To what extent am I responsible for my mental and physical health?

Making healthy choices; managing stress and anxiety

Can I become more responsible for my health and happiness?

Managing stress; substance misuse and exploitation; medicines and immunisation 

How can substances impact on wellbeing?

Use and effect of substances; alcohol; life saving skills

5 - Changing Me

How do I feel about becoming an adult?

Relationships, image and self-esteem

What factors can make an intimate relationship happy and healthy?

Types of relationships; feelings; risks to healthy relationships

How can change affect mental health?

Resilience; the importance of sleep; change and our emotions

6 - Relation- ships

What can make a relationship healthy or unhealthy?

Supportive relationships; getting on and falling out

Because I’m worth it … or am I?

Being in control in relationships and online; managing control and coercion

Can relationships ever be equal?

Power, assertiveness and contraception

Key Stage Three -  Citizenship

At Key Stage 3,  students explore the following topics in their Citizenship studies:


Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

1 - UK Government

To gain a basic understanding of the structure and workings of the UK parliament, including understanding the terms democracy and free speech

To explore the system of government in the UK;  understand the difference between government and parliament; understand that there are different forms of governance across the world

To gain an understanding of voting systems in the UK and the history of our right to vote; understand the function of the monarch and how this has changed over time; explore the role of local government and its officials

2 - Being an active citizen

What it means to be a citizen; the difference between active and global citizens.  

The importance of upholding and using our right to vote; to consider if elections always fair; to explore the ways in which we can all become involved in politics

To develop an understanding of how parliament works (including law making); how individuals cast votes and the information they may use to decide who to vote for.

3 - The precious liberties enjoyed by the citizens of the UK

The rights every human should have and those we would we define as precious; defining discrimination and equality; explaining the benefits we believe there should be when living in a free and equal society

What the word ‘liberty’ really means;  what our world would look like without these liberties;  what life might be like in countries where these precious liberties are not upheld.

To debate issues of workplace discrimination.  To debate the concept of freedom of expression. To consider how we might be affected by workplace discrimination

4 - rules, laws and the justice system

To explore what a ‘law’ is and why laws exist.  To understand the differing roles of police officers and PCSOs. To understand how to report a crime.

To explore what happens when a suspect is arrested for a crime.  To explore the different ways in which a young offender and adult offender may be treated.

What roles do citizens of the UK have in preventing crimes?  What role do/can we play in creating new laws?  How do laws change over time?  To explore the role and responsibilities of a judge.

5 - the role played by public institutions, voluntary groups and individuals to improve their communities

To consider how we can be citizens of more than one community; begin to analyse whether we are good/active citizens; explore the ways in which we could become active citizens in our school and community

To explore the ways in which being an active global citizen can benefit our communities; understand the role of governments as global citizens;  understand the worldwide role of institutions and charities.

Local and national charities and how they are financed; the role of the volunteer locally, nationally and worldwide,  To understand the benefits to my community and myself should I become a volunteer.

6 - The functions and uses of money (incl. the importance of budgeting)

To consider the role of money in our society.  To begin to understand the purpose of budgeting, creating a weekly budget for food.

Develop our understanding of the importance  of budgeting; understand the risks of not budgeting; explore the dangers and advantages of credit, debit and loan agreements.

The dangers of debt and gambling.  To begin to understand how the government uses the money we earn (including international aid).  To understand the functions of a bank account and the advantages and disadvantages of taking credit.

Key Stage Four - RSE

At Key Stage Four the scaffolding of the RSE curriculum continues, with students building on prior knowledge and learning as they prepare to enter the adult world:


Year 10

Year 11

1 -  Being Me In My World

Is managing my online and offline world within my control?

The Human Rights Act, loss and bereavement, managing my online safety

Are we in the adult world at 16?

Ages of responsibility, and why they exist; getting help with relationships issues; defining abusive relationships; the Equality Act

2 - Celebrating Difference (Yr 10)

Being Me In My World (Yr 11)

Does difference result in inequality?

Hidden disabilities, dealing with workplace bullying; the physical and mental consequences of unequal treatment of individuals 

Are we in the adult world at 16?

Threats to online safety; coping in emergency situations; the importance of self-examination; the rights, laws and responsibilities which will affect us as adults

3 - Dreams and Goals

Is success only possible when physical and emotional needs are in balance?

Developing coping strategies; knowing how to relax and achieve balance and learning how to set achievable goals (including health goals)

Do I need luck/destiny, or should I rely on myself to achieve my goals?

Using  skill sets to reach achievable goals; planning to overcome barriers to success; understanding the importance of personal attributes in achieving goals

4 - Healthy Me

When it comes to health, to what extent am I in control?

Common threats to health, including substances and over-the-counter medicines; personal responsibilities in relation to health; the risks and laws associated with substance abuse

Should relationships, sex and sexual health be discussed more openly?

Managing anxiety levels, stress levels and sleep; consent in sexual relationships; managing the risk of STIs; strategies to manage sexual pressures

5 - Changing Me

Can all change be positive in some way?

Understanding that change is inevitable; the risks involved with exploring sexual identity; the relationship between physical change, self-esteem and emotional change

6 - Relationships

Is love all you need?

Consequences of ending a relationship; the importance of the relationship with oneself; impacts and benefits of positive relationships; the benefits of connectedness

Key Stage Four - Citizenship


Year 10

Year 11

Parliamentary democracy and the key elements of the constitution of the UK.

Defining the powers of the UK government and drawing distinctions between the houses of Lords and Commons; understanding the powers citizens have to hold a government to account; the importance of a free press in a democracy

To identify, understand and celebrate difference in the UK

Assessing the ways in which the UK is a multicultural society; exploring regional and national diversity, understanding how multiculturalism can enhance life.

What actions can UK citizens take in democratic and electoral processes?

Voting systems, exercising the right to vote (including proxy and postal voting); the importance of exercising the right to vote; registering to vote and casting votes

How can citizens contribute to the improvement of their communities?

Evaluating our own community; understanding where community volunteering is beneficial; the benefits of community volunteering to the volunteer; other ways to participate in supporting our communities


What other systems and forms of government both democratic and non-democratic, exist beyond the UK?

Democratic and non-democratic governance; advantages and disadvantages of living in a democratic and non-democratic state, including the rights of the individual;  the concept of a life without these rights

Income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, saving and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent

Credit and debt; savings schemes, investments and pensions; financial services offered by banks; the purpose and importance of insurance schemes


Local, regional and international governance and the UK’s relations with the rest of Europe, the Commonwealth, the UN and the wider world

Local, regional and devolved government; the role of the Queen; the Commonwealth and how it is governed; the role of the UN and institutions such as WHO

Income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, saving and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent (cont’d)

The difference between credit and debt; savings schemes, investments and pensions; financial services offered by banks; the purpose and importance of insurance schemes


Human rights and international 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Human Rights Act of 1998; how human rights are protected; how human rights are protected under international law


The legal system in the UK, different sources of law and how the law helps society deal with complex problems

The criminal and county court systems; roles of authority in court; the role of the jury;  Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Legal Aid; exploring whether the role of the law is solely to punish the criminal