Personal Development

Personal Development at Westhaven


Our Vision

Our vision is for our learners to be Valued, Inspired, and Prepared
This encompasses all of their academic learning but it is also important to us that our learners are prepared for all aspects of the next stage of their life. The programme of personal development at Westhaven is wide and supports learners to meet their potential across all aspects of their lives.


Personal development is not something that happens by accident at Westhaven; often areas of personal development are harder for our learners due to their special educational needs and these areas are not something that comes automatically or naturally as they mature. We have intentionally built the curriculum of learning to include areas of personal development and enhance this with further opportunities.

Our Values and Our School

Our Westhaven values are encompassed across all areas of the school; they are built into the curriculum, they are at the heart of our ethos and they are fundamental to our extracurricular activities. Our vision is that learners are Valued, Inspired, and Prepared in a wide variety of curricular and non-curricular subjects and disciplines. This is a focus of all strategic and day-to-day planning.

Wide and Varied Curriculum

Whilst all learning contributes to the personal development of learners at Westhaven some curriculum areas contribute more directly than others for example PSHE, RE, Computing, and our Pathway to Employment offer.  More can be read about these subjects on their subject pages.

Learner responsibilities

The school encourages various learner positions of responsibility: 

  • Head learners 
  • School Council Representatives
  • Heads of Houses
  • Playground Buddies (Lower School)
  • British Values Ambassadors

Assemblies and Rewards

Weekly assemblies reward learners with “I am proud” certificates based on the school values. Manner merits and Class Dojo points are also awarded to learners who follow the Westhaven Way. These points are added to house totals and shared in weekly assemblies with the winning learners from each house celebrated. Weekly assemblies offer chances to showcase learner talents and achievements, both in and out of school.

School Council

Our School Council is run by our Citizenship Lead Teacher during timetabled slots. The purpose of the School Council is to serve Westhaven and the wider community and is run in two parts – primary and secondary. Learners are elected through a democratic system involving self-nomination, manifesto sharing, and then election. Our aim with the school council is to give our learners a voice through their representatives and develop an awareness of their own valued opinions.

House System

Our house system is based on the 4 elements:  Earth, Air, Water, Fire
Each term there is a focus book and a house competition under one of the following themes: Arts, Academic, Sports, Community. Winners are rewarded with house points.

Celebrations and Rewards

At Westhaven, we focus on the positives and praise and reward appropriate behaviour and progress. Learners earn Class Dojo house points throughout the day which they can accumulate and use as currency in the school shop. Every week, the top House Point earners are recognised during Friday celebration assemblies and this is also an opportunity for staff to award I am Proud certificates and Manner Merits. Letters and postcards of celebration are also sent home to parents / carers to celebrate outstanding achievement, progress and / or effort. 

At the end of every term, parents / carers are invited into school for the end of term Celebration Assembly where the following awards are also presented: 

  • the Towler Achievement cup for academic progress and achievement
  • the Etienne cup for ambassadors of the Westhaven Way 
  • Merit cups for the learner achieving the highest house points per tutor group 
  • Certificates and prizes for the winners of the termly house competitions

Our weekly celebration assemblies also give learners a chance to showcase their achievements outside of school.

Our Social Curriculum

All learners have Social Thinking on their timetable until the end of Key Stage 4 and Zones of Regulation until the end of Key Stage 3. These are taught progressively as learners move up the school and are part of the ethos and structure of language around learning and behaviour. 

British Values

  • Tolerance and peace
  • Mutual respect
  • Individual Liberty
  • Democracy
  • Truth and the Rule of Law

British Values are part of our Westhaven culture. Raising awareness and understanding of British Values is important to us. Our learners are rewarded for showing British Values in daily life through “I am Proud” certificates.  

The British values are also recognized across the curriculum and specifically in the Social, Moral, Spiritual, and Cultural Curriculum of Assemblies and visitors as well as PSHE, RE, and Citizenship Curriculums.

Inclusivity and Diversity

The promotion of equality of opportunity including understanding of protected characteristics, equality, and diversity is a focus of our SMSC assembly curriculum, as well as the PSHE, RE, and Citizenship curriculums. We have a schedule of different focus weeks such as neurodiversity week, World Mental Health Week, Diwali, and Refugee Week.  Link to SMSC/Assemblies SOL 

Trips and visits across the school are important to our learners, often giving them a wider viewpoint and increasing their cultural capital and awareness. Westhaven learners have opportunities across the curriculum and within each phase of their education to access a wide variety of visitors and experiences outside of the school gates and local community. Examples of these include: 

The school meets the needs of learners with various learning difficulties, generally in the range of moderate learning difficulties (that cannot be met in a mainstream setting and additional associated needs). As part of this, our learners are taught to understand that they are all different and all have needs that bring them to this school. This is often done through discussions within classes and/or with learning mentors. In Key Stage 4 and 5, learners become more involved in EHCP reviews and discussing what their EHCP means.
Link to diverse and inclusive books.

Keeping Healthy

Learners are encouraged to keep healthy by remaining regulated and the school has a system of sensory circuits to meet these needs. Lower School learners complete these as part of their timetable and as the learners move up through the school they are taught how to do this more independently. All learners access PE and are encouraged to take part and achieve their personal best.

During the school day, a “Just Dance” club and football club runs at breaktimes. After-school clubs such as football and netball encourage activity. In Forest School and DofE, activity and health are a focus of the curriculum. PSHE teaches learners throughout the school about the importance of being healthy and our Food Curriculum helps learners understand what healthy food is at the right stage of their learning. Many of our learners have a limited diet and are encouraged to try new foods at lunchtime and during food lessons. 

Keeping Safe

It is important to us that learners can recognize online and offline risks such as criminal and sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, FGM, substance misuse, gang activity, radicalization, and extremism. It is also important that learners are taught about the dangers of mobiles and social media.  This is covered widely in the PSHE and Computing curriculum. Our intervention team also runs NSPCC-guided intervention sessions for anyone whom leaders or teachers recognize as potentially more vulnerable.

Preparing for the next stage and Careers

The school has an independent Careers Advisor who meets all learners in years 9 – 13 for 1-1 career discussions and guidance. We work hard to meet the requirements of the Gatsby Benchmarks and we are proud of our work experience for learners from years 11-13. Visiting other colleges and potential placements are part of our curriculum from year 9 onwards and in years 11 and 13, a link programme with Weston College is timetabled weekly from term 3. In term 6, our year 11 and year 13  learners are given the opportunity to experience a driving lesson from local driving instructors. Compass+  is used to track our adherence to the Gatsby Benchmarks which we meet fully.


Personal development is difficult to measure as numbers cannot easily be attributed to the personal progress our learners make. However, we have a series of case studies that go some way to demonstrate the breadth of progress our learners make (Westhaven Wow!). 

Westhaven has a system of BASE assessments that assess learners’ progress across the 4 strands of BASE, and where necessary refers individuals or groups for interventions or further support. 

  1. Behaviour
  2. Attention and Self-regulation
  3. Self-perception
  4. Emotional Challenges

We are very proud of the progress our learners make beyond Westhaven, both academically and personally.