Curriculum Intent

Personal Development

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

To really thrive in life, alongside a strong academic foundation, students need the opportunity to develop strong character traits. At the Suthers School our goal is to help all of our students develop five vital character strengths of tenacity, optimism, respect, curiosity and hard work (TORCH). Personal development is about instilling these character strengths so they have the skills and social intelligence to have a positive impact on the world around them. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr posed the question, ‘what do we hope for when we send our children to school?’ in an essay entitled “The Purpose of Education”. His answer was ‘Intelligence, plus character – that is the true goal of education’. Therefore, the character strengths are linked to success and more importantly our own happiness. Good character strengths help to protect our mental health, set out how resilience we will be, how successful our relationships will be and how happy we are.

Our students learn, through a structured programme, how their thoughts become words and in turn will become their actions that will lead to their destiny. We place great emphasis on our Suthers School Tree so they understand that we can only truly thrive if we have the best foundations. The Personal development journey begins with a strong focus on the self and the students’ current identity. Understanding who they are and what they value, enables our students to truly asses their own foundations and in turn build upon them as they progress through KS3 and beyond. They explore the changes and challenges that they will face in their life and learn how to deal with them through practical guidance. We teach our students how to apply TORCH and use their resilience toolkit to their daily life in and out of school. Indeed, by developing our students’ self-knowledge, our curriculum enables young people to recognise the tools they have to face the challenges of life beyond school, helping them to recognise and manage risk and inspiring them to believe in a future full of possibility. Thus students truly have the power to decide who they are destined to be and do the right thing even when no-one is watching.

Our Personal Development curriculum is enhanced by our collaboration with Bounce Forward (a nationally-recognised research led charity dedicated to developing resilience in young people) and, as a Healthy Minds School, we ensure our students not only explore all of the statutory elements of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education but also have the opportunity to really investigate some of the most powerful influences on their sense of self.

The Suthers School Personal Development curriculum is carried out in timetabled lessons for all students, tutor time, assemblies and an annual programme of Personal Development Days (drop-down days). Our research-informed approach therefore empowers young people by:

Providing a carefully sequenced and responsive programme of study

Fostering and developing five key character strengths (TORCH)

Championing the importance of self-respect and personal ambition

Teaching them how to deal with the changes and challenges of life

Celebrating the potential of each and every student to be a change-maker

Guaranteeing participation in a range of local and global action projects

Embedding social action through affiliation with local and international partners including WE Schools

To access the curriculum plans for each year group, please use the links at the side of this page.

If a year group link is not available you can contact our PSHE Team at where they will get back to you with further information.