Character & Leadership Arc

At King’s character development is both taught and caught through lessons and the constant modelling of our ‘Seven Pillars of Character’. These pillars are bound together through the constant use of our acronym ASPIRE.

ASPIRE Graphic 05.22

Aspiration & Achievement

Through the development of these character traits we want our students to develop not only the highest of aspirations but also the drive and determination to achieve those aspirations


By becoming more self-aware our students will gradually develop a greater understanding of themselves as a person as well as their strengths and, perhaps more importantly, the areas in which they need to develop.


by taking a ‘professional’ approach to life in King’s we encourage our students to develop ‘self-pride’ in all that they undertake. This includes being punctual, attending daily, dressing well, presenting their work to the highest professional standards, and adopting a professional approach to their behaviour.


We help our students understand that integrity is not just about telling the truth. It is about being true to their beliefs and upholding them; it is about having pride in all that they do, always working to their true ability and behaving correctly to other people at all times.


By endeavour we mean working hard to achieve success; being focussed on the task in hand; tackling it conscientiously and diligently; having the perseverance, resilience, tenacity and grit to keep going when others start to give up.


We help our students understand that respect is not simply about being polite, courteous and good mannered. It is about respecting your own ability and working hard to achieve well. It is about valuing the differences in others and looking after our planet and its limited resources.

Character Curriculum

At the heart of King’s is our ASPIRE code. We believe in encouraging our students to use a moral compass to guide themselves through life. It’s embedded in school life, even in the language we use.

Each learning cycle will focus on one value in-depth and students will take part in linked assemblies and Character lessons which include PSHE and Leadership. Additionally, each learning cycle has a bespoke Super Learning Afternoon for each year group that links to the ASPIRE focus. World of Work workshops take place each learning cycle, ensuring our students are equipped for tomorrow’s world and every 7 weeks our Parliament Ministry meetings take place. Every student attends a Ministry of their choice and so feel they have a voice at King’s.

We have also created a bespoke Character curriculum that allows students to understand PSHE topics and link them to our values. Here we can discuss a variety of important topics from British Values to Relationships and Sex Education. All of our Character lessons allow students to reflect on their overall well-being and place in the world. We also invite guest speakers and local charities to help deliver workshops to promote the importance of personal and economic well-being.

In the Foundation years, students have an hour a week to study PSHE topics and will link them to the targeted value. For example, when focusing on the ASPIRE value of respect, pupils will look at smoking and discuss how smoking shows a lack of respect for their physical well-being.

As students progress into their Senior years they will continue to discuss topics such as LGBTQ+ rights, careers and democracy in Britain. Relating these PSHE topics to our values encourages our students to grow into well-rounded young people, ready for living in the wider world.

Additional to this, our Year 7 and 8 students study Public Speaking, Philosophy, and Ethics (PPE). This curriculum is linked to the Character programme and ASPIRE values. It promotes tolerance of different faiths and relates ethical topics to their world and their well-being.

Our ASPIRE values permeate everyday life here at King’s and prepare our students to be resilient and respectful citizens.

It is a fundamental aim of King’s that we place as much emphasis on both leadership and character development as we do on academic success. Good leaders are people who have a good vision of where they are going in life, are articulate in that they can communicate and align people with that vision and have the confidence to take people with them. They also display both integrity and humility. At the heart of the academy therefore it is the firm belief that we must aim to create moments when our students can see and believe in themselves as never before and to translate such moments into lessons for everyday life. 

Leadership Curriculum

Leadership is delivered as part of all students’ core curriculum in two ways. Firstly, leadership theory is delivered by teachers through thought-provoking and exciting leadership packages.

Secondly, the practical application of leadership is delivered through discovery and adventure within unfamiliar, outdoor-based environments provided through our Personal Development Team and other leading outdoor education providers including the Armed Forces. Students complete a leadership residential in years 7 & 8 and from year 9 all students begin their Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award with the view to complete Bronze in year 9 and Silver in year 10/11. 

The residential programme uses the outdoors as a medium for learning, allowing students to:

  • Develop independence through self-confidence, self-direction and self-knowledge
  • Sharpen their reflective and critical-thinking skills
    Enhance their appreciation of, and respect for, the natural environment
  • Discover personal strengths
  • Learn how to be effective leaders and cooperative team members

Through experiential learning of the outdoors, students hone their leadership and team-building skills while learning about themselves, others and the world around them. The leadership program is mandatory in Years 7 through 11 and becomes increasingly challenging as each year progresses. 

Adventure and challenges are inextricably linked within King’s residential programme. We strive to develop the individual and the group through considered skill development with careful handling of emotional well-being. The expectation is that students will return having faced challenges, risks and adventure in the outdoors and be able to apply the learning to everyday life.

Each residential course teaches the following as the core curriculum:

  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • Leadership
  • Survival skills
  • Navigation
  • Journaling reflection
  • Trip-planning
  • Hazard and risk management
  • Expedition behaviour and group dynamics
  • Group processing and communication
  • Respect for the natural environment