At Don Valley Academy, our core personal development programme is delivered through ‘Life’ lessons. Life places social and personal development at the heart of its design, with group discussion, self-expression and the promotion of tolerance & respect towards the opinions of others assessed in each unit of work. Providing opportunities for pupils to develop confidence, resilience and knowledge to stay mentally and physically healthy are also included and developed on a cross curricular level.
Life at Don Valley Academy is a three-year curriculum offer, tailored specifically to meet the needs of the Academy’s local context whilst at the same time equipping pupils with the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to play their full part in an ever changing world of the 21st century. Our programme includes the delivery of RE, RSE, PSHE, SMSC and fundamental British Values. Life is delivered through a combination of: discrete timetabled lessons, VMG time and assembly programme, along with various cross curricular links across a wide range of subjects.
At Key Stage 3, pupils explore an array of pertinent issues such as gangs, radicalisation, displacement and extremism through half-termly topics such as Boy87, War & Conflict, Animal Rights and Wealth & Poverty. The inappropriate use of mobile technology and social media is also reinforced through the ICT curriculum as well as being emphasised and revisited in our VMG time and assembly programme, promoting for example national ‘Safer Internet Day’ across the academy and key stages.
Religious Studies is also embedded throughout Key Stage 3, as pupils are able to explore the Christianity, Islam and Hinduism through the lens of ‘What would a religious person do in this situation?’ in order to develop skills of reflection, respect and tolerance. A key question approach, as referenced in the Doncaster locally agreed SACRE, is also adopted where possible to allow pupils to engage in an enquiry-based approach to learning; appraising varied responses to key questions such as, ‘Does God create evil?’, ‘Why is there suffering?’ ‘Is death the end?’ and ‘What is good and challenging about being a teenage Sikh/Buddhist/Muslim in Britain today? This enables pupils to develop responses of their own and to develop their own views across a range of enquiry areas.
Our RSE curriculum provision gives due regard to the DfE’s statutory guidance on sex and relationship education as well as focussing in more detail on issues most relevant to pupils in our local context. Specific needs, as they arise are responded to and incorporated into our planning, plus curriculum content is once again ‘stepped’ to ensure that key issues are revisited in later years and in greater depth. Where possible we also aim to bring in outside companies/agencies to deliver bespoke sessions to meet the specific needs of our pupils in Year 10 and Year 11.
The Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development of our pupils has always been at the heart of the education offered in Delta Academies. The Academy’s approach to SMSC is embedded in the Delta ethos of mutual respect, partnership working and collaboration; an approach that we believe is fundamental to a full and positive participation in life in modern Britain.
Broad PSHE themes are allocated throughout each academic year and revisited so that they can be reinforced and developed over the years:
- Half term 1: Diversity and Identity
- Half term 2 and 3: Relationships and Risk
- Half term 4 and 5: Rights & Responsibilities, Aspirations and Power
- Half term 6: Healthy Lifestyles and British Values
Examples of how fundamental British Values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs are actively promoted across the Academy and include:
- Weekly year group assemblies led by academy leaders or guest speakers
- Student Voice activities
- Student Council and Doncaster Youth Council.
- Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) lessons and Step up Days e.g. First Aid training.
- Religious Education and life topics such as ‘A brave new world’
- Healthy schools’ initiatives
- Cross curricular initiatives
- After school clubs and enrichment activities
- Charity work
- Stonewall activities and Pride groups
- Sporting events
- Links with the wider community including ‘Plastic Free Friday’
- Educational trips and visits and other opportunities for learning outside the classroom.