We believe that character development is an integral part of developing individuals who Can and Will succeed in their chosen path to success.
We believe that an academically challenging curriculum accompanied by a parallel curriculum that focuses on personal development and character are the twin pillars in developing individuals who go on to have a positive impact on the world around them and live meaningful, happy and successful lives.
Research suggests that there are enabling character traits which can improve educational attainment, engagement with school and attendance:
- High self-efficacy, or self-belief, is associated with better performance, more persistence and greater interest in work
- Highly motivated children (linked to tenacity), driven internally and not by extrinsic rewards, show greater levels of persistence and achievement
- Good self-control (or self-regulation, the ability to delay gratification) is associated with greater attainment levels
- Having good coping skills (part of being able to bounce back) is associated with greater well-being
At HGABR, we strive for our students to develop four CORE characteristics and live by a mantra of ALL CAN: WE WILL. Our CORE values and mantra are at the heart of everything we do and run through all elements of the Academy, from our curriculum to our behaviour for learning and rewards policies.
Commitment: We believe commitment is demonstrated through consistent and purposeful actions.
Optimism: We believe a positive mindset is our most valuable tool on our path to success.
Resilience: We believe there is no worthwhile success without challenge or failure.
Empathy: We believe we all have the power to positively shape the world around us.
Our character development curriculum also aims to achieve the following.
- To prepare students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
- Through delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum, to promote the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural (SMSC) development of pupils.
- To promote good behaviour and positive character traits, including courtesy, respect, truthfulness, courage, and generosity.
- To develop positive mental health, which allows our students to fulfil their potential at school and be well prepared for adult life. The Academy will support this through clear expectations on behaviour, well-planned provision for character, personal development and a focus on mental health awareness and education.
- To develop cultural capital, a habit of service and an enthusiasm for experiences, activities and knowledge beyond their timetabled lessons.
It is our aspiration that all staff within the Academy will engage in meaningful and powerful discussion with students to improve their knowledge of the world around them and of contemporary issues in society.
Students will receive at least 50 minutes of PSHCE per week. In years 7, 8 and 9, tutors deliver this through two dedicated tutor times. This model is mirrored in the 6th Form. Years 10 and 11 will have one timetabled lesson a week. This is complemented by further tutor time activities, drop down days and the assembly programme. Students are supported to find volunteering opportunities and run fundraising events throughout the year.
Tutor and assembly programme
Our hinterland assemblies aim to expose students to important ideas, and through this tell the stories of individuals who have promoted the character traits important to us at the academy. Examples of these assembly topics include:
- LGBT month
- black history month
- the winter Olympics boycott
- Veganuary and our carbon footprint
- the 1st woman of colour on the moon
- and the development of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Assemblies take place weekly and are a detailed opportunity to expose students to these character traits in action, in order for them to aspire towards them in the future.
The tutor programme consists of careers, PSHE, numeracy, reading (shared and independent), and SACRE. All of these are opportunities to sign post where values of commitment, optimism, resilience, empathy, self-efficacy, motivation, and self-control have been exhibited.
Through the choices of reading texts to discuss, students are exposed to examples of characters who may or may not exhibit these qualities and opportunities to engage with these ideas. The careers information also provides examples of people who are in careers and ideas around their path to achieve these which give opportunities to discuss character.
Reporting and communicating with parents
At the academy we believe that developing the character of our students is as important as their academic and extra-curricular outcomes. The parents of our students also believe this to be true, and so we include information on character on our reports. As part of the reporting cycle, when we issue reports to parents each subject teacher also provides information on to what extent the student has demonstrated each of our core values of commitment, optimism and resilience.
Enrichment and trips
The co-curricular and trips programme at HGABR supports and extends our students learning beyond the classroom and helps provide each student with a skill set that will support them into their adult life.
A well-balanced combination of academic and co-curricular learning increases the willingness to take risk, develops social interaction, boosts confidence and enhances the development of leadership skills. These skills and opportunities are essential for a well-balanced learner.
Some of the key benefits of taking part in co-curricular activities and educational visits are that they:
- Develop social skills and relationships through interaction across year groups
- Develop time management skills
- Explore a wide range of interests and offer an infinite range of possibilities for those who want to develop and nurture particular areas of interest
- Develop self-esteem through participation
- Develop commitment – participation is about a commitment to an activity and the opportunity to see it through.
Rewards and B4L
Rewards and behaviour for learning are centred around and promoted alongside the academies core values of Commitment, Optimism, Resilience and Empathy. These key character traits we believe are key in developing young adults who will go on to be ambitious, inspiring and caring.
The language from these traits is used to highlight and praise students when they showcase these around the academy as well as being used to remind students of our values on the occasions when they are not demonstrating them as they should.
When students are required to have a restorative justice meeting with a member of staff following a sanction, these traits are once again used to reflect on how the application of our core values would have likely altered the outcome of the situation and give them an opportunity on how they will alter their actions in the future – thus developing their characters.
Teachers daily highlight students demonstrating our values and reward them through our ‘CORE’ postcards. Students receive a postcard highlighting the core value that they have shown, and this is logged on their student profile. Half termly, students come together in their faculties to share the positive achievements of the half term. Tutors, Directors and FDs nominate students within their faculty who have displayed our values, and these are rewarded and celebrated through collective celebration.
It is without question that a student’s choice of literature shapes an individual and their character. It is therefore our duty as practitioners to encourage and guide students to gain a rich knowledge of literature whilst expanding their diet of reading beyond that they have historically experienced.
The ‘Bromley 100’ is a collection of books that has been collated by staff, students and parents as 100 books that all students should read before they leave HGABR at the end of Year 13. The selection of books is vast, and we believe gives students strong foundations in building both a love of reading and a wealth of knowledge that they are passionate about expanding further.
Students across all year groups read for 10 minutes per day as part of DEAR time. Tutors monitor what students are reading to ensure that they are accessing literature of an appropriate level and challenging them to develop their interests in a range of genres.
In addition to daily DEAR time, the Friday Book club has students in each year group collectively read the same book, these span across fiction and non-fiction. Communally reading the same text allows students to share views and prompts discussion regarding the text whether it be themes, plots or their opinions. Students are encouraged to do so and is the start of embedding these key skills which in turn develop and contribute to student characters that they will take with them through their future pathways.
Charities and volunteering
Each month students are given the opportunity to support a local charity through fundraising or a collection of requested items. Students are encouraged to lead on this to develop their commitment to empathy and to promote a habit of service outside of the classroom. The Community Action Club, Humanitarian Society, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Library Volunteering and Student Commission support students in using their voices to bring about change, and encourage students to contribute not just in school, but in wider society through promoting volunteering opportunities and helping students find suitable placements. Many of these take place during the school day to ensure barriers to participation are minimised.
Through enrichment in Sixth Form, students are supported in volunteering in the local community.
Promotion of British Values
The promotion of British values takes place through a range of spaces in the school. These include our Hinterland Assemblies, the PSHE programme and within lessons themselves.
Our hinterland assemblies aim to provide our students exposure to key ideas, particularly around tolerance and harmony for different cultural traditions. Example assemblies include: Black History month, Chinese New Year, and European Languages. We also use this space to discuss elections and civil society.
We use our PSHE curriculum to address areas of self-knowledge, self-esteem; modules include mental health, families and respectful relationships, internet safety amongst others.
Additional ways that British values are promoted include our restorative justice behaviour system encourages students to take responsibility for their behaviour, and to have respect for other people. When national and local elections take place the Politics department runs ‘mock elections’ during which students are provided with candidate information and discuss the responsibilities of the elected office in question, before conducting a mock vote, with results at the end of the day. In our academy there are a number of activities that take place during black history month, where each department celebrates black historical figures in their respective disciplines through lessons and activities.
Broad curriculum and hinterland
The curriculum at HGABR is designed to broaden knowledge beyond the requirements of exam specifications and the national curriculum. Through the implementation of the ‘Hinterland Curriculum’ students gain an in-depth understanding of the wider world thus shaping them into knowledgeable young adults. Through not restricting the curriculum to ‘what MUST be taught’ we believe our students leave HGABR with a greater breath of information that they take with them through their future pathways whilst contributing to the development of their individual character. It is our intent that we keep the curriculum as broad as possible for as long as possible in order that we don’t channel and restrict learning and instead evoke a love of learning for the sake of learning and not just “needing too”. When it comes to the critical time of selecting subjects to study at Key Stage 4 students are strongly encouraged to follow the EBACC pathway to maintain studying a broad curriculum and placing them in a strong position as they progress in the ever-competitive world.
The impact of strong character development will be in developing students that can explore and express their character and build the skills they need for resilience, empathy and employability.
Students will demonstrate this through:
- The ability to remain motivated by long-term goals, to see a link between effort in the present and pay-off in the longer-term, overcoming and persevering through, and learning from, setbacks when encountered.
- The learning and habituation of positive moral attributes, sometimes known as ‘virtues’, and including, for example, courage, honesty, generosity, integrity, humility and a sense of justice, alongside others.
- The acquisition of social confidence and the ability to make points or arguments clearly and constructively, listen attentively to the views of others, behave with courtesy and good manners and speak persuasively to an audience; and
- An appreciation of the importance of long-term commitments which frame the successful and fulfilled life, for example to spouse, partner, role or vocation, the local community, to faith or world view. This helps individuals to put down deep roots and gives stability and longevity to lifetime endeavours.
The six-character benchmarks
When considering the intent, implementation and impact of our character education programme, we have considered the following six Character Education benchmarks included in the Department for Education guidance from November 2019. These benchmarks summarise the most important features of good provision for character education.
What kind of school are we?
- How clearly do we articulate the kind of education we aspire to provide?
- How do we ensure that all members of the school community (e.g. staff, pupils, parents/carers, governing body) understand and share our aims?
- How effectively do we create a sense of pride, belonging and identity in our school?
What are our expectations of behaviour towards each other?
- Are we clear on the importance of discipline and good behaviour in school life? How do we promote this understanding?
- How well do we promote consideration and respect towards others (pupils and adults), good manners and courtesy?
- How well do we promote a range of positive character traits among pupils?
How well do our curriculum and teaching develop resilience and confidence?
- Is our curriculum ambitious for our pupils? Does it teach knowledge and cultural capital which will open doors and give them confidence in wider society?
- Is our curriculum logically organised and sequenced, including within subjects, and taught using effective pedagogy, so pupils gain a strong sense of progress and grow in confidence?
How good is our co-curriculum provision?
- Does it cover a wide range across artistic, creative, performance, sporting, debating, challenge, team and individual etc. so all pupils can both discover new interests and develop existing ones?
- Do we make use of or promote local, national or international programmes or organisations? (e.g. uniformed organisations, Duke of Edinburgh, National Citizen Service etc.)
- Is provision of high quality and does it challenge pupils and build expertise? Is participation sustained over time?
- Are there ample opportunities for pupils to compete, perform etc., and is success acknowledged and celebrated?
How well do we promote the value of volunteering and service to others?
- Are age-appropriate expectations of volunteering and service to others clearly established?
- Are opportunities varied, meaningful, high-quality and sustained over time?
- Do volunteering and service opportunities contribute to breaking down social barriers? Are they effective in making pupils civic-minded and ready to contribute to society?
How do we ensure that all our pupils benefit equally from what we offer?
- Do we understand and reduce barriers to participation (e.g. cost, timing, location, logistics, confidence, parental support etc.)?
- Do we enable young people from all backgrounds to feel as if they belong and are valued?
- Is our provision, including our co-curricular provision, appropriately tailored both to suit and to challenge the pupils we serve?