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The overall aims of Personal Development at Sacred Heart are to:


Our Personal Development programme offers opportunities for all our students to live these aims so they can lead safe and successful lives and pursue a pathway that will offer the best life chances. We want to set them up with the knowledge needed to make decisions, build their character and help them to develop into stronger people.


The key areas taught are shown below - they each have clearly defined outcomes across curriculum, pastoral, and spiritual learning.


Roles within the PD structure at Sacred Heart are:


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PSHCE stands for Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education.


There is clear progression and increased complexity throughout the PSHCE programme reflecting the ambitions we have for our students. Girls are supported to attain highly – they consider the views of others, they get the chance to weigh up evidence, they debate and explain across the curriculum.


The PSHCE programme covers:

  • all common risks (fire, roads, gangs, cyber crime, extremism, online gambling, carrying weapons);

  • financial exploitation, scammers, debt, interest, contracts etc;

  • social media, fake news, extremist content/views, bias etc


Statutory material is constant throughout the programme and not altered. Content is differentiated for SEND students and school nurses are invited in to discuss with smaller, targeted groups for specific intervention, e.g. online safety, relationship education


Intervention groups are also supported by Heads of Year for additional provision for students with specific pastoral needs, concerns over certain behaviours or risk factors. This supplemental work is based upon a student’s previous behaviour or safeguarding requirements.


The PSHCE programme is evaluated annually, and changes are made based on current need. For example, when covering smoking, vaping now features as well as cigarettes which reflects that change in society.


Any changes within the programme come from a variety of sources. These may be statutory sources or feedback from other information sources or the School Council. The School Council has an invaluable role in helping shape the PSHCE programme alongside frequent use of student voice.


Many external experts consult on the programme.


These include:

  • School counsellors and chaplain for mental health and resilience

  • Northumbria Police “Safety Works” for grooming, exploitation, domestic violence, rape

  • Blue Sky Trust “Think for yourself” on pornography awareness

  • Bright Futures for sexual exploitation and managing risk in relationships

  • PSHCE Network Leader from Newcastle City Council for drug and alcohol awareness

  • School nurses and healthy schools teams for aspects of health

  • Prevent for anti-radicalisation advice


There are also checks on video clips for age-appropriate content and relevance.


The Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) curriculum is a statutory component of our school curriculum.


The aim of this curriculum is to give our girls the information they need to navigate all types of relationships, human sexuality and both mental and physical wellbeing in a positive way.

RSHE teaches our girls to understand human sexuality and to respect themselves and others. It aims to enable students to develop maturity and confidence. We develop lessons that will support our girls throughout their lives so they can experience safe, fulfilling and healthy relationships, at the appropriate time.


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What this means:
  • Staying safe in a relationship

  • Healthy and unhealthy relationships

  • Risks


  • Bespoke offer for SEND students

  • Sex Education

  • Mental Health

  • Physical Health

How it is covered:
  • Interwoven with PSCHE and RS lessons, as well as coverage in Biology and History

  • Drop Down Days

  • Difficult content delivered by external experts

  • Consulted with Parents

  • Policy available on website

  • Briefing, twilight and training sessions for staff

  • Link Governor support

  • Training for LGC

  • Student input in LGBT sessions

What this means:
  • Students understand what equality and protected characteristics mean

  • They know no one should be treated less well or thought of differently just because they belong to a specific characteristic

  • Students know if they aren’t inclusive, they are being unfair to some people

How it is covered:
  • Through a widely diverse and inclusive community

  • Our school  promotes kindness, respect, love for all and promotion of Gospel Values

  • Teaching and assemblies on the Equality Act 2010

  • Assemblies and discussion on Protected Characteristics

  • ‘Call it out’ message

What this means:

Taught through six themes:

  • Relationships

  • Managing Risk 

  • Being Healthy

  • Citizenship/British Values

  • Personal Wellbeing

  • Careers and Economics

How it is covered:
  • Timetabled fortnightly PSHCE sessions.

  • Assemblies with Pastoral speakers

  • Guest speakers (Health, local experts)

  • Self, peer and teacher assessed

  • Student feedback

  • Included in whole school QA and Learning walks

  • SHHS-bespoke, bound student work booklet

  • Learning Journeys

  • LGBT content carefully embedded into the curriculum

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The Personal Development programme is legally compliant in all related policies, legal obligations and content.

The PSHCE programme maps to statutory requirements, while the Aspirational Futures (CEIAG) Programme is tracked against the Gatsby Benchmarks. PSHCE compliance is checked annually, whilst Gatsby is updated termly via Compass. 


Non-statutory material is included from a variety of sources including the safeguarding, drug and alcohol policies, alongside parental and student feedback.

Student Participation


Students are encouraged to take an active role in supporting the running of school, whether as Goals Ambassadors (with an elected responsibility for the spiritual development of school) or as members of the School Council (with an elected role as the official voice of the student body).


Compliance Aspects of Personal Development


The Personal Development programme is legally compliant in all related policies, legal obligations and the content.


The PSHCE programme maps to statutory requirements, while the Aspirational Futures (CEIAG) Programme is tracked against the Gatsby Benchmarks. PSHCE compliance is checked annually, whilst Gatsby is updated termly via Compass.


Non-statutory material is included from a variety of sources including the safeguarding, drug and alcohol policies, alongside parental and student feedback. These policies are available elsewhere on this website.


Consultation on the RSHE/PSHCE policy


Consultation began with a draft policy being shared on the school website, parents were invited to comment upon all aspects of the policy via email, with the final version shared on the school website for implementation in September 2021. It has since been reviewed again by our Governing Committee in 2023, we await the outcomes from the government consultation and any changes that may come.

Year 9 parents receive an information letter prior to the Year 9 Relationships drop-down day. This also happens with Year 10 prior to their Relationships Day. Parents are informed as good practice but cannot remove their daughter from statutory elements of the days.


Consultation with Parents over non-statutory material


Parents are informed of all non-statutory material via the school website, and a description of the topics covered are provided so that they also have an overview.

Parents can share any comments and can raise questions with the Head of Year for their daughter’s year group over content for these days.


All year groups have assemblies delivered by the pastoral team outlining what protected characteristics are. Staff also receive CPD on this.PSHCE lessons in school that have any aspect of prejudice, racial or bullying content always have the first slide of the lesson showing the list of protected characteristics to further remind and reinforce this learning.


No lesson is singly focused upon LGBT relationships. Instead, they are included alongside other protected characteristics, in lessons that discuss, for example, identity, bullying and resilience. They are also threaded through lessons on personal well-being.  This is a deliberate action so that no lesson is regarded through a single protected characteristic lens.


Examples are used during RSHE sessions which highlight the LGBT nature of relationships. This use of LGBT characters and examples throughout the curriculum, rather than in a specific lesson, is recommended as good practice.

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SMSC stands for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development. It is an area of the curriculum that focuses on the non-academic development of students, such as understanding and appreciation of different cultures or dealing with moral conundrums.


Spiritual Development:

The Sacred Heart ethos and Goals encourage our girls to develop spirituality, learn how to reflect upon their own beliefs and those of others throughout the school. They develop an interest and fascination with other views, and develop empathy and understanding around topics such as religion or other beliefs. 


Our Sacred Heart ethos and Goals foster creativity of expression and helps to build a healthy imagination. It encourages students to be more self-reflective and self-aware in their own learning. This makes subject learning more engaging and self-reflection over progress and response to feedback more conducive to academic progression.


Moral Development:

Moral development ensures our students recognise the difference between right and wrong, both from a humanitarian point of view and from a legal standpoint.


We encourage the girls to understand the consequences of their own behaviour and how their action impact others. This positively affects our students’ commitment to work, in class and at home, and creates an attitude of collectivism across the school with all working both individually and as a team towards a common goal.


Appreciating others’ moral and ethical viewpoints also ensures our girls develop into more empathetic and caring members of society, ready to share the Sacred Heart Society’s mission with their communities.


Social Development:

Social Development encourages engagement with others and acceptance of differences between members of society. It includes charity work and a willingness to participate in community projects and wider social groups, including sports clubs and volunteering. 


We believe that social skills are an important part of personal development and ensure that staff firstly model the behaviours we would expect from our students.


We support students to become more comfortable in social situations as it will help them in all aspects of life, through higher education to employment. We tackle issues of mental

health and feelings of discontent.


Cultural Development:

Cultural development covers the understanding and appreciation of the rich tapestry of culture that makes up our school and society. From students’ own cultural influences and heritage to that of other students and staff. We develop an appreciation and understanding of art, music, sports and other cultural pursuits and believe they are vital to students’ development as it helps form ideas for further study, as well as inspiration for students’ own contribution to British culture.

What this means:
  • All elements of our Personal Development Programme contribute to and enhance SMSC

  • SPIRITUAL: explicit teaching to develop understanding of different faiths

  • MORAL: students helped to know right from wrong, appreciate the views of others

  • SOCIAL: girls are supported to socialise, cooperate and communicate 

  • CULTURAL: understand cultural influences on the UK

Our girls:

  • understand consequences and discuss moral dilemmas

  • communicate with increasing confidence with different people in different roles

  • Value the common aspects across different communities and cultures


We also celebrate SMSC through:

  • Assemblies and liturgical events

  • Sacred Heart Goals

  • YMT retreats

  • Chapel lessons

  • Fund raising and charity (both across the liturgical and school year)

  • Music showcases

  • Dance shows

  • School productions and pantomimes

  • Extracurricular activities, both sorting and cultural.

  • School trips and visits

  • NCS volunteering (Gold Awarded 2018)

  • PSHCE, RS, History lessons

  • Composer of the week in assemblies

  • Interview support


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The promotion of ‘British values’ is central to Catholic education because British values have their origin in the Christian values of our nation. British values are considered by the present government to be 







At Sacred Heart we recognise, not only the importance of helping students to develop academically but also spiritually, morally, socially and culturally.  Our aim is that they are fully prepared for life in British society, to take their role as good citizens, able to make the best possible contribution to the Common Good. Within a framework of Catholic Christian Values, we teach the importance of British Values by going much deeper into the meaning of what it is to live a good life. This provides the context and meaning for understanding why British values are important.


Our framework for understanding British values draws on the example of Jesus and his welcome and inclusion of all, which is developed in Catholic Social Teaching. At Sacred Heart we provide an education which focuses on the formation of the whole person and on our vocation and purpose in life. We place a significant emphasis on the celebration of individuality and difference within our communities and our calling to work for the Common Good, in the service of others. We also reflect on the traditions of the Sacred Heart sisters with their accent on the promotion of the education of women.


Our Catholic Ethos makes a tangible difference to the way we work together and with our wider communities. Within this framework it would be impossible to overlook the government’s view of British values expressed as ‘democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.’

What this means:
  • Taught the knowledge they need to play a full and active part in society

  • We follow the NC for Citizenship

  • Resources are age appropriate

  • The programme of study is ambitious

  • Girls are given the opportunity to consider the views of others

How it is covered:
  • Religious Education provides students with a deep understanding of their own faith as well as awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities as a basis for understanding and respecting them

  • Show how Jesus encouraged tolerance in stories such as The Good Samaritan and The Women at the Well

  • Support for the Holocaust Trust, the Anne Frank exhibition and a visiting Holocaust survivor

  • History trips to the Battlefields and  Auschwitz

  • PSHCE inputs on tolerance and Human rights

  • A freely accessible chapel which is open for all faiths to use

What this means:
  • Taught the knowledge they need to play a full and active part in society

  • We follow the NC for Citizenship

  • Resources are age appropriate

  • The programme of study is ambitious

  • Girls are given the opportunity to consider the views of others

How it is covered:
  • Encourage students to be independent in their learning

  • Provide students with opportunities for reflection as they take responsibility to discerning their vocation

  • Mutual respect

  • Having a mission statement that is inclusive

  • Constantly promoting respect for others as good manners

  • Reinforcing the value of everyone’s opinions in class debates

  • Having an effective anti-bullying policy

  • Emphasising in RE and PSCHE lessons that every person is unique and “created in the image of God”

  • Having active educational links with other schools

  • Year 7 buddies

  • Remembrance Activities and visit to Battlefields

  • Supporting charitable works

What this means:
  • Taught the knowledge they need to play a full and active part in society

  • We follow the NC for Citizenship

  • Resources are age appropriate

  • The programme of study is ambitious

  • Girls are given the opportunity to consider the views of others

How it is covered:
  • Having a clear behaviour policy that is explained to all

  • Organising visits from the police service to reinforce the message of right and wrong

  • Highlighting the rules of the Church and God in the RE curriculum, for example the 10 commandments and the Precepts of the Church

  • Teaching about the development of the Rule of Law in English Law, a legal system created uniquely in a Catholic England, inspired by Christian values and becoming a major influence across the world

What this means:
  • Taught the knowledge they need to play a full and active part in society

  • We follow the NC for Citizenship

  • Resources are age appropriate

  • The programme of study is ambitious

  • Girls are given the opportunity to consider the views of others

How it is covered:
  • Taking part in debates

  • Highlighting the development of democratic ideas in history lessons

  • Suffragette experience at Beamish

  • Allowing students to vote for Head Girls, Student Council, Goals ambassadors, etc..

  • Ensuring all pupils are listened to by adults

  • Inviting MPs and other speakers to the school

  • Visiting parliament

  • Holding mock elections

  • Participating in the Diocesan Youth Council


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Sacred Heart Catholic High School seeks to ensure that our students will access high quality careers that will improve the experiences of their lives and ensure they are able to successfully and morally influence their own society. 


We expect our students to become beacons of social mobility; with school facilitating the highest expectations and ambitions - accessing better paid, better quality work than their peers and increased engagement with top universities and selective courses. 


Sacred Heart Catholic High School’s Careers Education and Guidance has the following aims:

  • to contribute to strategies for raising achievement, especially by increasing motivation 

  • to support inclusion, challenge stereotyping and promote equality of opportunity 

  • to encourage participation in continued learning including higher education and further education 

  • to develop enterprise and employment skills 

  • to contribute to the economic prosperity of individuals and communities 

  • to meet the needs of all our students through appropriate differentiation 

  • to focus students on their future aspirations 

  • to involve parents and carers 

Key Stage 3:
  • Describe themselves, their strengths and preferences and begin to develop an informed view of potential careers options

  • Describe different explanations of what careers are and how they can be developed

  • Be aware of what labour market information (LMI) is and how it can be useful to you identify your personal networks of support

  • Recognise the qualities and skills you have demonstrated both in and out of school that will help to make you employable

Key Stage 4:
  • Recognise how they are changing, what they have to offer and what is important to them. Alongside this, they begin to prepare themselves for the world of work and develop informed opinions of what they can do next

  • Discuss the skills involved in managing your own career 

  • Be able to find relevant labour market information (LMI) and know how to use it in your career planning 

  • Be aware of your responsibilities and rights as a student, trainee or employee for staying healthy and following safe working practices 

  • Build your personal networks of support including how to access and make the most of a wide range of impartial face- to-face and digital careers information, advice and guidance services 

  • Show how you are developing the qualities and skills which will help you to improve your employability 

Key Stage 5:
  • Assess how they are changing and be able to match their skills, interests and values successfully to requirements and opportunities in learning and work

  • Reflect on changing career processes and structures and their possible effects on your experience and management of your own career development 

  • Be able to draw conclusions from researching and evaluating relevant labour market information (LMI) to support your future plans 

  • Recognise different levels of risks and understand your responsibilities and rights as a student, trainee or employee for staying healthy and observing safe working practices 

  • Develop and make the most of your personal networks of support and show that you are a proactive and discerning user of impartial face-to-face and digital careers information, advice and guidance services 

  • Explain how you are developing your employability qualities and skills to satisfy your own expectations and the future expectations of your employers and co- workers 


The CEIAG careers programme is developed as an effective careers programme in line with the government’s statutory guidance on careers advice that offers students:

•    Unbiased careers advice
•    Experience of work, and
•    Contact with employers to encourage students to aspire, make good choices and understand what they need to do to reach and succeed in the careers to which they aspire


In addition, we aim to develop a solid progression in the acquisition of skills needed to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.


Work in careers lessons is also complemented throughout the wider curriculum with careers promotion in that subject area, careers lessons in subjects, careers visits and guest speakers.


The curriculum has a clear end point and is designed to progress with students through their journey through school. Starting with identification of skills and matching of potential careers based upon personal interest and attributes students follow a sequenced curriculum that follows a logical sequence, i.e. students identify skills, they consider initial careers ideas, they reflect on their matching for these areas, they begin to develop material that will enable to access this within key stage 4; they have a knowledge of working opportunities in the North East and have the knowledge of the next steps to enable them to succeed in these choices.


Work within the curriculum is also supplemented with high quality external providers and experiences to ensure that students have a broad range of opportunities to ensure they are prepared for the diversity in the work of work beyond their local community. 

Sacred Heart students’ have a very broad range of needs but we aim to reflect our local context as much as possible by engaging with key local employers. Likewise, we aim to remain as broad as possible for as long as possible.

All students in Years 8 – 13 can attend an online Careers Fair, hosted by GT Scholars at the Royal Albert Hall and this is promoted with students and parents. This gives students and parents the opportunity to learn from speakers from diverse backgrounds, and gain knowledge from professionals from a wide range of universities and corporate organisations.  

Finally, we ensure there is high academic, vocational and technical ambition for all students. This allows all students to consider all routes without undue pressure being put upon specific routes, whilst still setting challenging targets for students.

What this means:
  • We have an ambitious approach to careers education 

  • High aspiration

  • In line with Gatsby benchmarks

  • Wide range of unbiased knowledge about the diverse world of work

  • Meaningful work experience in KS4 and KS5

  • Range of complimentary activities

  • Individual careers interviews

  • CV and application support 

How it is covered:
  • Aspirational Futures – our bespoke Careers Programme 

  • Intent, Implementation, Impact

  • School Website

  • Advice and support from other settings (16-19)

  • Transition Support Programme


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The school has a strong and positive culture rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church and the philosophy of The Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Our focus is developing the whole child and character and personal growth are one of the key goals of our Sacred Heart school. Individual pupils are able to cite and explain the Goals of Sacred Heart Education and what they mean for them and the life of the school.


Christ is at the centre of all that we do and the Catholic faith and the Sacred Heart Society values underpin our mission to develop each and every individual in our care. 


Our curriculum and teaching develop resilience and confidence through a unique programme, called GRiT. The GRIT Curriculum in Y7 and 9, alongside work in English, Geography, and the taught and extracurricular opportunities in History which focus upon “Suffragettes” and General RS in Sixth Form provide students with opportunities to discuss ideas of citizenship and how to conduct debates. The forming of opinions, analysis and how to develop a cohesive and critical argument are an essential part of these curricular lessons. 


The year 7 GRIT course fits under the umbrella theme of ‘becoming more learning ready’.  The beginning of the course facilitates students’ transition into secondary education; encouraging students to reflect on their character traits and how to become a successful person.  The year then develops a range of ‘success’ related skills for example: an understanding of how we learn, building learning power, resilience in learning, developing decision making and effective communication skills.


The year 9 GRIT course fits under the umbrella theme of ‘building resilience’.  The beginning of the course focuses on the work by Angela Duckworth and Carol Dweck on ‘grit’ and a ‘growth mindset’.  The lessons progress into the purpose of Grit in school and beyond their school career.  The year then develops a range of ‘grit’ skills such as communication, teamwork, effective communication, critical thinking and reasoning.   Each of the lessons from lesson 3 onwards has a connection with a skill that is important to tackle key challenges facing the world.  There is an overarching connection to our goal of social awareness and how crucial it is that we develop in students the skills that will enable them to be global citizens.

What this means:
  • The facilitation and building of the character of our girls is a priority

  • Aspiration is strong, it’s part of our ethos

  • Consistent high expectation for all girls to achieve their potential

  • Girls have a real sense of pride in belonging to Sacred Heart

  • Consistent promotion of a range of positive character traits

How it is covered:
  • Our GRIT programme

  • Shared sense of community and pride in it

  • Excellent behaviour and self- discipline

  • We promote respect, great manners and courtesy – we ‘call it out’ if not

  • Focus on positive character traits – well taught and well modelled by staff


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