Ridgewood has its own unique approach to PSHE (personal, social, and health education) which we call our ‘Character Curriculum’. This is delivered by a form tutor in a designated session at the end of each day. Students get the chance to speak to their form tutor as their primary pastoral point of contact, and to undertake a range of stimulating and thought-provoking activities which are designed to help them understand their own personal development, and to become better citizens. Assemblies also link these ideas together, and are a chance for students to celebrate what they have learnt and discovered about British values and our twenty-first century society. Importantly, Character Curriculum time is used to deliver our ‘Prevent’ agenda and to ensure that students are aware of the dangers of radicalisation.
Our Character Curriculum enables us to deliver our vision for PSHE: 'everyone striving to be the best citizen they can be'.
Discovery is an original learning programme unique to Ridgewood, and is designed to increase student resilience and independence. Students undertake four modules during the course of the year, and explore learning styles, resilience, and functional literacy and numeracy. Lessons can cover a range of topics: one day, students may be discovering how much water to drink each day to keep a healthy brain, and the next day, they are learning why the interest rates set by pay day loan companies can lead to financial trouble...
PSHE in Character Curriculum is focused on encouraging students to reflect on their contribution to the school community, and the wider community in which they live. Form tutors lead sessions which are discussion-based, and which ask students to set personal goals, consider skills and attributes they have such as teamwork and kindness, and to understand their place in the modern world. Other topics relating to students' personal health and well-being, and about relationships, will be covered by experts both in school and externally.
To know a form group as both individuals and a cohesive group is one of a form tutor's most important roles. Talk Time is designed to facilitate this. Every week, students form the Talk Time circle and discuss five set questions. These may be hypothetical - What would your chosen superpower be? - or reflective - What makes you a good friend? Through Talk Time, students get the chance to express their views in a safe and positive forum.
Students undertake an initial SPaG audit, then spend alternate weeks working on developing confidence in all areas of literacy, exploring pronouns, apostrophes, and a range of spelling, punctuation and grammar activities. Form tutors deliver the sessions, which are matched to students' needs at each key stage.
Students follow the 'Numeracy Ninjas' programme every other week (alternated with literacy). This is a fast-paced and fun way for students to practise mental arithmetic and improve their number skills.
Every week, students come together as a year group for an assembly. Usually led by their Achievement Co-ordinator, this is an opportunity for students to hear key messages, and to understand how the week's theme applies to them. Themes may include 'Stepping Up to a Challenge' and 'Reflecting on the Year', and will always ask students to consider how they can become the best citizens possible. Assemblies are also an important chance to celebrate students' achievements, both in and outside the classroom.