Personal Development

Personal Development

Personal Development involves encouraging each child to become personally, emotionally, socially and physically effective, to lead healthy, safe and fulfilled lives and to become confident, independent and responsible citizens, making informed and responsible choices and decisions throughout their lives.

Schools can play a significant part in helping pupils to cope with the challenges of everyday living and in their development toward adulthood.

There is now clear evidence that highlights the importance of promoting the development of emotional intelligence alongside other aspects of health promotion in young people. Research shows that for all kinds of jobs, emotional intelligence is twice as important as IQ and technical skills.

At Key Stage 3, the Personal Development strand is based on the following key concepts:

  • Self-Awareness,
  • Personal Health, and
  • Relationships.

For further details see the Statutory Requirement for Personal Development and the Non Statutory Guidance for Personal Development.

Key Elements

Personal Development is underpinned by the Key Elements of Personal Understanding, Mutual Understanding, Personal Health, Moral Character and Spiritual Awareness.


For more information on Key Stage 3 Personal Development contact:

Kathryn Gilbert
(028) 9026 1200 extension 2632



Drugs Education: Revised Guidance Drugs Education: Revised Guidance

New guidance that outlines the current issues and provides a useful context for how and why schools should address these important areas. It also helps schools to create a meaningful policy for drugs education and help principals and teachers managed potentially challenging situations.

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE): Post Primary Revised Guidance Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE): Post Primary Revised Guidance

New guidance that outlines the current issues and provides a useful context for how and why schools should address these important areas. It also helps schools create a meaningful policy for RSE and help principals and teachers to manage potentially challenging situations.


Insync is a resource for exploring Personal Development issues at years 8, 9 and 10.

Teaching Controversial Issues at Key Stages 3 & 4Teaching Controversial Issues at Key Stages 3 & 4

This training programme supports a whole-school approach to teaching controversial issues. Curriculum leaders can adapt the training materials and use them as part of their school CPD programme.

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE)Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE)

RSE is an area of significant political and public interest. In light of this, and of changing social issues and attitudes, teachers are asking for clarity on classroom strategies for teaching RSE, particularly in the priority areas below.

LLW Integrated Activities

Drugs and Society (Personal Development / Local and Global Citizenship) 4.7 MB - uploaded 21-04-2015

Drugs and Society (Resource 1) 1.4 MB - uploaded 21-04-2015

Drugs and Society (Resource 3) 1.1 MB - uploaded 21-04-2015

Key Stage 3 Personal Development: The Power of Teachers

The Rationale for Teaching Personal Development in Post Primary schools in Northern Ireland.

The Power of Teachers in a Young Person’s World 127.3 KB - uploaded 26-02-2018

Useful Links and Media Clips

Please review all links to judge their suitability before using them with your class.

Public Health Agency Provides links to a wide range of health-related websites in one easy to access place

Update on e-cigarettes Further information from the Public Health Agency

Life Skills created by Barclays LifeSkills, created with Barclays, is a free, curriculum-linked programme developed with teachers to help improve the skills and employability of young people in the UK.

BBC Schools Secondary ages 11 to 16 A range of teaching resources to support Personal Social and Health Education

The Baby Borrowers This is a television series that created a unique social experiment by giving five teenage couples, aged between 16 and 19, opportunities to explore the reality of running a household, looking after children and maintaining a relationship.

British Red Cross The teaching resources of this website offers free resources ideal for citizenship and PSHE teaching, tutor time and across the curriculum.

All Stars (Barnardo’s NI) This is a school-based prevention programme addressing substance misuse and other high-risk behaviours delivered by teachers as part of the school curriculum.

Free Teaching Resources Free PSHE Key Stage 3 teaching resources for post-primary teachers

Teenline A site that provides private and confidential online support for children and young people up to the age of 18

The Teenage Cancer Trust The Teenage Cancer Trust have developed free resources targeted at post primary pupils to support cancer awareness. They can provide a free “Understanding Cancer Together” presentation and online resources which include downloadable lesson plans and other teaching materials.

Emotional Intelligence A guide to Emotional Intelligence including a free downloadable Emotional Intelligence Test.


Online trick 'led to teenage boy's suicide' A news article from The Telegraph about an online trick that led to a school boy from Northern Ireland taking his own life.

Guide to Cyberbullying: Awareness and Prevention A site that provides detailed information, guidance and additional resources in relation to cyberbullying.

Relationships and Sexuality Education

Break the Barriers: Girls' Experience of Menstruation in the UKplan-uk.orgA groundbreaking report based on research carried out by the children's charity Plan International UK.

Teenage Pregnancy In this article about teenage planned pregnancy, fifteen-year-old Zena describes how she has always felt very grown up, not like a child or teenager. She has always known she wanted to have children, and when she met boyfriend Chris she discovered he was also keen to become a parent. They are now expecting their first baby.

Tea Consent – How to understand the concept of consent This is a cartoon clip that compares giving consent to drink a cup of tea to consenting to have sex. The link should say (clean) afterwards. Please double check!

Alcohol Awareness

MyDrinkaware A YouTube video answering the question: what is a unit of alcohol?

Chelsea’s choice (Drink driving) This is a hard hitting short film about a high school student named Chelsea who made some choices on prom night that she will live with for the rest of her life. (13 mins)

Non-verbal communication

Miscommunication happens in text because there are no non-verbal cues to indicate intention. This clip shows how face-to-face communication ensures proper understanding.

Impact of fighting

Adam’s Story – Every action has consequences