Home » Curriculum » Personal Development

Personal Development

Please view our Personal Development strategy – which is a summary of the work we do to promote pupils’ personal development.

At St. Joseph’s Catholic Infant and Junior Schools, Birtley, we recognise the vast contributions that our lessons, educational-visits and enrichment experiences bring to the pupils in our care. Year 6 participate in a yearly residential to either Howtown or more recently, Barhaugh Hall – Robinwood, at Alston. Barhaugh Hall – Robinwood

Part of our Personal Development Strategy for September 2023, includes developing pupils’ holistic skills – and we are working in partnership with the Nourish Food School to bring parent/carer and child workshops to school for Key Stage 2 pupils, initially. We hope that this will help to tackle food poverty and give our families the tools and encouragement required to cook nutritious meals.

As part of our commitment to pupils’ personal development, we ensure that pupils are ready for life in modern Britain by reinforcing fundamental British values.

Just one of our displays referencing St. Joseph’s commitment to fundamental British values
An example of fundamental British values being taught as part of our Relationships and Health Education.

We also teach about the importance of democracy and hosted Liz Twist MP, as part of Parliament and Democracy Week.

Liz Twist MP with our school council

We hosted Careers Week in January 2023 to ensure that our children continue to develop as confident, articulate and ambitious young people.

We know that personal development doesn’t end here – it’s like our curriculum – ‘a never-ending story’. Therefore, our enrichment activities have included:

Korean Club

Singing Club

Kensho Karate

A half-termly sporting club offer at both schools to ensure that there is something for everyone.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Junior Schools Mini-Vinnies

Our children take on additional roles including: Eco-Council and Mini-Vinnies and we also have a Head Boy, Head Girl and Deputies – who help to lead our school.

Our curriculum is pitched so that we can offer a variety of extra-curricular enrichment visits including:

Gibside Outdoor Activities

Chopwell Woods Adventure Team Building Day

Shildon Locomotion

Newcastle Discovery Museum

Newcastle Hancock Museum

Moor House Farm

as well as being part of the many sporting clubs on offer as part of the Gateshead Schools Sports Partnership.

We also recognise that personal development begins before children come to school – and we take this seriously. We run a weekly toddler session at St. Joseph’s Catholic Infant School, to help forge links between our very youngest children and the setting that many parents choose for their children to attend for their Reception-aged child.

Barhaugh Hall, Alston, Cumbria

Barhaugh Hall is set in over 9 acres of land and lies on the Cumbria / Northumbria border. For those wishing to have a wonderful experience in a really beautiful part of the countryside, Barhaugh Hall will certainly not disappoint. The views over the valley are breathtaking whatever the weather and it is often possible to spot some of the varied wildlife living in the area such as deer, red squirrels and hares.

Once at the centre all activities are on site and have been adapted and developed over the years to provide a fun and challenging experience for everyone. The close proximity of every session means there is no time wasted and children are constantly kept busy and entertained on one of our many exciting sessions.

Accommodation at the centre is set in a magnificent 18th century building. The children get to share a dormitory with their friends whilst the teachers get their own en-suite rooms to relax in at night. The most unusual but wonderful room is placed at the top of the folly tower for those teachers wishing for a fairytale stay.

The centre has fantastic indoor provision for three challenging high activities; an impressive climbing wall, crate challenge with emphasis on teamwork and trapeze with platform options to leap from two different levels. Indoor provision means that these high activities can continue whatever the weather.

There are further indoor areas in the grounds for the Dungeon and Piranha Pool; wonderful themed problem solving areas developed by the staff team.The indoor provision will probably be most important for the many schools who attend Barhaugh Hall from November through to March each year, but there remains plenty of opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities in the beautiful setting of the grounds surrounding the activity centre.

Children visiting the centre will not only get to experience new and exciting challenges but will have the opportunity to grow in confidence and discover new skills and abilities whilst being led and guided all the way by the fun and highly motivated staff team.

Korean Club

Another non-statutory part of our provision is Korean Club – funded in full by the Korean Government. This is further evidence of our commitment for our pupils to embrace a multi-cultural society and develop skills outside of the national curriculum.

We take competitive and participatory sport seriously and in conjunction with our cluster and the Gateshead Schools’ Sports Partnership, we enjoy the following activities:

Y5/6 Sports hall athletics

Whole-school basketball competition

Gymnastics festival

Dodgeball championships

Y5/6 Bee netball

Y3/4 Mini-basketball

Dance festival (March)

Football league (Autumn and Spring)