Personal Development

At Horsenden, we aim to develop pupils who are well-rounded, confident, respectful global citizens. We do this through many strands of our school curriculum, as well as specifically through the PSHE curriculum, which is detailed here. There are several other areas of Personal Development that are built into our wider school curriculum, some of which are outlined below.


The PSHE SCARF curriculum provides a strong foundation for pupil's spiritual, moral, social and cultural education (SMSC) and development; it is at the heart of the SCARF curriculum. Resources have been carefully planned to a structured series of lessons that follow a spiral curriculum. Pupil’s Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development are a core part of this. SMSC themes threads throughout the resources  providing a strong foundation for SMSC education.

British Values

SCARF provides a robust framework for promoting a positive ethos and values across the school community, contributing significantly to British Values education, both explicitly and implicitly. The focus across the three themes of Health and Wellbeing, Relationships and Living in the Wider World foster and develop pupil’s responsibility for their own actions; respect for the actions and beliefs of others; an understanding of how each individual is protected by the rule of law; and how everyone can make a positive contribution to society through the democratic process.

Many SCARF lessons relate directly to one or all of the British Values’ themes of:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty and
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs 


MindUp is a strategy used at Horsenden to develop a sense of mindful awareness as well as self-regulation techniques. We start MindUp sessions with a focus on the brain, explore different emotions and how these makes us feel, then focus on how to develop an optimistic, resilient attitude. 

Pupils are taught about the different parts of their brain, how they are connected, and the different roles of each part. These are linked to different characters, as pictured below, to help pupils recall these. By learning about the brain, it helps children to understand their emotional and physical reactions, and this further supports their ability to self-regulate and make informed decisions in the moment. Pupils are taught different strategies to help them focus in the classroom, and these are practiced daily which allows pupils to feel calm and ready to learn.

MindUp gives pupil the tools needed to be independent with their self-regulation. They become confident in using brain breaks, amygdala bottles and controlling their breathing using a Hoberman sphere. The school day has at least three brain breaks each day which allows pupils to refocus  and prepare their brains for learning. Brain breaks come in the form of breathing exercises led by the sound of a chime. This practise is incredibly effective in getting pupils to pay attention to their senses and it gives them an opportunity to notice and regulate their feelings before carrying on with the school day.  

Developing a Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset is an evidence-based approach to helping children be confident, capable learners. Growth Mindset theory describes a key positive mental attitude and approach to learning and development. A fixed mindset comes from a belief that intelligence and talent are fixed and that talent is more important than effort for achievement.

Growth mindset research disputes and disproves this; it is the opposite of of a fixed mindset.  A growth mindset is rooted in a belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. This positive mental attitude helps to foster both an interest in learning and a resilience against setbacks; both are essential for great achievement. 

Growth mindset research also highlights the high number of people with these qualities who have achieved a high level of success in life.

Independent research into growth mindset by the Education Endowment Foundation show that the approach has a positive impact on teaching and learning, emphasising the crucial importance of implementation strategies - knowing about it is not enough. 

The PSHE SCARF lessons help with this implementation and embody the key principles of growth mindset in two key ways: 

1. The ethos underpinning all the SCARF resources promote a growth mindset approach by:

  • Fostering curiosity and critical thinking
  • Creating challenges and opportunities
  • Using language and activities that promote thinking skills and debate, rather than ‘right or wrong’ answers
  • Value the process of learning - not just the end result
  • Developing a problem-solving approach
  • Promoting a positive, nurturing learning environment 
    2. Many SCARF lesson plans explicitly promote a growth mindset through activities that help pupils to develop resilience and a positive attitude; these include Learning Lines (a visual tool to help pupils understand how we learn new skills). 

Place 2 Be

At Horsenden, we know that we play a vital role in supporting children's mental health. Children can go to the Place2Be room in school to express themselves by making art, playing or talking.

Why is Place2Be useful?

Sometimes children can feel particularly sad, confused, scared or angry. Maybe something difficult happened at home, like losing a family member or parents separating. Or perhaps they’re struggling with something at school, like friendship issues. This can make them behave differently, lose confidence in themselves or find it difficult to concentrate in class.

Place2Be is there to help children find ways to cope, so their worries don’t get in the way of their friendships, their learning or how they feel about themselves.

What does Place2Be do?

Place2Be’s professionals work with children one-to-one or in small groups, giving regular support for pupils who need it. Children can also book a short appointment to talk about any problems or worries they have – this is called Place2Talk held during lunchtime..

How does Place2Be work with adults?

Place2Be’s Family Practitioner provides support and advice for parents and carers. Teachers and school staff are supported in Place2Think sessions run by the School Project Manager.

Place2Be always gets agreement from parents or carers before they support a child through one-to-one counselling. They also meet with parents or carers regularly to keep them updated and make sure they are involved from the start.

Picture News

Picture News is a core part of our SMSC curriculum at Horsenden Primary. It is a teaching resource that provides a 'big question' linked to national or international current news stories, for pupils of all ages to discuss and debate. Each question and topic is linked both to the UN Rights Respecting Articles as well as British Value, which links multiple areas of our Personal Development strand altogether.

We use Picture News as a way to connect our pupils’ learning across the school, giving everyone a common ground for discussions, whether it’s in their classrooms, the playground or at home with siblings and wider family. Classes discuss the big question each fortnight and explore this in different ways, putting their reflections into class scrapbooks. In addition to this, Picture News really supports our oracy and vocabulary-focused curriculum approach: teachers use Picture News resources to develop pupils’ ability to comment on, debate and discuss national and international affairs which is part of our aim to develop pupils as global citizens. We are proud to have been awarded 'Picture News Advocate' status.

At Horsenden we teach ‘Picture News’ as we want to provide our pupils with resources to create engaging and exciting lessons, allowing opportunities for them to learn about our world, develop independence, resilience, respect and unlock their own drive and passion for learning. Teaching the current news not only provides great content and stimulus and grips pupil's attention, it is also something that the pupils themselves can impact. It is current, happening now and so their voice is given meaning and purpose. Picture News focuses on our world and makes it clear that we all matter. We believe in giving pupil a voice and encouraging them to use it to impact things they are inspired by or feel passionately about.

Every fortnight, classes record their learning in a scrapbook which the pupils have complete ownership over: they decide how they want to display their thoughts and ideas. The pupils love this part of the curriculum and enjoy using their voice to contribute to the world around them.

Rights Respecting Award

The Rights Respecting Schools Award puts children’s rights at the heart of schools in the UK. Horsenden Primary School is proud to be working with UNICEF to create a safe and inspiring place to learn, where children are respected, their talents are nurtured and they are able to thrive. UNICEF's Rights Respecting Schools Award embeds these values in daily school life and gives children the best chance to lead happy, healthy lives and to be responsible, active citizens. We gained our Bronze accreditation in December 2021 and are now working towards Silver accreditation. 

The Horsenden Rights Rangers work as a school leadership team to help fellow pupils understand their rights under the UNCRC and to help encourage rights respecting behaviour in our school. As a team they take the lead in developing and delivering the schools action plan and feeding back to the school community about the progress we are making. Rights Rangers provide a link between pupils, teachers, the senior leadership team, governors and parents. For more information about the Rights Rangers and the work we're doing in school, visit this page.

School Travel

At Horsenden, we are committed to promoting active travel to school. Active travel has a number of benefits for the whole school community, such as: 

  • It keeps the roads immediately outside school much safer for our pupils
  • It minimises congestion
  • It supports our Healthy Schools status
  • It promotes better relationships with our community and neighbours
  • It keeps local pollution to a minimum
  • It keeps our pupils' bodies healthy

Many of our pupils live close to Horsenden Primary School, which means that a lot of them are able to walk to and from school. Some pupils use their bicycles or scooters. We have multiple places at school to keep these safe through the school day.  We ask all parent/carers to support us in encouraging pupils to walk, ride or cycle to school whenever possible. If it is essential to use a car to get to school, we ask you to park at least a 10 minutes walk away so that your child can still walk part of the way.

The map below shows a 1km radius around Horsenden Primary School (which is the small dot in the very middle). On average, this is less than a 20 minute walk. 

The Junior Travel Ambassadors (JTA's) are the school's champions for promoting active and sustainable travel. They meet with their teacher leader regularly and discuss ways to encourage children and families of Horsenden to use active modes of transport. Below you can see the Horsenden Primary School Walk to School Map from EGfL.

We have introduced a new pedestrian and cycle zone on Elton Road, which restricts vehicles during school opening and closing times. This is part of the Ealing School Streets programme. This is managed by staff and volunteers from the school community. Please be kind as they are doing this to help Horsenden pupils travel to and from school safely. We are currently looking for more volunteers from the local community to support this programme. If you are able to help please email: admin@horsenden.ealing.sch.uk 

Healthy Schools Award

Horsenden Primary School is a 'Healthy School' where we strongly believe that a pupil's mental and physical health is vital to them becoming a successful learner. 'Healthy Schools' is a national initiative to support children to develop in a healthy and happy environment. It is an externally moderated award given to those schools who show they are meeting a range of criteria which include:


  • ​​​Healthy Eating
    This includes healthy and nutritious food being made in school canteens and available in schools as well as enabling pupils to make informed decisions about healthy food. At Horsenden we achieve this through healthy, well-balanced school meals which are prepared on site; healthy fruit and vegetables available to EYFS and KS1 pupils as snacks each day; a water only policy; an ambitious school curriculum which incorporates teaching about healthy food choices, nutrition, cooking and food preparation (covered within the PSHE, Science and Design and Technology curriculums); support for parents and carers in the form of packed lunch guidance and a 'Whole School Food Policy'. For more information about our catered school menu, please visit this page.

  • Physical Activity 
    This encourages pupils to take part in physical exercise as well as being given opportunities to be physically active. It helps understanding of how physical activity can make people healthier and can improve life as well being a part of it. At Horsenden we achieve this through regular PE lessons taught by both a specialist PE teacher and class teachers; regular swimming lessons for year groups 3-5, taught by a specialist swimming instructor; Sports Days in the the Summer term; sports and activity equipment available to pupils at lunchtimes, including climbing equipment, balls, and use of the MUGA; active after school clubs available throughout the week including, Agile Vibes (dance), cricket, football, multisports, Taekwondo, dance and yoga; regular participation in active travel initiatives such as 'Walk to School' week; Scooter and bikeability training for pupils; and ambitious school curriculum which incorporates teaching on the importance of physical exercise, understanding the body and fitness (covered within the PE, PSHE and Science curriculums). 

  • Emotional Health and Well-Being
    This ​includes learning about bullying, how to express our feelings, building confidence and emotional strength. It is the promotion of positive emotional health and wellbeing. At Horsenden we achieve this through regular mindfulness sessions (see MindUP) for pupils to learn self regulation skills; access to self regulation resources and explicitly taught strategies; regular class circle times to address class issues and concerns; class worry monsters/boxes where pupils can share feelings anonymously; a school pupil and family worker to support pupils and families needing additional support; school counselling available through Place2B; opportunities to build confidence by belonging 
    to an important group such as the School Council, Rights Rangers or Anti-Bullying Ambassador teams; participation in anti-bullying week; regular whole school assemblies focused on emotional health and wellbeing; and an ambitious school curriculum which incorporates teaching on​ building positive relationships, managing conflict, expressing feelings and developing resilience (covered within PSHE lessons, incorporating MindUP, circle times, Rights Respecting, Picture News and Travel work).


School Council

At Horsenden Primary School we have an active, passionate and empowered School Council who meet regularly with the lead teachers to discuss a range of issues regarding our school. The school council leaders ensure that pupil voice is at the heart of school life. 

Horsenden Primary School’s pupil council is formed by a representative from every class from Year 1  to Year 6. To read more about what the School Council focus on and their impact this school year, please visit this page.

Pride and Inclusion Award

Horsenden Primary School is committed to inclusion for all. This year we began taking part in the Pride in Inclusion Award. This is to support us in increasing equity, diversity and inclusion within our school. Our aim is to ensure that Horsenden is an inclusive, welcoming and safe place for all pupils and adults, regardless of any differences including gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. Across the school, pupils will be using books, discussions and a range of activities to learn about diverse family types, different gender identities, gender stereotypes, different sexual orientations, bullying, and other similarities/differences between others. As part of the award, pupils in Years 5 and 6 can take part in the Pride Youth Group where they will discuss how we can better include all people within our school community, regardless of their age, disability, gender identity, race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation. 

PE's S.E.T Skills

Our PE curriculum includes S.E.T skills which aid the development of Social, Emotional and Thinking skills of each pupil when they take part in our PE lessons. There are 3 specific skills linked to each PE unit that pupils do, such as communication, kindness and using tactics. These skills are built upon in each lesson and enable pupils to meet the PE lesson objectives while also developing their personal skills. A detailed overview of the skills for each phase can be seen in the document below.