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Personal Development and Modern British Values


We make every effort to ensure that, upon leaving us, our students will be respectful and tolerant of others; have an understanding that actions have consequences, both negative and positive; and that they are honest and display integrity in a way that assists them to work with peers and the wider community.

As school leaders and Governors, we take responsibility for ensuring that this ethos is reflected and implemented effectively throughout our Academy policy and practice.

In order to achieve best practice we follow closely Department for Education advice, for example, Improving the SMSC development of pupils: supplementary information November 2014 and Promoting fundamental British Values as part of SMSC in schools November 2014.

This strategy document was developed in response to National guidance – OFSTED Promoting and evaluating pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development 2004, the Education Reform Act 1988, the Education (Schools) Act 1992 and the School Inspections Act 1996.

  • It also refers specifically to the most recent guidance from the Ofsted school inspection handbook, taking into consideration the critical role Personal Development has to play in ensuring our young people know how to be safe in an ever challenging world.

It should be read in conjunction with other Academy policies on Equal Opportunities, SEND, Safeguarding and Child Protection, Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) Policy, Collective Worship, Religious Education, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning and PSHMRE.

  • The statutory requirement that schools should encourage pupils’ SMSC development was first included in the Education Reform Act 1988.

‘The curriculum (must be) a balanced and broadly based curriculum which —

(a) promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society; and

(b) prepares such pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.’

This was followed by the Education (Schools) Act 1992 which stated that:

‘The Chief Inspector for England shall have the general duty of keeping the Secretary of State informed about the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at those schools.’

All of the above guidance emphasises the need to establish the values schools should impart to pupils. It clearly recognises that there is more to life than achieving high standards in academic subjects. The task was described as: ‘…the training of good human beings, purposeful and wise, themselves with a vision of what it is to be human and the kind of society that makes that possible’.

More recently, the role of Personal Development in the universal curriculum offer for schools has been highlighted in the revised 2022 edition of the Ofsted ‘Inspection Handbook’.

“The curriculum provided by schools should extend beyond the academic, technical or vocational. Schools support pupils to develop in many diverse aspects of life.”

“At the same time as the school is working with pupils, those pupils are also being influenced by other factors in their home environment, their community and elsewhere. Schools can teach pupils how to build their confidence and resilience, for example, but they cannot always determine how well young people draw on this. Schools are crucial in preparing pupils for their adult lives, teaching them to understand how to engage with society and providing them with plentiful opportunities to do so.”


  • The Academy has a designated team to lead Personal Development, this is in inclusive of British Values. This team, alongside the teachers and subject leads for PSHE and RE, will provide guidance and support for ensuring the below actions take place, working closely with the Senior Leadership Team.

In order to realise the above aims we do the following:

  • Provide a coherent assembly, tutorial and PSHE programme, which enables aspects to be delivered at different and appropriate times.  See appropriate policies for more details.
  • Provide opportunities for regular assemblies.
  • Offer a range of enrichment activities that promote Personal Development and British Values. Those with responsibility for running clubs, societies, trips and other events develop their awareness of what Personal Development opportunities and British Values their activities have, and maximise the benefits they bring.
  • Promote student voice and the power of democracy via the Academy Student Council in both Primary and Secondary.
  • Those with responsibility for publicising the Academy or liaising with other schools / academies and organisations should consider the Personal Development and British Values aspects of their public relations.
  • The pastoral team in secondary, and class teachers in primary, will regularly discuss Personal Development and British Values issues.  Appropriate thought will be given about how aspects of these issues may be best communicated to members of staff, to pupils and parents, and to other interested individuals.
  • All Members of Staff (including associate staff) should be aware of the importance of Personal Development and British Values development and the enhancement it brings to the life of the Academy.

As part of the SMSC and British Values Programme, we:

  • Provide a broad, balanced curriculum, which prepares our students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in Modern Britain.
  • Actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance.
  • Promote tolerance of and respect for people from all faiths, cultures and lifestyles.
  • Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self -confidence.
  • Encourage our students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in our locality.
  • Encourage respect for democracy, and support for participation, in the democratic process, including having a respectful attitude towards the basis on which the law is made and applied within the United Kingdom.

 At the Priory Witham Academy, Modern British Values are broken down into:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.

Ofsted inspection judgement 2016:

Leaders ensure that the school provides well for pupils’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural development, both through the curriculum and through a variety of additional activities and experiences. Pupils in the sixth form, for example, have conducted their own presidential election campaigns and pupils in key stage 4 have explored newspapers to consider the impact of biased reporting. Younger pupils shared with inspectors their experiences of charity fundraising and all pupils study a range of different faiths. This range of experiences means that pupils are well prepared for life in modern Britain.

At our Academy, students encounter these principles within their everyday school lives.  Listed below are examples of how we promote these values in our school community:


Our student voice plays an integral part of life at the Academy, and is a significant input into what and how the students learn.

Additionally, the Academy Council plays an important role in the Academy in both primary and secondary phases.

The rule of law

Ofsted 2016 inspection judgement:

Incidents of bullying are rare and pupils feel confident in their ability to deal with bullying, should it arise.

Pupil voice: pupil comments taken from discussion with external consultant July 2016:

In a discussion about punishment, she made the point that if someone stole something she now understands that a moral stance would be to say something; saying nothing would have an impact on her as a bystander.

Students at The Priory Witham Academy are encouraged to understand the necessity for agreed expectations within both the school context and the wider community. We endeavour for them to understand that these expectations are set with good reason and therefore must be adhered to. The expectations of our Academy reflect and reward acceptable behaviour, as well as celebrating work and achievements.

The understanding of the significance of expectations and laws is reinforced through weekly assemblies, and within the teaching of the National Curriculum. Throughout the year, we are visited by members from the wider community in order to reinforce these. 

Pupil voice: pupil comments taken from discussion with external consultant July 2016:

A pupil was able to weigh up for me the pros and cons of euthanasia by mentioning the tension between what faiths believe and the difference between actions taken for a deadly disease and the prospect of early death to aid inheritance

The Academy’s close relationship with our community PCSO, who is frequently on site, helps us to reinforce the importance of following the law.

Individual Liberty

Ofsted inspection judgement 2016:  

The social behaviour of pupils is good. Their conduct around school is calm and orderly and they are courteous to adults and to each other. They demonstrate good manners, for example by holding doors open for others. Pupils interact with one another well at breaktimes and lunchtimes.

A great deal of time is invested in creating a positive culture within the Academy so that students feel safe in their learning environment, and where choices and freedoms are encouraged.

Within the curriculum, students are free to make choices through differentiated tasks and, as part of behavioural management, we always encourage students to make positive choices.

In addition to regular choices offered within the Curriculum, a wide range of extra-curricular activities are offered, which give students the choice to pursue their own interests.

Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of Difference Faiths and Beliefs


Ofsted inspection judgement 2016:

Pupils are confident and their understanding of how to become reflective and successful learners is developing. They are constantly encouraged to try new things and to challenge themselves. Inspectors observed an assembly where Year 8 pupils were taking ‘the Revels Challenge’, which led into a discussion about being brave. This resulted in volunteers reading out poems that they had written and selected, in front of the year group.

We pride ourselves in mutual respect here at The Priory Witham Academy, and students and staff are taught to respect one another. This is evident upon walking around the Academy and its classrooms and can also be seen during extra-curricular activities in which students help, encourage, and support their peers. 

We offer a culturally diverse curriculum, in which all major religions are studied and respected. Through the teaching of The National Curriculum, PSHE and our daily school life, we aim to demonstrate tolerance and to assist students in becoming knowledgeable, curious, and understanding citizens who can help to build a better Britain for the future.

Pupil voice: pupil comments taken from discussion with external consultant July 2016:

The pupil was able to explain how “the teacher kept writing zeros on the board after 0.   Once the board was full of zeros he add the number 1 to represent those Muslims who may be extremists”; with little prompting the pupil was also able to use the example of the KKK as a white Christian group representing the same type of extremism as Muslim extremists.

The Priory Witham Academy, therefore, builds a framework of moral values which regulate our students’ personal behaviour, develops their understanding of society’s shared and agreed values, as well as issues in which there is disagreement, and how those values might change. From all of this, our students are able to develop respectable opinions and air their views appropriately.

Pupil voice: pupil comments taken from discussion with external consultant July 2016:

When quizzed the pupil could tell me about how the EU referendum was explained in the PSHMRE program and how immigration was an issue in particular to Brexit supporters. She explained how the teaching had changed her attitudes and values to a point where she now felt “50:50 about the rights and wrongs of immigration now she knew more about it.”