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Inspiring Young People

Personal Development

'I have come that you might have life and have it to the full' (John).

As a Catholic Grammar school, Upton Hall FCJ strives to provide educational experiences which will enable all our pupils to achieve their full potential in every aspect of their development, both in school and as active members of their local and wider communities.

Our Personal Development Curriculum, together with the range of experiences and opportunities at Upton, is designed to support our pupils to become responsible, confident, healthy, resilient, respectful and active citizens, who are fully prepared for life and work and are ready to face the challenges and opportunities of today and in the future.

Our intent is to:

  • Expose our pupils to the Christian beliefs about God and the human person as the teaching of this central component of the curriculum is presented within the positive and accessible framework of Catholic Christian values.
  • Promote religious, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development increasing pupils' awareness and confidence and create opportunities for pupils to explore their relationship with God and Catholicism.
  • Ensure all pupils have the knowledge and skills to be self-aware and make informed choices to enrich their own and other people's lives now and in the future.
  • Provide a range of opportunities and experiences which act as a vehicle for social change in our local, wider and global communities.
  • Ensure that all our pupils understand how to stay safe in the modern world including in cyber space.
  • Help pupils develop independence and a positive attitude towards learning.  This will help pupils fully prepare for life in the 21st century.
  • Provide an appropriate range of opportunities, experiences and information to allow pupils to succeed in the next stage of their education, training or employment.
  • Ensure that British and FCJ values are introduced, discussed and embraced through the ethos and mission of the school.
  • Develop pupils' understanding of healthy relationships and sex education within an age appropriate context underpinned by a positive framework of Catholic ideals.

We will achieve this at Upton Hall FCJ by implementing a comprehensive Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) and Relationships, Sexual and Health Education (RSHE) programmes which is age appropriate and responsive to the needs of the pupils.  The teaching of RSHE will be supported by the Diocesan approved 'Life to the Full' programme using 'Ten:Ten' resources.  A one-page overview is shown below:  

As a Catholic school, RSHE is rooted in the Catholic Church's teaching that we are all truly human in Christ.  Our School RSHE policy (which can be found on the school website) meets statutory guidance from the Department for Education and has been developed in conjunction with the Catholic Education Service and the Diocese of Shrewsbury.

Our policy and curriculum will enable us at Upton Hall FCJ, in partnership with our parents, to provide our pupils with a "positive and prudent sexual education" (The Vatican II Declaration on Education).  Our programme of study is compatible with young peoples' physical, cognitive, psychological and spiritual maturity and rooted in a Catholic vision of education and the human person through the following themes:

  • Created and loved by God
  • Created to love others
  • Created to live in a community - local, national and global

At Upton Hall, we believe that these themes underpin our overarching personal development curriculum which is supported by a rich and varied enrichment programme out of lessons.  These learning opportunities will enable our young people to become ever more independent, confident and caring members of our school, local and global communities, so that their future life choices are well considered, fully informed and bear witness to being created in the image and likeness of Christ.  In the words of Oscar Romero,

"We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.  We are prophets of a future not our own."

The curriculum is implemented one hour per week by Form Teachers.  The curriculum is also supported by bespoke Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance programmes, assembly programme, FCJ events and other religious opportunities such as retreats and Mass as well as enrichment initiatives which include guest speakers, charitable organisations and specialist external bodies.  Staff have high expectations of all pupils to take an active part in our school community through the rich and varied opportunities outside the taught curriculum. These opportunities help to cultivate leadership skills and develop our pupils' character:

  • PSHE/RSHE Days for all year groups as well as weekly PSHE lessons (in response to pupils' needs such as organisations and charities focussing on the mental and emotional well-being of our pupils in June 2021).  These days also provided our pupils from Year 7 upwards to join Unifrog and record their achievements throughout their time at Upton Hall FCJ.  An example of our Year 7 PSHE/RSE Day in May 2021 can be viewed here.
  • Upton prepares our students for future success in education, employment or training and uses the Gatsby benchmarks to monitor, develop and enhance our provision.  Upton is compliant with the Baker Clause.
  • Retreat Days for all year groups led by our school Chaplain (Sister Els) where students reflect on issues which affect them individually, as well as wider societal issues.

FCJ Week - December 2021

  • Celebration of the Catholic Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception every year in December where all pupils contribute to many tasks that are charitable and raise their awareness of current world issues.   In December 2020 and December 2021, our pupils have raised in excess of £7000 for the FCJ community in the Philippines which has helped make a positive difference.  On Feast Day, our students also take part in a range of activities including writing letters of hope and companionship to our FCJ partners around the world, Local residents on the Wirral as well as responding to the needs of a care home in Lancashire.  Our students also take part in Amnesty International campaigns by writing letters or messages of solidarity.
  • Participation in the 'Big Live Lesson for Climate and Nature' live from COP26 in November 2021.
  • The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which helps our students develop character, confidence and independence.
  • National Citizen Service for which we have achieved the Gold Award for participation in 2019.
  • Educational trips and visits, e.g. Parliament in London, Overseas exchanges to Spain, France and China.  

Year 9 Reward Breakfast - December 2021

  • Extra-curricular opportunities include a wide variety of sports clubs, music groups and our annual musical production as well as Subject led clubs such as Beekeeping Society (follow their twitter page: or Eco Club.  We were delighted to be awarded the Green Flag Award in 2021.
  • Global charity fundraising. Over the past few years we have been able to have an exemplary impact on some vulnerable communities through active fundraising.  We raised large sums of money for Global charities such as Change a Child's Life, So the Child May Learn and FCJ companions in the Philippines.  This has enabled the building of a new school block at a school in Nepal, a new library at a school in Kenya as well as helping engage young women in education projects in the Philippines.  Over the next few years we hope to take students to visit these projects.   
  • During Lent, we traditionally fundraise for the Diocesan Charity for Social Justice (Caritas).  Despite, being in a national lock down during much of Lent 2021, our school community raised in excess of £2000 online via 'JustGiving'.  Our School's exemplary contributions were noted by the Diocese of Salford.
  • As well as international charities, we support many national and local charities such as the Ferries Families group (toy appeal during Advent), Charles' Thompson's Mission (Food Appeal during Advent), St John's Hospice, The Wirral Ark Homeless centre and Asylum Link. 

Cheshire Dogs' Home, Year 9 PSHE Day - June 2021 (Emotional Health & Well-being)

  • Our Head Girl's team are committed every year to a special charity project. This year they continue to support The Wirral's Homeless Charity.  Once a month, they team up with pupils from the younger years (when year groups are permitted to 'mix') and cook delicious meals for a group of local homeless people to eat.  Mrs Gaunt began the support of this charity 5 years ago, and we are keen for this social justice initiative to continue.   In addition, our Head Girl's Team in 2021-22 is working with the Liverpool World Centre and Faiths4Change on their Fashion Fix initiative aimed at minimising the impact of consumerism on our planet.
  • Leadership and student voice opportunities, including Head Girl's Team (in Sixth Form), Sixth Form Cabinet, Heads and Deputy Heads of House, student librarians, prefects, as well as ethos representatives, sports leaders and school council representatives across the school.
  • Student led 'Diversity' group which takes place on Thursdays.  The programme is displayed in school and all pupils are welcome to attend and take part in student led activities and discussions which promote diversity, tolerance and respect for others. We have been able to celebrate diversity in a range of ways such as displays, assemblies and through literature.  Find out more here.
  • During pre-pandemic times, our staff and students worked together on the school magazine which can be viewed here.
  • Our students also organise and lead a Senior Citizens' Christmas party.  Our last one was in December 2019.
  • Visiting speakers, e.g. a Holocaust survivor, our local M.P, FCJ Sisters and former pupils who speak about life after Upton and the opportunities that have been made available to them.
  • Visiting theatre companies, e.g. The Rise Theatre Company who celebrated the life of our Foundress Marie Madeleine in February 2020.  The Drama department have accessed the script and will be able to build on this production during curriculum time.
  • Our Year 8s take part in an annual apple day.  The students gather the apples from our memorial orchard which are then juiced and made into Upton apple juice.

Year 8 Apple Day - October 2021

  • Our JustBe programme promotes pupil wellbeing, which affects how we think, feel and act.  It also helps to determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.  JustBe focuses on 4 broad areas (Positivity, Ambition, Resilience, Thankfulness) and these areas are developed through working on aspects of diet, sleep and exercise.  
  • During Young People's Mental Health Week 2022 (more commonly known as Children's Mental Health Week) a variety of activities took place which promoted an aspect of well-being.  This included VR mindfulness in partnership with Scenegraph Studios, puzzle sessions, "Food & Mood" sessions led by the Mental Health in Schools Team, seed planting and a staff bake-off.
  • During the spells of home learning, every single pupil received a call from a member of staff to check on their academic progress and wellbeing.
  • MYRIAD mindfulness project - For the past 3 years we have been part of the biggest piece of research to take place that looks into the effectiveness of the .b Mindfulness programme. As part of the project, we have 4 fully trained members of staff who can deliver this programme. Elements of this programme are now included into our PSHE programme, and we hope that we will be able to see the impact of this in the future. 
  • Taking part in research projects with the University of Rome, University of Glasgow and Hope University, Liverpool on the impact of virtues and British values on pupils' education and well-being. 
  • Taking part in projects with our partner school in China (Taicang Middle School in Suzhon province, China).
  • The Year 11 pupils all explore and engage in the Junior Sports Leaders' Award within core physical education lessons.  A select number of Year 10 and 11 pupils also partake in the Dance Leaders' Award.  Through our partnership work with local primary schools, the pupils deliver sport and dance lessons.
  • Our curriculum extends beyond the academic, vocational or technical and provides for pupils' broader development.  Here are some examples:
    • During enrichment lessons, Year 12 and 13 students focus on their personal development and can choose from a range of choices that include lessons in current affairs, food technology, first aid, sign language, current affairs, extended project qualification or a level 3 Junior Sports Leaders' Award.
    • Religious Studies: during pre-covid19 times Year 8 have a multi-faith day when members of the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Christian communities come and talk to them and give them the opportunity to ask questions.   The RE department also provides Year 10 students with the opportunity to hone their debating skills by taking part in the Ethics Cup with other schools.
    • Science: Provides a range of external speakers aimed at Key Stage 4 and 5 students which help students' awareness of the importance of science in the modern and wider world.  These 'Uptonology' talks range from a University Lecturer on Epidemiology to astrophysics to climate change.
    • Physical Education: Encourages our students to follow a healthy and active lifestyle and keep physically and mentally healthy by providing a range of extra-curricular clubs, leagues and competitions as well as being hopeful of leading a ski visit in 2023.
    • History: Provides students with the opportunity to reflect on worldwide issues such as Black History Month or Holocaust Memorial Day with a talk from a survivor from the Holocaust Educational Trust.
    • Geography: A group of students led an environmental group.  Upton was awarded the Green Flag Award in 2021.
    • Mandarin:  Organises a range of activities and celebrations for Chinese New Year.  This event is also celebrated across the school by a Chinese based menu in our dining room at Chinese New Year.‚Äč
    • Business Studies: The Year 12 enterprise group have been utilising their new learning and developing exciting products for sale such as fragranced candles and personalised keyrings.  The students also have the opportunity to visit London on an educational visit to enhance their learning.
  • Years 7 and 8 are involved in a FCJ values reading discussion group with our chaplain (Sister Els) and our librarian (Mrs McDonald).  See further details in our Christmas newsletter.

For those pupils and students who make the most of the opportunities, school life at Upton can be busy but fulfilling and they truly live their education.