Personal Development Curriculum
Scholars have access to an extensive and inclusive personal development curriculum delivered by both staff and external agencies to ensure that we encourage growth and improve knowledge, understanding and the skills every scholar requires for personal safeguarding. We plan and consistently challenge scholars to think about safeguarding in all aspects of personal, physical and emotional wellbeing. Scholars have had access to work around online safety, mental health, bullying and healthy relationships in the first term of 2020/2021 across the whole Academy. Further sessions will involve topics such as FGM and involve the development of a Scholar Friendly Safeguarding Policy.
A significant part of the personal development curriculum takes place daily in form time and allows scholars to debate and have a voice on key current affairs, issues that affect them the most, as well as ensuring SMSC, British values and Prevent are taught. The Votes for Schools programme supports the personal development curriculum and allows pupils to develop tolerance, understand, respect and have empathy for others whilst improving oracy and the ability to formulate persuasive statements to contribute to classroom debates. Scholars follow a detailed curriculum plan which incorporates drop down days, national initiatives, fundraising actives, STEAM, amongst many more, which allow scholars to engage in a large range of activities. This multifaceted approach to personal development allows scholars to develop a range of skills as well ensuring the personal development curriculum is knowledge rich.
In January 2020, scholars had the opportunity to apply and be a part of the pupil council to give scholars a voice and be a significant part of the academy as it grows and progresses. Scholars could apply for a specific council of interest (environmental, community, safeguarding, fundraising, anti-bullying or sport) as well as applying to be Head pupil. This process allowed scholars to develop their application form writing skills and understand the responsibilities of representing Astrea and their fellow scholars. Due to COVID-19 the momentum created from the applications, assemblies and scholar presentations as part of the Head pupil process has been affected, therefore a re-launch will take place in 2020-2021 academic year.
The academy has a firm commitment to consistently promoting the extensive personal development of scholars to ensure preparation for adult life. We go beyond the expected, so that scholars have access to a wide, rich set of experiences. Scholars have access to activities through the elective programme such as skateboarding, circus skills and art. This has been evaluated and adapted for 2020-21 given the growing nature of the academy, with each year group having an elective on a different afternoon – this allows for full usage of the academy facilities. Looking forward, the academy will implement the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
The academy believes in and provides the highest quality pastoral care. Each scholar meets with their form tutor for a minimum of 45 minutes per day to allow for deep, supportive relationships to be formed. This ensures that all scholars have a member of staff who acts as a key worker and communicates between home and school. Tutors and the pastoral team also give additional time and support to scholars as and when they need it so scholars feel safe and happy at Astrea.
Mental Health & Wellbeing of Scholars
At Astrea Academy Sheffield we understand that mental health and well-being is crucial for nurturing happy, thriving, successful scholars and staff. Mental health and well-being is equally as important as physical health and we ensure that our academy ethos and culture encourages our community to value the importance of personal and academic well-being.
Our duty at Astrea Academy Sheffield is to ensure that we continue to promote positive mental health and well-being amongst our scholars. We care that our scholars are able to understand and express their feelings with confidence and demonstrate emotional resilience on a daily basis, supporting their learning and personal development.
At Astrea Academy Sheffield, we are committed to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and well-being. We continue to raise awareness across our school community; scholars, parents/carers and staff are developing a deeper understanding of what issues young people face, nationally and locally and we work hard to provide the adequate levels of support for any scholar who appears to be suffering with mental health issues. In a scholar survey that took place in October 2020, the majority of scholars answered either strongly agree or agree to the following statement, “My school encourages me to look after my emotional and mental health”.
How do we promote positive mental health and well-being in the academy?
Promoting scholar positive mental health and well-being is at the heart of our academy ethos. At Astrea Academy Sheffield we:
- Have an all-through approach to positive mental health and well-being that incorporates a commitment to high expectations and continuous support for scholars and staff.
- Our curriculum is designed to build scholars’ knowledge, confidence and emotional resilience which aims to develop happy, well-rounded young citizens that are prepared for the challenges of the future.
- Have a highly committed staff community that promote positive mental health and well-being and provide high levels of support to every scholar, every day.
How do we support our scholars’ mental health and well-being?
At Astrea Academy Sheffield, we value the importance of regular routines and high expectations that supports positive mental health and well-being. We know that good attendance and active engagement in lessons are crucial for supporting and managing positive mental health. Furthermore, the academy offers the following additional services that support and develop our scholars’ mental health and well-being:
- A robust pastoral system in which form tutors and pastoral year leaders are trained to identify behaviour changes that could signify problems in a scholars’ mental health and are always available to offer support and guidance where required.
- A detailed personal development curriculum linking to assemblies and form time activities which involves raising awareness and understanding of positive mental health and well-being. This helps provide scholars with strategies on supporting positive mental and emotional health. The personal development curriculum is designed to develop our scholars’ self-confidence, resilience and their ability to learn.
- A Designated Leader for Mental Health who oversees the support and guidance for scholar positive mental health and well-being. This key role ensures that all staff in school are well equipped for supporting our scholars’ mental health and well-being through regular training and updates.
- Valuable links with external agencies and local support, e.g. CAMHS & MAST, which are key to providing interventions to individuals who require support with their mental health and wellbeing.
Scholars have had access to a large range of extra-curricular activities, relative to the size of the staff body (COVID within a tier 3 area has prevented this during 2020-21). All teachers, including some associate staff, provide enriching and enjoyable activities outside of school hours. These include Warhammer club, rock climbing, a newly formed basketball team. The academy has a successful girl’s debating team who reached the national finals and also has a finalist in the ‘Poetry by Heart’ completion where winners present on stage in London.
Other enriching sports include a cross-country team who entered the Sheffield federation for school sport competitions; active engagement with Totally Runable Girls and sport pledge to increase opportunities for girls in sport; yoga & life skills lessons within the curriculum for targeted groups to develop teamwork and resilience.
Careers Education is a real strength at Astrea Academy Sheffield. 100% of Year 7 and Year 8 would have engaged with at least 2 Higher Education establishments by the end of the 2020 academic year with almost all scholars finding sessions that have been delivered to date useful or very useful. Scholars as young as 12 are now able to see first-hand what their University education could look like. Sessions are planned again for this academic year to be delivered by the Higher Education Progression Partnership.
Children as young as 3 are exposed to a range of jobs that they could then take into provision and develop into their role play. This includes visits from chefs, builders and animal specialists.
100% of scholars across the academy would have at least one encounter with an employee/employer by the end of the 2020 academic year. This is now being adapted to meet the demands of the current pandemic. Promoting diversity and challenging stereotypes is a key element of careers programme. Working with local enterprise advisers who understand our area, our diversity and our families is key to the success of this approach.
A developing SRE programme, promoting positive relationships, respect and the importance of mental health across the whole school is supported by a working party of parents and staff.