Personal Development


The Personal Development Curriculum (PDC) at COPA centres around providing all pupils with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to successfully manage their lives now and in the future. Through the PDC, pupils develop the qualities and attributes needed to lead healthy, happy lives and to be independent, informed, active and responsible individuals, family members and members of society.

Our PDC includes the teaching and learning of:

  • Personal, Social, Health & Economic (PSHE) Education;
  • Relationships & Health Education (RHE); 
  • Personal, Social and Physical Education (PSPE);*
  • Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural (SMSC) education;
  • British Values;
  • Cultural Capital (refer also to CC statement);
  • Human Rights;
  • IB Learner Profile attributes


We follow a programme of study from the PSHE Association which sets out learning opportunities for each key stage across three core themes:

  • Relationships, including age-appropriate sex education (refer also to RHE policy)
  • Health & Wellbeing (physical & mental)
  • Living in the Wider World

The programme of study fully covers, but is not limited to, the current statutory requirements. Our curriculum map incorporates these learning opportunities into a question-based model, with sequenced and progressive teaching throughout each year group. Themes are revisited, in order to build on previous learning and deepen children’s understanding. The sequence of learning also reflects feedback from staff, parents and pupils and is adapted when necessary in order to continue to meet the needs of the school community.


In the IB Primary Years Programme, PSPE is concerned with the individual’s well-being through the promotion and development of concepts, knowledge, attitudes and skills that contribute to this well-being. Well-being is intrinsically linked to all aspects of a student’s experience at school and beyond. It encompasses physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and social health and development, and contributes to an understanding of self, to developing and maintaining relationships with others, and to participation in an active, healthy lifestyle.

SMSC education

Children are taught and encouraged to:

  • Explore beliefs and experience; respect faiths, feelings and values; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world; use imagination, creativity and reflection (Spiritual Development)
  • Recognise right and wrong; respect the law; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views (Moral Development)
  • Use a range of social skills; participate in the local community; appreciate diverse viewpoints; participate, volunteer and cooperate; resolve conflict; engage with the ‘British values’ of democracy, the rule of law, liberty, respect and tolerance (Social Development)
  • Appreciate cultural influences; appreciate the role of Britain’s parliamentary system; participate in culture opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity (Cultural Development)

British Values

Our PDC promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs, by teaching pupils to:

  • Understand how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process;
  • Appreciate that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is
    essential for their wellbeing and safety;
  • Understand that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary;
  • Understand that freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;
  • Accept that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour; 
  • Understand the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination.

IB Learner Profile

Pupils are taught the importance of 10 key attributes and are encouraged to become:

  • Inquirers – developing their natural curiosity and a passion for discovery
  • Knowledgeable – developing understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines
  • Thinkers – applying thinking skills critically and creatively
  • Communicators – expressing ideas and information confidently and creatively
  • Principled – acting with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect
  • Open-minded – understanding their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities
  • Caring – showing empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others
  • Risk-takers – approaching unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought
  • Balanced – understanding the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others
  • Reflective – giving thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experiences


Personal Development is taught through discrete sessions for a minimum of 1 hour per week in years 1-6, with opportunities to enhance the learning through other subjects and events.

A wide range of teaching methods are used that enable pupils to actively participate in their own learning. This includes the use of quizzes, case studies, research, role-play, video, small group discussion and use of appropriate guest speakers or educational visits. Teaching resources are selected on the basis of their appropriateness to pupils. Teaching is conducted in a safe learning environment through the use of ground rules and distancing techniques so that pupils are not put on the spot or expected to discuss their own personal issues in class. Teaching is differentiated depending on the needs of individuals or cohorts of pupils, with particular consideration given to the needs of vulnerable pupils.

In order to embed children’s learning from discrete sessions, we operate a whole school approach to PD and explore a range of topics through assemblies and other whole school activities. PD is also explored within many other subject areas, particularly Science, PE and RE.

All of our pupils are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum, contributing fully to the life of the school and the wider community. In doing so, pupils learn to recognise their own worth, develop a sense of their own identity and the ability to take their place in the community as well as respect and work with others. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on their experiences and to recognise how they are developing personally and socially, addressing the spiritual, social, moral and cultural issues that form an intrinsic part of growing up.

Cultural Capital

In order to provide children with the essential knowledge that they need to prepare them for future success and give them the best possible start to their early education, we offer a rich and varied curriculum that builds on and values the experiences and cultures of our children and their families. 

We create aspiration by introducing children to the best models and examples, and promote an appreciation of human creativity and achievement. 


While we are not able to assess the long-term impact of the PDC on individual pupils’ future lives as adults, we will monitor and assess progress throughout each year, to ensure that they are developing the intended knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes.

Through monitoring, lesson observations, learning walks and discussions with staff and pupils, school leaders will ensure:

  • Children are learning the content outlined in the PDC
  • Pupils are prepared for their next stage of education or working life
  • The PDC is having a positive impact across all pupils

Through sequential and coherent planning, formative assessment, discussions and debates, pupil reflections and milestone tasks, teachers will ensure:

  • Children’s understanding is assessed before and after a topic/series of lessons is taught
  • Key subject knowledge and skills are consolidated before moving onto the next topic
  • Pupils’ learning habits and learning skills are well developed
  • Assessment of pupils’ learning feeds into planning and adaptation of the curriculum