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Personal Development in United Learning Schools: Part 1

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

We recently held a webinar ‘Personal Development in United Learning Secondary Schools’, where we hosted some brilliant guest speakers who were all leading on personal development within their schools. The idea was for schools within UL to share their PD ideas and initiatives, and allow other Leaders to ‘magpie’ anything they felt could also work for their school and students.

“Real Leadership is about where you see those great things working for you” Ben Antell (United Learning Regional Director).

Personal Development at The Regis

Caroline Saunders, Assistant Principal at The Regis School opened the webinar. When looking at their Aspirations data, they found that 44% of students wanted to know more about current affairs. Therefore they adapted their PSHE programme to incorporate this topic in more depth.

Caroline also spoke about how the Regis School had aligned the tutor programme with both the OFSTED criteria and the ‘Regis 10’, 10 characteristics promoted throughout the school, such as respect, positivity and determination.

The Regis found Aspirations a useful tool for student voice, discovering that students wanted to become more organised and take part in more extracurricular activities. The data also helps the planning of themed weeks such as their annual food drive, where all students take part in donating two tonnes of food.

“We’re really working hard to make sure that our students leave us as responsible, respectful and active citizens, ready for adult life” Caroline Saunders (Assistant Principal at The Regis School)

Personal Development at Walthamstow Academy

The next guest speaker was Dan Seed, Vice Principal from Walthamstow Academy. Dan talked about how they used their Aspirations data to improve student wellbeing.

Walthamstow used the data to prioritise their students into three categories, all with different needs, and adapt their approach accordingly. For example, where a group of Y7 students were identified as feeling generally unhappy, their Heads of Year organised an Art Therapy group, which proved to be especially successful, resulting in a notable improvement in their wellbeing scores.

Dan & his team also designed a 12-week scheme of work for PSHE lessons, around issues such as anxiety post-lockdown. The idea of these sessions was to improve students’ ability to independently manage their wellbeing, addressing worries about falling behind academically and including reflective activities such as understanding the nature of happiness.

“We actually found out some really important things that led to some children being safer” Dan Seed (Vice Principal at Walthamstow Academy)

If you would like to know more about the Aspirations programme, please do get in touch. Check back soon for Part 2!

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