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Personal Development

Personal Development at Cardinal Newman  


The Personal Development Curriculum at Cardinal Newman Catholic School covers the following areas:

  • Fundamental British Values and Citizenship education
  • Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural education
  • Personal, Social, Health and Economic and Sex and Relationship Education
  • Careers and Living in the Wider World education
  • Catholic life
  • Student leadership
  • Extracurricular opportunities

Our school mission statement “Knowledge through the light of faith” is at the heart of all we do. It embodies our attitude and intentions towards the importance of the development of all aspects of the Personal Development curriculum.

We recognise and firmly believe that the development of pupils, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally plays a significant part not only in their ability to learn and achieve but in their ability to relate fully to, and have the ability to, access the world they live in. Spiritually, the school shares its vision of Christ’s love throughout the school community on a daily basis. These principles underpin education at Cardinal Newman and are expressed through the rich curriculum experiences that take place both within and outside the classroom. The school is a community of faith based on common Catholic values and worship which can find expression in every aspect of daily life at Cardinal Newman.

We are passionate about providing a curriculum that extends beyond the academic, technical or vocational courses that students study. We aim to:

  • Support students to develop in many diverse aspects of life
  • Teach students how to become resilient and confident in their abilities
  • Actively prepare students for adult life and the world of work
  • Provide students with many opportunities outside of the classroom (such as extracurricular activities, educational visits and social time activities)
  • Develop students to become responsible, respectful and active citizens
  • Develop students understanding of the fundamental British values of democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law and mutual respect and tolerance
  • Promote equality of opportunity so that all students thrive and understand that we are all different
  • Allow students to understand and respect the protected characteristics
  • Develop an inclusive environment that meets the needs of all students
  • Develop students’ characters and personal traits to enable them to flourish in society
  • Support student’s readiness for the next phase of education, training or employment so that pupils are equipped to make the transition effectively
  • Development of our core ASPIRE values to develop their character

Inclusivity and Social Mobility

Our support of social responsibility and personal development includes a recognition that this needs to include every single child at Cardinal Newman Catholic School. We believe that personal development is essential for social mobility – another reason why this lies at the heart of our vision. We therefore make great efforts to ensure all students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, take full advantage of our extra-curricular offer. For example:

  • Pupil Premium funding is used to provide financial support for Pupil Premium students for trips and this is tracked to ensure inclusivity
  • Disadvantaged students’ participation in extra-curricular activities is tracked and opportunities provided where there are gaps in participation rates
  • Pupil premium funding is available and used pro-actively by the AHT responsible for Pupil Premium to ensure money is not a barrier to participation if at all possible

Equally, our curriculum is built on the premise that a challenging, knowledge and word-rich curriculum delivered with the highest expectations for behaviour and academic standards will disproportionately benefit young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and is the best possible way of improving their life chances.



  • Students have a 30 minute PSHE session each week during tutor time, covering Health and Wellbeing, Living in the wider world and Relationships and sex education. Curriculum plans and overviews can be found on our school website (PSHE and RSE) to show the programme of study that students follow. Students are assessed termly, so that we can clearly identify misconceptions in understanding and tailor our programme of study to the students needs.
  • We use the TenTen programme for the relationships and sex education elements, so that lessons are delivered through the Catholic lens.
  • We have a clear and robust fortnightly pastoral programme, where students have a 30-minute session on Talking points, Student council and assembly.
  • We have a varied assembly schedule with a wide variety of topics discussed and British values and always at the centre of our assemblies. Students have an assembly once a week.
  • Talking Points is delivered through our pastoral programme and allows students to debate and discuss interesting topics. We follow the PSHE topic areas in terms of topics that are delivered (relationships, health and wellbeing, living in the wider world). We respond to the current local, national and international issues to make sure that students are aware of how to respond to and understand current issues. E.g. mental health week, social media, National careers week and anti-bullying week.
  • Students have the opportunity to hear from a wide range of external speakers, such as Holocaust survivor talk, careers events, Speakers for school talks, knife crime, Loudmouth theatre productions, First aid and many more.



SMSC/British values

  • We promote British values through our pastoral programme (talking points, PSHE, RSE and student council sessions) and also through all curriculum lessons. The subject audit can be found on our website. For example, students demonstrate democracy through our student council elections.
  • British values are highlighted to students through our PSHE and assembly rota, with students having a clear understanding of how they demonstrate each of the British values.
  • After each set of assessments, students complete a reflection during their pastoral session to develop skills of resilience and growth. This also develops their SMSC values.
  • Catholic life is key to our ethos and students are able to develop their SMSC values through many of these events
  • Students learn about different faiths and religions through their RE lessons


Catholic life

  • Collective Worship is practised every day with a weekly theme related to the gospel values and all pupils will experience one assembly per week.
  • We follow the liturgical calendar, with whole year group masses for each key event on the calendar (Lent, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, St Peter and Paul Holy days, Feast Day to celebrate our patron saint St John Henry Newman, All Saints and Advent). Students are able to develop their spiritual values through the Catholic masses.
  • We follow the Ways of the cross, along with the different MAC schools with they key focus for our school being charity.
  • Charity is at the heart of what we do and students have the opportunity to take part in charitable events, such as Food Bank, Coin collection, Shoebox appeal and the Big Sleep Out.
  • Students who have experienced bereavement are able to take part in a 12-week course called the spectrum programme, which involves group sessions to help them understand and cope with bereavement.



  • There is an abundance of extra-curricular activities at CNCS. We have a tradition of trips, including museums, theatre visits, Big Bang fair and heritage sites, which introduce our pupils to a wide and varied experience. We have a very healthy extra-curricular programme, with activities such as STEM club, origami, sports, inter tutor competitions and careers sessions, which allows all pupils at Cardinal Newman to develop a rich cultural capital.
  • Students are able to take part in a variety of sports clubs and represent their school at fixtures in netball, rugby, football.
  • We run the Bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh award, with students in Year 10 and 11 taking part


Student leadership:

  • There are numerous opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills. Students are also encouraged to respect democracy and support participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in Britain. Part of this process is the election and participation in the Student Council which meets half termly and is chaired by the headteacher and chair of governors. Student council minutes are shared via the school website and via the pastoral programme and students have an active role in how the school is run.
  • Students have the opportunity to apply for an be elected to Junior student leader roles and subject ambassadors, which enables them to lead and make change on a variety of issues.
  • Senior prefects are selected from year 11 students and the Head Boy and Head Girl who are in the 6th are selected via a recruitment process. They lead on a variety of projects within school to improve and develop the school environment.
  • Other student leadership opportunities are Reading mentors, Anti bullying ambassadors, student prefects, student librarians, tutor group assemblies, Tutor roles (talking points leader, chaplaincy rep, charity rep, sports leader, standards rep, pastoral book monitor), Faith in Action Diocesan Award, cultural diversity group, Pope John Paul II Award Diocesan Award, Duke of Edinburgh bronze and silver, Sports leaders and Head Boy and Girl.
  • Students in key stage three have the opportunity to achieve our Passport to Greatness award, which allows them to work towards achieving an award based on student leadership opportunities. This is mapped and opportunities are shared with pupils to encourage them to take part and develop their leadership skills. This is tracked and we work to ensure that under represented groups are provided with opportunities to take part in.



  • We have a community group, who work on initiatives such as Dementia coffee mornings, creative kindness, gardening and litter picking in the local area. We have been awarded the RHS level 5 gardening badge, green eco-school status and work with Warwickshire wildlife trust. Students work at the local Peace orchard, have tidied up local parks and developed the school pond as a place to develop curriculum lessons
  • We have a cultural diversity group within school who work with our other MAC secondary school to ensure that the cultural groups within our school are represented. They work on developing cultural events to celebrate difference and support students understanding of different cultures. Sixth form ambassadors have taken part in anti-racism training and are currently receiving training to go into our MAC primary schools to develop their understanding of culture and racism.



Careers information and guidance:

  • We work hard to prepare students for the next stage of life and use the eight Gatsby Benchmarks framework to ensure that students receive excellent careers advice and guidance. We implement a robust careers programme and regularly invite employers and providers in to school to meet with students.
  • All students have a 1-1 careers guidance meeting with our level 6 qualified careers advisor before they leave year 11 and another before they leave year 13. We make sure that our vulnerable students (such as SEND students) meet with our careers advisor in year 9 prior to selecting their GCSE options.
  • Students have the opportunity to consider and prepare for a variety of employment options, for example, through work experience in Year 10 and 12, CV writing and mock interviews
  • Subject areas support in preparing students to understand how the subject leads to particular careers. Students in Year 7-10 take part in our Careers across the curriculum fortnight each term to inspire students for their next stage of education and employment. Teachers regularly reference careers in their curriculum lessons.
  • We follow the Baker Clause to ensure that a range of providers have the opportunity to provide advice to students, for example through our Careers fairs and meet the employer events. We ensure that students have the opportunity to hear from Apprenticeship, technical and T level providers to ensure that students receive unbiased advice and we welcome providers approaching us to speak with students. Approximately 99% of students at the end of Year 11 go onto some form of education or training.


Other areas:

  • We have implemented our respect agenda to make sure that pupils understand the importance of respect and are actively encouraged to develop this
  • We have a mental health agenda and encourage students through PSHE and assemblies to have strategies to develop their mental healthiness
  • The school has two trained counsellors who work with students and enable them to develop strategies to improve their mental health.
  • We actively take part in mental health week and use student voice to understand student’s wellbeing.
  • We are a UCL Beacon School for Holocaust Education and invite Holocaust survivors into school and we are committed to enhancing teaching and learning about the Holocaust.
  • We have been awarded the Coventry Peace and Reconciliation Award, which shows our commitment towards fostering peace.  Students regularly visit and contribute towards the Peace Orchard at a local park and contribute towards the local community, through our community initiatives