Essential Characteristics of pupils with exceptional personal development

These pupils have the ability and willingness to do the following eight things:


Try new things

Success does not come knocking on the door. We all need to go out and find something in which we can experience success. Finding something that we are good at builds confidence. Some pupils may not be good at the things they spend most of their time doing at school, which can make it even more important that schools have a broad and rich curriculum with something for everyone. As adults, however, we learn that just because we may be good at something doesn’t necessarily mean that we enjoy it. Successful people enjoy what they do. In fact, they love what they do. What they do gives them energy; work like play and time flies by. These are the lucky people who have found their energy zone. These people don’t need any external or material reward to motivate them; they do what they do simply because they love it.


Work hard

This is something that most of us don’t want to hear. If we want to get really good at something there are no short cuts. Accomplishment is all about practise and hard work. Pupils need to understand the benefits of working hard. They need to know that work is good and not something that should be avoided. Many pupils become frustrated if they don’t accomplish something immediately. With a television culture of ‘overnight’ success, it is important to teach them that it may take hours and hours of hard work to become really good at something and that in real life success it is not easy for anyone.



Children are living in the most intensely stimulating time in the history of the Earth. They are bombarded with images from television advertisements, websites, games consoles and mobile phones. It has never been so important to teach our children how to concentrate. Of course, every teacher will tell pupils of the need to concentrate, but few will teach them how.


Push themselves

To be really successful, pupils need to learn to push themselves. Most adults realise that if they want a healthier lifestyle, joining a gym doesn’t change much. We have to push ourselves to go to the gym. In fact, going to the gym doesn’t change much either if we don’t push ourselves when there. There are lots of ways pupils need to push themselves. For example, when they don’t feel like doing things, when they feel shy, when they think they might fail and when their friends are trying to stop them doing what they want to do. It can be really difficult to push oneself, but it is essential for success.



In 1968, George Land gave 1,600 five-year-olds a test in divergent thinking. This involved finding multiple solutions to problems, asking questions and generating ideas. The test results were staggering: 98% scored at what he described as ‘genius’ level. He then re-tested the same children at age ten, by which time the level had declined to 30%. By fifteen years of age, only 12% of children scored at the genius level. The same test given to 280,000 adults placed their genius level at only 2%. In his book Breakpoint and Beyond, co-authored by Beth Jatman, Land concluded that non-creative behaviour is learned.

The test shows what most of us know: children have a fantastic imagination, which mostly declines with age. This decline is the enemy of success. To help children be successful we need to help them to keep having ideas as they get older.



Successful people are always trying to make things better. This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with what they have but they know that there is always room for improvement. They try to make good things great. Rather than making any radical transformations, however, they tend to make lots of small adjustments. This is what we can teach our children: great things do not happen suddenly. They are the result of lots of tweaking and refinement. We can all make things a little bit better. We can all take small steps to greatness.


Understand others

Aristotle made the distinction between what he called sophia and phronesis. Sophia was wisdom of the world – what came to be called science. He spoke of the importance of understanding how the world works. However, he also stressed that, in itself, this was not enough for civilisation to flourish. Society also needs phronesis. This was the application of this wisdom in the service of others. Thousands of years later, Aristotle’s worlds are just as true. Successful people use what they know to try to be useful to others. Instead of asking ‘What’s in it for me?’ they ask ‘What can I give?’ If we look at a successful business, it gives people things they value, at the right price. If we look at a successful public service, it gives people what they value at the right time.


 Not give up

Successful people have bad luck, setbacks, failures, criticism and rejection but they always find a way around these problems. Children need to understand that if they have bad luck, they are not alone. Most of us tend to focus on the accomplishments of successful people rather than their mishaps or setbacks. We need to tell children about the times we failed, were rejected and criticised but also how we bounced back.

©Chris Quigley Education Ltd

'PSHE and Citizenship help to give pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active, responsible citizens.'
(National Curriculum 2000)
'Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is a planned, developmental programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives now and in the future.'
(PSHE Association 2013)
As part of a whole-school approach, PSHE education develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society.'
(PSHE Association 2013)
The National Curriculum states that all schools must provide a curriculum that is broadly based, balanced and meets the needs of the pupils. It must also:
promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society
prepare pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life
The National Curriculum Framework (2013) and the non-statutory guidance for PSHE Education (2013) state specifically that schools should make provision for PSHE within their school curriculum. We recognize that PSHE makes an essential contribution to the requirements of the National Curriculum.
To mark anti-bullying week 2019, Years 1-6 enjoyed taking part in some anti-bullying workshops led by Jensen from Perform for Schools around the theme of 'Change starts with us'. 
These are our hall displays made by all classes to mark the introduction of Conflict Resolution and Peer Mediation in school. We will all be learning to say the conflict blocker- Stop, let's not fall out, let's talk.
Ten children from Year 5 have started their training to be Peer Mediators. They are learning the 5 steps of the Peer Mediation process.
  • step 1 introduction and ground rules
  • step 2 listening to the problem and the disputants feelings
  • step 3 acknowledging the other person's feelings and point of view
  • step 4 brainstorming solutions
  • step 5 making an agreement on a good solution
Here are the thoughts of some of our children about the importance of PSHE.
"You do a lot of thinking. It helps you in real life. It can help you with what to say and what to do." Year 5
"It's important to learn about feelings as we need to make people happy." Reception child
"If you fell out with a friend its quite good to calm down and then you get friends again." Year 1 child
"I enjoy the problem solving. It reflects real life if it ever happens to you." Year 6 child
"It helps you keep safe." Year 3 child