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Our Curriculum

We are very proud of the broad and balanced curriculum we offer at St Bede’s.  We aim to ensure that each students enjoys their time with us and that they each achieve success in every course they study from Year 7 to Year 13.

The following booklets will provide you with an overview of the courses currently studied in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.  Changes may be made to the offer from cohort to cohort to best suit the needs of the students and in response to external demands.

If you have any questions regarding our curriculum please contact Mrs Windle via the main school telephone number or email address.

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GCSE Courses

Year 9 Options 2024


Personal Development 


What is Personal Development? 

Schools, in partnership with parents and carers, have a vital role in preparing young people to meet the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly complex world. We want to support and encourage our young people to be open minded members of society and be fully prepared for life in modern Britain, confident that they can meet the challenges ahead of them. This presents many positive and exciting opportunities, but also challenges and risks.  

Important to the success of our personal development programme, is the discussion around the curriculum at home with parents’ and carers’. This helps to deepen understanding and put experiences into context.  


At St. Bede’s we teach Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) through a planned, developmental programme of learning. The subject helps pupils develop knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe whilst preparing for life and work in modern Britain. Pupils will not only experience quality first teaching on these subjects but also opportunities to take part in workshops with outside agencies, community projects and theatre productions. They will explore the complex and sometimes conflicting range of values and attitudes they encounter now and in the future. 


Why is Personal Development Important? 

  • Encourages young people to step out of their comfort zone in a safe and structured way, to broaden experience and develop skills. 

  • Promotes a deeper self-awareness and raises motivation. 

  • Contributes to physical and mental health and wellbeing, encouraging individual responsibility for health. 

  • Contributes to the safety and protection of our children and young people, from staying safe online and in encounters in face to face settings. 

  • Contributes to the information young people need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds, not just intimate relationships, and know boundaries within the law. 

  • Promotes independence, resilience and responsibility — preparing children and young people for future roles as parents, employees and leaders. 

  • Supports employability by developing the personal and social skills demanded by commerce and industry. 

  • Supports pupils to be critical consumers of information, and develops the skills to identify misleading news or views on social media and elsewhere. 

How is Personal Development taught? 

Personal Development is taught in all year groups and builds on the knowledge and skills learned in previous lessons where stage and age appropriateness are considered. 

In Key Stage 3 Personal Development is taught in one lesson per fortnight, In Key Stage 4 PSHE is delivered through the Period 4 programme where young people will have 2 sessions per week.  In Key Stage 5 students will experience personal development through their tutor time. Alongside this provision, young people will also gain valuable insights through tutor time and through collective worship. In addition, other subject areas contribute to the overall delivery of many topics. For example, aspects of relationships and health education will arise in RE, English, Drama, PE and Food Technology. 

Teaching is conducted in a safe learning environment through the use of ground rules and distancing techniques so that students are not put on the spot or expected to discuss their own personal issues in class. Teaching resources are selected on the basis of their appropriateness to students. 


What is Personal, Health, Social and Economic Education (PSHE) 

Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is a planned, developmental programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives now and in the future. 

As part of a whole-school approach, PSHE education develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. 

The PSHE education programme makes a significant contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development, their behaviour and safety and the school’s statutory responsibility to promote pupils’ well-being. 

PSHE education contributes to personal development by helping pupils to build their personal identities, confidence and self-esteem, resilience, identify and manage risk, make informed choices and understand what influences their decisions. It enables them to recognise, accept and shape their identities, to understand and accommodate difference and change, to manage emotions and to communicate constructively in a variety of settings. Developing an understanding of themselves, empathy and the ability to work with others will help pupils to form and maintain good relationships, develop the essential skills for future employability and better enjoy and manage their lives. 

Here at St Bede’s, students study a range of age-appropriate topics, with a graduated approach across each year group. These topics range from positive relationships, to financial awareness, online safety to health and well-being. The rich and varied programme of learning ensures that our students are equipped to meet the challenges of life outside and beyond school, by making positive and informed choices that will enable them to live happy and fulfilled lives. 

Within the PSHE curriculum students are taught Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). Lessons form part of the PSHE curriculum and are delivered by fully trained staff who ensure that the content is both stage and age appropriate through thorough planning and consultation with both the local authority and the Catholic Education Service. 

In addition to the PSHE Curriculum, students will experience a variety of ‘drop down’ days to enable themes to be explored in greater depth, involving outside agencies to deliver appropriate messages. 


How are the Fundamental British Values​ taught? 


St Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College is committed to encouraging students to respect British values. The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy 

  • democracy 

  • the rule of law 

  • individual liberty 

  • mutual respect 

  • tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs 


As a Catholic and Christian community we are proud of the education we offer our students. Through a broad and balanced curriculum, students explore the British values by way of cross curricular themes and in particular the PSHE programme. We actively challenge students, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values and seek to promote a positive approach to the areas named above. 

Democracy is promoted through a student panels, pupil voice and the election of the Senior Council based on student votes. 

Visits from authorities, such as the Police reinforce the importance of the rule of law. Individual liberty is taught through e-safety sessions delivered as part of the PHSE programme where students receive advice on how to safely exercise their rights and personal freedoms when online, whilst being made aware of their own duty of care while engaging in such activity. 

The school ethos and behaviour policy revolve around ‘respect’ as a core value, and discussions and assemblies focus on what respect means and how it is modelled. Through collective worship, liturgies are held to mark Armistice Day and the Holocaust memorial day. Each year group has an adopted charity and local charity workers have spoken in assemblies to promote their work. 

In Key Stage 4 History, students study the Holocaust which has obvious links to morality and responsibility. Students reflect upon the reasons behind the atrocity. They consider the tensions and interactions between communist and capitalist countries during the Cold War, debating the responsibility for international affairs and tensions. 

In Key Stage 3 Science, students explore genetic variation between different races. While in Geography they look at the ‘One Child Policy’ in China and discuss the morality of giving aid to poorer countries. 

In RE, students in Key Stage 4 look at faiths from around the world and explore the similarities and differences between their faith and that of our own. Students gain an appreciation of the faith differences and able to develop a mutual respect for the differences in culture. 

In PE, students are taught adherence to fair play and how this aligns itself with whole school culture, ethos and mission statements and gain an insight into what this looks like in other life experiences. 

The PSHE programme offers students the opportunity to evidence how they interact with the British values and through a broad and balanced curriculum and the opportunities that lessons create, the staff and Governors of St Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College believe students are able to demonstrate: 

Their ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and respect the civil and criminal law of England. 

Their acceptance of and engagement with the 'fundamental British values', and demonstrating the skills and attitudes that allow them to participate and contribute to life in modern Britain. 

Their understanding of the range of cultures within the school “and further afield” as preparation for life in modern Britain. 


What will my child learn during these lessons? 

The Personal Development curriculum is underpinned by the ethos and values of St. Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College and we uphold it as an entitlement for all our students. We recognise the need to work with parents and carers to ensure a shared understanding of Personal Development and to deliver an effective and personalised programme that meets the needs of our students.   

The school believes that students should have opportunities to have their genuine questions answered in a sensible and matter-of-fact manner. Teachers will use their skill and discretion to decide about whether to answer questions in class and, if so, how. They will establish clear parameters of what is appropriate and inappropriate; they will follow the school behaviour for learning policy and discuss ground rules with students by taking an approach that encourages students to be mature and sensible.  Like other subjects, discrete personal development lessons gradually build key concepts and skills through topics that are relevant to children and young people’s age and stage of development. Personal

Development lessons cover a wide range of topics and curriculum areas based on the three core themes of: 

  • Health and wellbeing 

  • Relationships 

  • Living in the wider world   

Health Education aims to give your child the information they need to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing, to recognise issues in themselves and others, and to seek support as early as possible when issues arise. 

Topics include: 

  • Mental wellbeing 

  • Internet safety and harms 

  • Physical health and fitness 

  • Healthy eating 

  • Drugs, alcohol and tobacco 

  • Basic first aid 

  • Healthy diet and exercise 

  • The changing adolescent body  


At the appropriate time, the focus will move to developing intimate relationships, to equip your child with the knowledge they need to make safe, informed and healthy choices as they progress through adult life. 

Topics include: 

  • secondary transition 

  • friendship, including respectful relationships 

  • families 

  • online media 

  • anti-bullying 

  • being safe 

  • consent  

  • intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health 


As young people progress through the years they will be taught the facts and the law about sex, sexuality, sexual health and gender identity in an age-appropriate and inclusive way. It must be recognised that young people may be discovering or understanding their sexual orientation or gender identity. All students should feel that the content is relevant to them and their developing sexuality and that it is taught in a way that strongly uphold the beliefs and values of the Catholic church.  

The aim of Relationship Education is to give young people the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds, not just intimate relationships in a secure learning environment taught by professionals. It should enable them to know what a healthy relationship looks like and what makes a good friend, a good colleague and a successful marriage or other type of committed relationship. 

Effective Relationship Education does not encourage early sexual experimentation. It should teach young people to understand human sexuality and to respect themselves and others. It enables young people to mature, build their confidence and self-esteem and understand the reasons for delaying sexual activity. Effective Relationship Education also supports people, throughout life, to develop safe, fulfilling and healthy sexual relationships, at the appropriate time. Knowledge about safer sex and sexual health remains important to ensure that young people are equipped to make safe, informed and healthy choices as they progress through adult life. 


As a Catholic community, we ensure that all teaching will follow a programme of study that has been endorsed by the Catholic Education Service. The resources used to deliver the programme are provided by the ‘Ten Ten: Life to the Full’ programme. Ten Ten’s programme, Life to the Full, will teach Relationship and Sex Education within the context of a Christian understanding of human sexuality rooted in the wisdom and teaching of the Catholic Church. Given that RSE is a statutory subject for all schools, Ten Ten are embracing “the challenges of creating a happy and successful adult life” by giving pupils knowledge “that will enable them to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships” (DFE Statutory Guidance). The programme will deliver teaching through the prism of Catholic RSE. 


More information about Ten Ten can be found by following this link 


Parents have the right to withdraw their child from the sex education element of the course. If you decide to withdraw your child, we encourage you to discuss your decision with school at the earliest opportunity. Parents are welcome to review any RSHE resources the school uses. 


As a Catholic community, we believe that relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) is integral to the lifelong learning process and the belief that we have been uniquely created in the image and likeness of God. As such, all people have special value and worth. It is firmly rooted in the school’s personal, social, health and economic education programme, through religious education (RE) and as part of the statutory National Curriculum for science. We believe parents are the first educators of their children. It is their right and responsibility to inform and educate their children in matters relating to human growth and development, particularly sexual development. As such we hope that this programme will complement and not replace the primary role of the parent. 


PSHE education is taught throughout the school in every year group and is monitored and reviewed regularly by the staff and Local Governing Committee. All PSHE teaching takes place in a safe learning environment and is underpinned by our school ethos and values. Please visit the school’s website for more detail about our PSHE curriculum. 

Living in the wider world aims to teach our young people how to be responsible citizens and possess the skills needed for the future.  Young people will explore the issues that affect them, such as climate change and voting rights. Our young people will also learn about careers and other work-related learning aspects including citizenship and financial management.  


Do I have a right to withdraw my child from Personal Development? 

You do have the right to request your child not be part of the sex education lessons however, there is a statutory obligation for all young people to engage fully in the relationships education. If you do not want your child to take part in some or all of the Sex Education lessons delivered at secondary school, you can ask that they are withdrawn. The headteacher will consider this request and discuss it with you. 

The science curriculum in all maintained schools also includes content on human development, including reproduction, from which there is no right to withdraw children. 

There are huge personal and social benefits of a young person receiving RSE education any withdrawal may have detrimental effects on the child.  This could include any social and emotional effects of being excluded, as well as the likelihood of the child hearing their peers’ version of what was said in the classes, rather than what was directly said by the teacher. 

As of September 2020 parents and carers cannot withdraw their child from Health Education or the Relationships Education element of Personal Development, because it is important that all children receive this content, covering topics such as friendships and how to stay safe. A young person, up until three school terms before they turn 16, can choose to receive Sex Education if they would like to, and we as a school should arrange for your child to receive this teaching in one of those three terms.  

Whilst every effort is made, sometimes relationship and sex topics can arise incidentally in other subjects, lessons and situations and it is not possible to withdraw pupils from these relatively limited and often unplanned discussions. 

Please click on the link below for further information and guidance. 

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