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23 January 2020

Personal Development at the Hampshire School Chelsea

Personal Development at the Hampshire School Chelsea

As early as 350 BC, Plato and Aristotle tried to identify the driving forces behind human behaviour - the question of nature or nurture as the primary stimulus to human development. Plato, of course, believed that behaviour and knowledge were due to innate factors present at birth. Alternatively, Aristotle theorised differently about human behaviour; he believed that humans are born into the world with a ‘blank slate’ and their behaviour and thought processes are shaped by experience.

How this debate still rages today! However, modern research now tells us that it is a combination of both these factors plus the added dimension of the individual’s personal choice. In my mind, and what drives our approach at the Hampshire School Chelsea, is that personal development begins with self-discovery - to know yourself and what you can do to develop in order to reach your full potential. Through self awareness of character, needs, values and purpose in life, our pupils will learn to reflect on who they are and the type of person they wish to become now and in their future lives.

Furthermore, personal development also comes through reflection. Reflection means cognition, contemplation and consideration which are all key components or our timetabled Pupil Voice Time (PVT). These objective driven lessons for Year 1-8 focus on developing the voice and confidence of every pupil through a process cycle of: listening, discussing, sharing, reflecting and forming solutions. So far, pupils have used these skills to explore topical and pastoral issues such as: climate change, anti-bullying, the concept of friendship and reflected on their learning through the ‘pupil attitudes to learning test’ which focuses on how they feel about school and any potential ‘ barriers’ that could slow their progress.

With this in mind, it is fascinating to see that the World Economic Forum’s top skills for success in 2020 prioritise the new entry of EQ or ‘emotional intelligence’. This key, non-cognitive skill, is already the firm basis of our PVT time this term. By focusing on developing the ‘voting voice’ in every pupil through focused debate, we are learning to acknowledge alternative viewpoints by considering ‘how the other person feels’. Every pupil is expected to stand in front of an audience, stand their ground and argue for what they believe is right.

Another key aspect of our personal development provision are the very active and regime-changing Development Groups plus the end of year Core Value Trackers which record evidence of pupil growth against our five core values - the core values we believe are essential skills for personal development and what truly define a Hampshire School Chelsea pupil.

To conclude, we believe that the invisible curriculum delivered through shared beliefs, values and customs is just as important as the visible curriculum delivered in lessons. To that end, ​it is only right to conclude with the musings of Aristotle which provides a very pertinent and succinct final thought to remember:

-​“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

Daniel McSherry

Deputy Head/Head of Pastoral Care


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The Hampshire School Chelsea

15 Manresa Road, Chelsea
London, SW3 6NB

Tel: +44[0] 207 352 7077