Character Development Day Kickstarts the Spring Term

Today we welcomed back all year groups to Penrice Academy as the Spring Term got underway with our Character Development Day. As you may be aware, character development is a big part of our mission here at Penrice; we want all of our students to develop as well-rounded individuals with education both inside and outside of the classroom.

‘Character is a combination of the traits that set people apart so they can achieve their dreams’

With this in mind, there were a wide range of activities in place across all ages today with mystery challenges, VIP visitors and insights from Penrice alumni.

Year 7 – Courage

Year 7 were challenged to identify their weaknesses and think about how they are going to turn them into strengths through courage. The focus was not just limited to academic weaknesses, but the wider picture too, such as social development and friendship groups. Year 11 were on hand to help out with short 60-second videos on how they have shown courage during their time at Penrice.

A highlight for Year 7 was undoubtedly the blindfolded assault course where the pupils we challenged to work in pairs, guiding each other through the course.

Year 8 – Citizenship

Year 8’s start to the day didn’t quite go to plan. With the weather forecast showing Period 1 as the only window of opportunity for clear skies, the year group headed out to take on their fun run as part of their learning surrounding local citizenship, raising money for the school’s chosen charity for 2022 (the RNLI). Unfortunately, in true Cornish fashion, the heavens opened as soon as the starting whistle blew! We commend our Year 8 students for showing great determination and resilience in completing the challenge despite the elements being against them.

Later in the day, students were set a challenge by Waterhaul, a company in Newquay, who turn beach waste into sunglasses. The students were tasked with creating a logo and a slogan to put on bins around the school site. They were also challenged to take part in a litter pick.

Year 9 – Choices

Year 9 spent the day on getting GCSE-ready. They were asked to think about their GCSE choices and, with January being the month for new resolutions, they were asked to think about positive habits they can adopt in their learning moving forward.

A key highlight from the day was a Microsoft Teams seminar with a wide range of Penrice alumni, discussing career paths and choices. Guest speakers included Richard Whitehouse – Local Democracy Reporter for Reach PLC (Cornwall Live), Stefan Richards – Music Teacher at Looe Community Academy, Joanne Retallick – Registered Veterinary Nurse at Penmellyn Veterinary Group, Tom Liddicoat – Health Improvement Practitioner at Healthy Cornwall and many more.

The main takeaway from the session was for our students to remain curious and open-minded when considering careers, trying to expose themselves to a range of experiences whilst also not being afraid to fail.

Year 10 – Civic Responsibility

Year 10 learnt about the power of voice and the privilege of living in a democracy. The day started off with some teaching of the context and history of Britain’s democracy, including its struggles, remembering the times at which many have had to die to protect our democracy. The students were then given a unique opportunity to meet with Steve Double, our local MP from the Conservative party, asking him some challenging questions including:

  • Should the age of voting be lowered to 16?
  • Should there be a tourist tax in Cornwall? And…
  • Should there be a new hospital built in Cornwall?

The day ended with Year 10 being challenged to call out things that aren’t right, to have a voice and not be a bystander.

Ms Coleman, Deputy Headteacher, finished by saying

“The level of student engagement has been fantastic today. This is not a one off, standalone day. Character is something that we will be working on throughout the year and this is simply the start. We look forward to building on the momentum of today as the year progresses.”

Year 11 – Careers

And let’s not forget our Year 11s! They spent the day with Mrs Lorraine Turner, our Head of Careers, focussing on their next steps when they leave us later in 2022.

We look forward to seeing everyone on Monday when we return to the regular timetable.