Ark Castledown Personal Development
At Ark Castledown, 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.
Enrichment and 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. Cultural capital gives a pupil power. It helps them achieve goals, become successful, and rise up the social ladder. Cultural capital is having skills that give pupils the aspiration to achieve social mobility whatever their starting point.
Cultural Capital at Ark Castledown!
At Ark Castledown we ensure that every child has the chance to access a wealth of experiences, through a variety of ways building their cultural capital. 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 to be experiential. First hand experiences make learning sticky!
Our 2023-2024 Enrichment Overview.
All visits link to the topic-based approach to learning that we promote at Ark Castledown. 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 main shopping centre.
We invite experts into our school to work with our children, including novelists, dramatists, artists, musicians, foreign language experts 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 Castledown we are committed to ensuring all pupils leave us in Year 6 having experienced an enriched primary school experience. To help achieve this, 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.
Children are offered the opportunity to take part in different extra-curricular clubs and activities. These are often oversubscribed and offer all children a wonderful opportunity to develop interests and skills. This clubs are all free and give our children the opportunity to learn something new. They are run by familiar adults with specialism and expertise.
Personal, Social, Health and Emotional Education & Wellbeing
At Ark Castledown we know that the key to being a well-rounded member of society is being able to form effective and fulfilling relationships. We recognise that mental health and its management is becoming a key issue in today’s society. All children will have the opportunity to learn to manage emotions and stress in safe and positive way through the teaching of practical strategies. Children will leave us with the knowledge, understanding, attitudes, values and skills they need to reach their potential as individuals and within the community.
At Ark Castledown, British values are promoted in much of what we do throughout the school year, including our:
- Sessions in targeted and age appropriate curriculum topics
- Religious Education & RSHE
- Our clubs and extra-curricular activities
- The work of pupil council and other pupil-led activities
- Our generally positive and inclusive ethos
Being part of Hastings, East Sussex and Britain and playing our part in the Global Community
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Ark Castledown. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of our local community and Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, the Harvest festival during the Autumn term, maypole dancing for May Day and various cultural days where we learn about the traditions of different cultures in our community.
We also value and celebrate national events, Remembrance Day, and work closely with our local PCC.
Furthermore, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives within their curriculum topics, for example:
- Geography: where we ensure that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about its capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains, where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world.
- History: Britain and its influence in modern times is woven into our thematic topics.
- Music: study of British composers and their influence worldwide.
- Art/ DT: study of how British artists and designers influence others.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Ark Castledown. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our Pupil Council. The election of the Pupil Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates prepare to talk to their peers about their vision, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret etc.
The council is made up of two representatives from each class, plus a school council chair and vice chairperson. The Pupil Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by different classes. In the past, the Pupil Council has chosen local charities to support, conducted a sensible parking campaign and visited Parliament in London to gain a deeper insight into our Democratic System as well as holding a Pupil Council meeting at the local town hall.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
- Children agree their Class Rules at the start of term
- Children have the opportunity to form groups and clubs
- Pupils monitor and evaluate behaviour / rewards in school and feedback to classes
- Play Leaders are trained to support pupils in meaningful play at lunchtimes.
Rules and Laws
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own class rules, a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
Our pupils can demonstrate what our rules would look like in their daily actions. These values are reinforced in other ways:
- Visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
- During Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
- During other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
- Choices about what learning challenge or activity to do
- Choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities
- Choices about lunchtime options
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our e-safety, drug, relationship and PSHE lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Mutual respect is implicit in our aims and ethos.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource or a religious belief.
Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
Through religious education and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in art by considering culture from other parts of the world.
In depth study during community themed weeks, where we celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the world.
Everyone at Ark Castledown 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: pupils need to learn directly about character strengths and virtues, and to be given opportunities to practise them.
- Caught: 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.
|Moral||Character traits that enable us to act well in situations that require an ethical response.||Courage
|Civic||Character traits that are necessary for engaged responsible citizenship, contributing to the common good.||
|Intellectual||Character traits necessary for discernment, right action and the pursuit of knowledge, truth and understanding.||Curiosity
Reason & Judgement
|Performance||Character traits that have an instrumental value in enabling intellectual, moral and civic virtues.||
Our Learning for Life Values, guide the culture and ethos of our Academy to ensure that we are able to realise our aspirations. They are a central part of the life of the Academy and should be evident in every aspect of Academy life. Our Learning for Life values are:
- Eloquence – We speak with thought and purpose.
- Grit – We are determined. We don't give up.
- Responsibility – We are responsible for our learning and behaviour.
- Confidence – We believe in ourselves and our abilities.
- Kindness – We support and look after each other. We use kind words and actions.
- Curiosity – We are interested and want to learn new things.
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 Learning for Life Values, 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.
Gold School Games
We are delighted to announce that we, Ark Castledown Primary Academy, have achieved the School Games Gold Mark Award for the 2022/23 academic year.
The School Games Mark is a Government-led award scheme launched in 2012, facilitated by the Youth Sport Trust to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community, and we are delighted to have been recognised for our success.
Our sporting achievements this year include:
- Offering a wide variety of extra-curricular and after school.
- Well over half of our children participating in at least 1 after school club.
- Our KS2 children participating in a large number of different sporting competitions
- Raising engagement of activities during break and lunchtimes.
- An increased number of children participating in Sports Clubs outside of school.
- Raising the profile of Sports and Exercise at Ark Castledown.
- Some of our children competing in Sussex County Finals!
With a over 80 young people competing in local inter-school competitions this year, we are extremely proud of our pupils for their dedication to all aspects of school sport, including those young volunteers, leaders and officials who made our competitions possible.
As part of our application, we were asked to fulfil criteria in the areas of participation, competition, workforce and clubs, and we are pleased that the hard work of everyone at our school has been rewarded this year.
We look forward to applying once again in 2024 to make it our 3rd Year in a row achieving the Gold Award.
At Ark Castledown we focus on building essential skills to enable lifelong success so that one day, all students are equipped with the skills, experiences and aspirations to succeed. Through our Careers and Personal Development curriculum, which links to our other teaching subjects, one of our main foci is to prepare our pupils beyond the realm of primary school, opening up opportunities beyond their current life experiences. We do this through our: Enrichment programme, Primary Passport, connections to local and distant businesses. Which all bring the world of work into the classroom, provides opportunities to visit an array of employers as well as giving our children insight to a range of careers.