Our personal development curriculum ensures that all children embody the school values of achieve, belong and participate.
Achieve – We support the children’s development at their appropriate age and stage to enable them to be successful and happy:
Belong – We ensure that our children feel part of a community:
Participate – We ensure that children engage in all areas of the curriculum:
We provide our children with a high-quality PSHE curriculum through Jigsaw PSHE. Every child has specific PSHE lessons each week as well as circle time and other opportunities to discuss personal, social and health matters. In Nursery and Reception, PSHE is part of the PSED prime area of learning as children are provided with the necessary skills they need to build relationships, discuss and understand their emotions and learn personal hygiene skills.
Emotional and mental health is a real priority at our school, especially following the impact of COVID-19 on our children and families. Through our PSHE curriculum we ensure that children understand the range of emotions and equip them with skills to deal with these in their daily lives. All classrooms have daily well-being check in stations where children have the opportunity to reflect on their emotions and indicate to their adults how they are feeling. This then enables staff to have conversations with children about how they are feeling as soon as they arrive and after key transition times which means children do not have to dwell on their emotions throughout the day. We complete Thrive assessments and run Thrive interventions to support children who may have issues with areas like their self-esteem. We also work closely with our families to support mental health outside of school too.
We have a member of staff who is a trained ELSA and members of staff who have completed youth mental health training.
Our positive behaviour policy works alongside our belief in the importance of good mental health. We believe in the importance of having a culture of praise and addressing the unacceptable behaviours presented by the child rather than the child themselves. We hold restorative justice conversations with children to provide them with the skills to deal with triggering situations more calmly and effectively which are deep rooted in emotion coaching practices.
Assemblies are an important aspect of our Personal Development curriculum. They give us an opportunity to discuss our school values and attributes as a collective so that children are able to see the importance that these have on our daily lives. We are also able to address areas of the PSHE curriculum that are pertinent to all children such as NSPCC PANTS, online safety and anti-bullying. Through our assemblies we are also able to highlight and teach children about British Values. We are also able to celebrate our achievements.
British Values enable children to feel part of a community and understand the country that we live in more. The values allow the children to develop their character and become effective citizens. We cover the British Values in our assemblies and ensure that there is clear understanding of the vocabulary. We also learn about them through our Picture News lessons where children learn more about the world we live in and are able to see the British Values in a context.
British Values are an important part of learning about equality and diversity. We want to ensure that our children understand how diverse our country is and why the British Values are important.
Another aspect of our Personal Development curriculum is the opportunities that we provide the children. We want to make sure that the children are presented with as diverse a range of experiences as possible to ensure that they have the cultural capital to make informed choices and to be successful and happy in the future. We ensure that there are trips planned into our curriculum, for example, visits to the theatre to see a pantomime and a history trip to Hooke Court. We invite visitors into our school to enrich our curriculum, for example, Jungle Nick with his insects and spiders to complement our learning on jungle animals. We also provide children with a range of activities within school to ensure that children are studying an engaging curriculum, for example, making samosas as part of an RE unit of learning.
Alongside enrichment within school, we also provide extracurricular opportunities for our children. There is a wide range of clubs available to children from Reception onwards. For example, we provide golf, football, performing arts, science, reading, language and eco clubs. Our aim is to provide a variety of clubs to interest all children and to also encourage children to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. As well as chosen extracurricular clubs, we also provide targeted clubs to those children who are either disadvantaged or require extra support with areas of the curriculum. This may take the form of specific clubs such as phonics club before school or financial support for those children who are unable to access clubs otherwise. We also aim to involve the local community in our clubs which further supports our value of belonging.
Community is vital as it links so closely to our values of belonging and participating. We want our children to feel part of a community within school, whether that is through being part of their class or through membership of clubs or councils. At Orchard Grove we have a school council who are an invaluable link to the pupil voice and have an impact on developments and decisions within the school. We also have an Eco School Council who ensure that the school is doing everything that it can for the environment – recycling, litter picking in the local area, reducing our energy consumption and building habitats for insects. They will be working towards the Eco Schools bronze award.
At Orchard Grove, we also have a PTA group who fundraise for the school and provide brilliant opportunities for the school and community such as seasonal fairs, family discos and pre-loved book fairs. Events involve staff, families and community members which links to our values of belonging and participating.
In addition to this, we also have strong links with the community through events with the local library, the local churches and the town council. This helps us with our curriculum but also ensures that our school and families feel like an important part of Taunton itself.
At Orchard Grove we have four houses headed by important contemporary and historical figures – David Attenborough, Mary Jackson, Michael Faraday and Caroline Herschel. These figures support the character development element of our personal development curriculum. We want to provide children with a range of aspirational and diverse role models which link closely with our curriculum and our school values. These houses enable children to feel part of a group outside of their class. They work hard to gain house points for showing our school attributes (resilience, positivity, engagement, respectfulness, responsibility and rising to challenges) and celebrate as a team at the end of each half term. We also have whole school events where children work across year groups, for example, Sports Day, Tri-Science week, art projects with our feeder secondary school, etc.
Equality and Diversity is integral to our Personal Development curriculum. Across the subject areas, knowledge is chosen to highlight equality and diversity at every opportunity. For example, learning about women’s roles in the 1940s; learning about Mary Seacole as well as Florence Nightingale; and learning about a broad range of artists from around the world. Our resources are chosen carefully to reflect the diverse nature of this country, especially as this may not be evident in every classroom. We celebrate diversity, whether this is through the different languages spoken by children and staff or studying and celebrating world celebrations and festivals to ensure acceptance and tolerance is present. In particular, our RE curriculum focuses on a different religion each half term and also a different aspect, for example, celebrations, icons or beliefs, so that at the end of KS2, children will have a broad understanding of the beliefs of lots of different people around the world. With this education we hope to develop tolerant citizens of the future, locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Citizens who not only exist within their communities, but who give back and add value to their communities too.