At Harris Academy Ockendon, our vision is that all students strive to be the best they can be, in all settings, at all times. A cornerstone of this vision is ensuring that every student excels, not only in public examinations, but in their interactions with the world around them so they are prepared for their desired destination, whichever pathway this may take.
We want our students to be responsible, well-rounded and active global citizens, who have the confidence to make the most of all the opportunities life has to offer and the motivation to follow their own passions and beliefs.
Personal development at Harris Academy Ockendon is part of a broad and ambitious curriculum that exposes students to a diverse range of powerful knowledge and cultural capital, which expands horizons and provides enriching experiences. This is implemented through a variety of means during a student’s time at the Academy, which range from extra-curricular and Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) lessons, clubs, inter-house competitions, trips, a weekly guided reading curriculum and annual celebrations of culturally significant events such as LGBTQ+ and Black History Month or International Women’s Day.
Far from being tokenistic ‘add-ons’, personal development and cultural capital is inter-woven into the wider Academy curriculum with subject leaders having thought deeply about how to ensure their curriculum delivers the powerful knowledge required to take students beyond their everyday experiences. Subject teachers specifically highlight the contributions made by individuals and cultures from diverse backgrounds and do not shy away from having ‘edgy’ discussions that challenge student’s interpretations of the world and society. Thereby, the HAOC curriculum lifts students out of their own local experience and guarantees they have both the tools and experiences to traverse whatever destination or pathway they choose.
Additionally, personal development also works to ensure students are not only culturally enriched but are equipped with relevant knowledge to make informed and safe choices about their futures. The Careers provision at HAOC is carefully planned and sequenced over both a 5 and 7 year pathway, which offers opportunities for students to explore future possibilities and ‘dream big’ whilst ensuring they make choices based on personal passions as opposed to societal or other external forces and pressures.
Interactions with employers from a diverse range of industries, webinars, university trips and bespoke career interviews all form the basis of a highly supportive careers education, information and guidance service for all students. Our PSHE, Citizenship, and Philosophy and Ethics curriculum encompasses important life skills and instils knowledge and guidance to promote active mental and physical wellbeing. Students learn about healthy relationships with peers and adults and how to be responsible, safe digital citizens. The Academy is also proud to offer mindfulness sessions to all students in Key Stage Three to support their transition to secondary school and then on to Key Stage Four to help them cope with any additional anxieties or stress in a safe and appropriate manner.
By the time our students are ready to move on from the Academy, the experiences and knowledge they have accumulated make them happy, resilient and courageous, as well as ensuring they contribute positively to society.