Personal Development at Ark Blacklands

At Ark Blacklands, we recognise the importance of the influence that a rigorous and inclusive Personal Development curriculum can have on the lives of young people. We strongly believe that not only is it our moral responsibility to develop our pupils beyond the academia, but it is also key to our pupils’ future success and life chances.

The Personal Development curriculum aims to impart skills and knowledge to pupils to enable them to make safe, healthy, and happy choices in life and to shape the next generation of British society with a strong sense of community. An intended by-product of pupils’ increased understanding of relationships, social skills, morality, British Values etc. is better access to the academic curriculum; pupils explicitly learn how to work together, discuss topical issues respectfully, consider the moral implications of dilemmas faced by characters in the stories that they read or the historical figures that they study. Work done on pupils’ Personal Development enhances access to the academic curriculum, increasing the potential bandwidth with which pupils can absorb the knowledge, skills and experiences presented to them daily.

Pupils are taught about personal physical and mental health and how to build and maintain the fitness of each. Pupils who can articulate their feelings and manage conflict, taking responsibility for their actions is key in developing confident, independent & responsible pupils who can self-regulate their behaviour.

The complex nature of an effective Personal Development curriculum lies in the fact that there are many different parts, some of which are statutory and others which are not. This document which of these parts have been selected to form our Personal Development curriculum whilst outlining how all statutory obligations are met. These component parts are shown in the diagram below:

Curriculum Enrichment & Cultural Capital

What is Cultural Capital?

Cultural capital is the accumulation of knowledge, behaviours, and skills that a pupil can draw upon and which demonstrates their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence; it is one of the key ingredients a pupil will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work.

  • Cultural capital promotes social mobility and success in our stratified society.
  • Cultural capital gives a pupil power. It helps them achieve goals, become successful, and rise up the social ladder without necessarily having wealth or financial capital.
  • Cultural capital is having assets that give pupils the desire to aspire and achieve social mobility whatever their starting point.

Each subject taught within the school day makes its own contribution to pupils’ cultural capital development. Our curriculum aims to combine knowledge with experience and judgement on what pupils see. The three elements that the Oxford Dictionary uses to define wisdom. Pupils participate in a wealth of trips, visits and experiences, supported by a wide range of extra-curricular clubs.

We recognise that for pupils to aspire and be successful academically and in the wider areas of their lives, they need to be given rich and sustained opportunities to develop their cultural capital.

How do we promote Cultural Capital for Our Pupils?

At Ark Blacklands we ensure that every child has the chance to access a wealth of experiences, through a variety of ways. We endeavour to ensure that all pupils from Reception up to Year 6 have the opportunity to make termly visits to the surrounding community and beyond. We take advantage of our prime position on the South Coast and enable our children to experience all that it has to offer in terms of its social, historical and geographical content. We plan for our lessons and extra-curricular activities to be broad and enriching.

We believe that learning from first-hand experience is very powerful and provides lasting impact with the philosophy: "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand".

All enrichment activities link to children’s learning that term. For example, children have visited the Hastings Castle as a part of the history focus on uncovering the past. Children studying animal habitats have visited Drusilla’s Park, looking at where animals live. Children have taken part in a dance festivals with the local secondary school to showcase their talents. Children have performed Christmas songs for the community in the town's local theatre and at local care homes.

We invite experts into our school to work with our children, including novelists, dramatists, artists, musicians, historians and representatives from local services. Experts inspire our children to learn through sharing their passion for their subject area, which can raise our children’s aspirations for their future career

In addition to this, we organise special events, curriculum days, and family events to enrich our pupils’ lives and challenge them to aspire to be people who leave a mark on the world.

Primary Connections Passports


At Ark Blacklands we are committed to ensuring all pupils leave us in Year 6 having experienced an enriched primary school experience. To help achieve this, in September 2021 we introduces the Primary Connections Passport.

Each pupil is given a Primary Connections Passport. During the school year each class will take part in 6 essential experiences and collect a stamp for their passport. Pupils also have the opportunity to complete bonus badges. 6 different categories of experience have been chosen to ensure that a range of opportunities are provided;

  • Connecting with nature (Environmental Awareness)
  • Connecting with people (Citizenship: our local and global communities)
  • Connecting with self (Well-being and personal growth)
  • Connecting with our future (Enterprise and Careers)
  • Connecting with culture and the arts (Presentation, Performance and The Arts)
  • Connecting with adventure (Adventure, Challenge and Competition)

By the time a Reception child leaves Year 6 they will have experienced over 42 memorable childhood experiences to take them to secondary school and into their adult lives.

A complete overview can be found here:

PDF iconArk Blacklands Primary Academy Enrichment

Character Development

Everyone at Ark Blacklands works consciously and conscientiously to make it a place where children acquire the character virtues that lead to success in school and university, in work and life beyond. Essential to this is our understanding of what constitutes Character Development .

Character Development can be defined as the active development of character strengths or virtues in young people. The practice of Character Development is based on the view that these strengths are not merely given but can be developed through instruction and practice.

Our work in this area is premised upon two ideas. First, that character is both ‘taught’ and ‘caught’. Taught because pupils need to learn directly about character strengths and virtues, and to be given opportunities to practise them. Caught because pupils need to be exposed to the concepts and language of character throughout their experience of school. This is best delivered through the ethos of the school, by teachers and other adults in school acting as role models, by empowering children to be role models and recognising them publicly as such, and by engineering enrichment activity so that it emphasises character development.

The second idea is that there are four core dimensions to character: intellectual, performance, moral and civic. These are demonstrated in the table below. Successful Character Development seeks to develop pupils along all four dimensions.

Our chosen values, known as the 'Habits of Success' guide the culture and ethos of our Academy to ensure that we are able to realise our mission. They are a central part of the life of the Academy and should be evident in every aspect of Academy life. Our habits of success are:

Our curriculum is infused with opportunities for children to develop their character strengths and virtues. These are complimented by weekly assembly which link explicitly to our Habits of Success, British Values and SMSC. Together, discrete and embedded learning gives the children the knowledge, language and moral exemplars to help them continue strengthening the virtues in their own lives.

Further to this, we have the Connections Passport, a set of enriched experiences that we believe to be character building in the truest sense. These experiences are embedded in our curriculum as authentic outcomes to learning.

Character Development also informs our whole school approach to behaviour management. This is best described in the ‘Positive Behaviour Policy’ prepared for children, parents and staff, and designed to ensure a shared understanding for all and a consistency of approach. The approach combines clearly defined rules that guide children to ‘Stay on Green’ and clearly defined character virtues that are particularly prized in our school that encourage the children to ‘Go for Gold’ and being awarded the prestigious Golden Tie.

Finance Curriculum

At Blacklands, we know that financial awareness is vital to children’s development. We are committed to teaching financial awareness alongside our Mathematics and Personal, Social and Health Education. All children will have discreetly taught sessions about Money from EYFS and throughout KS1 and KS2. Sometimes these sessions will be blocked together in a more in-depth study as part of our Personal Development curriculum.

We aim to give children the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to manage their money, now and in the future. We aim to teach financial education with a child-centred approach both in the classroom and at home.

An overview of our finance curriculum objectives, which are supported with resources from the HSBC Money Heroes project: