Department: Personal Development & Citizenship

Head of Department: Miss J Hogan

If you wish to learn more about the curriculum, please contact the Head of Department by email:


The fundamental aim of the Personal Development Curriculum (PDC) at Oaklands is to prepare students holistically so that they can live life to its fullest. Our curriculum content aims to help children and young people grow to their full potential and attain a greater sense of responsibility in preparation for future life. Since January 2020 we have consulted* with parents on the content of the PDC and RSE curriculum. Stripped through our curriculum there are a number of themes that develop in students the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

Whilst all aspects of the curriculum are important in supporting this development, and should do so in a harmonious manner, it is through the appropriate teaching of PDC and RSE that this can be truly nurtured. Catholic education is centered on the formation of the whole child and age-appropriate PDC and RSE are crucial in helping to create well-rounded young people who are equipped to make good and safe lifestyle choices. PDC does not only focus on academic progress but also on the development of capable citizens who can continue to uphold and implement our values in their future lives.

Within PDC students are encouraged to take on leadership responsibilities. For example, Leading debates/discussions in the classroom, supporting less confident learners in pairs or groups and implementing the learning outside of the lesson through charitable or voluntary based actions.

A Personal Development Programme for years 12 and 13  is part of the Sixth Form Study program. Oaklands Sixth Formers select three or four A Levels or Cambridge Technical for their academic route. In addition, they experience a number of activities throughout their time in Sixth Form that develop the whole child so that they can gain knowledge that will help them to make informed decisions in the future. Our aim is that our young people continue to grow in all aspects of their lives; intellectually, spiritually, morally, socially, culturally, and personally.

Our PDC curriculum is ambitious because:

  • We endeavor to teach a wide range of topics in a spiral format that will help students become fully equipped with the knowledge to make responsible lifestyle choices in their future lives.
  • We understand the need for all students to be able to access the curriculum and therefore lessons are designed in such a way that there are several levels of differentiation and opportunities for all learners to participate in some form.
  • PDC encourages students to expand their worldviews and empathise with others, through in-depth discussions and an exploration of a variety of controversial topics. This enables us to address the values and virtues that support the school ethos.
  • Students are able to foster tolerance and understanding of the differences between people and further develop their own opinions.
  • We are sensitive to the fact that many students have a different lived experience at home and therefore we never dismiss their views but instead encourage an atmosphere where they feel respected and comfortable in expressing them.
  • We believe our role is paramount in providing safe spaces for dialogue and discussion, whilst recognising the normative status of the Church’s teachings.
  • We encourage students to creatively look for enterprise opportunities where there is an economic and social need to become active citizens.
  • We help students to overcome barriers when talking about personal or sensitive issues and encourage them to improve personal resilience by reflecting on the positives and finding their own solutions to problems.
  • We furnish students with knowledge that enables them to become law-abiding, respectful, and moral adults, who can continue to uphold and implement our school values in their daily lives.
  • We aim to foster a genuine passion and desire to learn about new topics and make extensive links to real life and other subject areas. This helps to create a more meaningful and holistic learning experience for all students.
  • We use a wide range of teaching methods to engage pupils and promote a greater level of critical thinking and evaluation.

PSHE is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education. All schools should teach PSHE, yet it is down to schools to tailor their PSHE program to the needs of their pupils. Therefore, upon arriving at Oaklands, all students will have been taught PSHE but they will have inevitably had differing experiences depending on the feeder school that they are coming from. Our curriculum is designed in such a way to build on what is taught at KS2 and to further enable pupils to develop into well-rounded, responsible adults. Since the introduction of the new statutory framework in September 2020, the curriculum has been adapted to ensure all required topics are covered and to provide a spiral education for all students throughout KS3 and KS4.

PDC is specifically concerned with the development of the whole child so that they can gain knowledge that will help them to make informed decisions in the future. It is through age and stage-appropriate learning, that does not exclude other worldviews, that pupils are able to grow in all aspects of their lives; spiritually, morally, socially, culturally, and personally.

Our curriculum is designed in such a way that there are four key strands that are covered across all year groups at the same time:

  1. Health and Wellbeing
  2. Preparing and Living in the Wider World
  3. Relationships
  4. Citizenship

This creates a spiral approach to our teaching so that key topics are covered at appropriate points. This allows for a more meaningful dialogue throughout the key stages and contributes to more focused and deeper learning.


January 2020: Parent consultation evening where presentation and paperwork were provided to parents
September 2020: Parents invited to be part of next stage
October 2020: RSE parent consultation; parents had opportunity to review resources
November 2020: Further  parent consultation with links to resources from Ten Ten
September 2021: Further  RSE consultation on resources

Updated July 22