The Inspire Programme


Developing creative thinkers with a mind to be kind.

The Inspire Programme is a Personal Development programme that aims to develop students into confident, curious, respectful, resilient, creative  and ambitious young people with a mind to be kind. 

The Inspire Programme is designed to be diverse, modern and engaging. It is a curriculum that encourages all students to become successful global citizens with the skills, knowledge  and confidence to have a positive impact on our community.  The programme has been  specifically designed for our particular cohort.

Our Inspire programme will help our students foster lifelong aspirations, goals and values. Education that prepares for life today, and tomorrow. It’s a chance to give every child and young person an equal opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need to thrive now and in the future.

We want our students to embrace and challenge different aspects of society through understanding, reflecting upon previous experiences and making the most of the numerous opportunities provided  to explore the skills, concepts and experiences required for the next stage of their educational  journey and challenge the issue that they have or are faced with. 

The Inspire Programme consists of Inspire Time, Inspire Curriculum and Inspire Opportunities, all of which will allow our  students to explore their place in the world and focus on creating a brighter future.   

The Inspire programme is designed to be diverse, modern and engaging. It is a curriculum that supports all students to become successful global citizens with the skills, knowledge  and confidence to have a positive impact on our community. The programme has been specifically designed for our particular cohort, the main town in North Wirral. As the only Catholic comprehensive school serving this area our students come from over ten feeder primary schools and many travel some distance to school and back each day. Our students come from a range of socio-economic backgrounds including areas of relative affluence and extreme poverty and deprivation. There are 203 students on the SEND register of whom 11 have an educational health care plan. 409 students are Pupil Premium with 437 students on free school meals. 

North Birkenhead was a designated European Objective One area. According to the 2019 Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), levels of deprivation in Wirral have grown since 2015. In 2021, Wirral was the 24th most deprived authority in England (compared to 36th in 2015), based on the proportion of areas which are in the most deprived 10.0% nationally.  54% of our  students are in the lowest 20% of households nationally, 79% in the lowest 40%.  

Research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows life expectancy for men in England’s most deprived areas is 74.1 years, compared with 83.5 in the least deprived areas.

When children look after their mental health and develop their coping skills it can help them to boost their resilience, self-esteem and confidence. Mental health conditions are the greatest single cause of disability in the United Kingdom (UK). In Wirral, 45.0% of the working age population claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) suffer from mental and behavioural disorders, which is higher than the regional average of 36.7% and the average for England of 27.3%. PHE figures estimate that in 2017, 17.4 per 100 residents of Wirral had a common mental disorder, which is similar to the national estimate. The recorded prevalence of depression and anxiety, however, was worse than the figures for England. In terms of severe mental illness, Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) prevalence data from 2017/18 suggests that 1.1% of Wirral’s population have a severe mental illness – 0.16% higher than the national benchmark figure.

Over the past decade the youth have been placed under immense pressure as it responds to increasingly pervasive issues that have threatened the social and personal development of the UK’s young people. Issues such as serious violence, declining mental health as well as the negative consequences of social isolation through social media, and limited employment opportunities have left young people particularly vulnerable.

With this and the contextual data we felt we had to do something all encompassing and different. 

Inspire Time plays a huge part in our students’ daily life at College. Students take part in collective worship and various theme based activities to inspire and develop them as creative thinkers with a mind to be kind.

 Oracy, Numeracy & Literacy and Celebration. 

Speaking, reading, writing and numeracy are among the most important skills children learn. Reading, either independently or through shared reading, helps children to develop their imagination, enhance creativity, strengthen oral language development and communicate more effectively.   Numerical skills are not only essential to academic studies, but also for the ability to be successful mathematicians in everyday life skills such as budgeting, time-management, understanding taxes and salaries as well as mortgages. This will empower students with the skills to operate in society effectively and empower them to lead successful lives.

Evidence shows that engaging in high-quality oracy practices during lessons deepens understanding and is linked with improved test scores and exam grades as well as greater knowledge.  The Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) trials of oral language interventions in schools  demonstrated that students make approximately five months additional progress over a year, rising to six months for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Cambridge University has  robust evidence which states that  the most vulnerable children in our society, including children in areas of disadvantage, looked after children and those with SEN are at high risk of having poor spoken language. We also know that the quality and amount of talk children experience in the early years is a powerful predictor of their future life outcomes as well as the impact social media has on teenagers’ communication skills is an essential part of our Inspire programme.  The ability to communicate effectively is an essential ingredient to both success in school and beyond.

A number of studies have found that celebrating brings significant benefits, including improved physical health and better coping strategies. People who take time to reflect on — and celebrate — their successes are generally more optimistic and  take better care of themselves. Celebrations increase people’s sense of well-being, regardless of socioeconomic factors, education, age or gender. Taking the time to recognise the achievements of our students and allow the students to celebrate their own successes encourages them to take pride in their accomplishments. Celebrating success is an essential element and  It is the driver behind student motivation, self-esteem and creating a positive classroom culture. 

All of these are fundamental, to not only our students’ personal and social development, but also to their ability to understand, evaluate, dissect, and disseminate knowledge about the world and to celebrate them. 

  Well being, P4C, Charity 

This section of Inspire time promotes the importance of students looking after their own wellbeing, how they can support it and where to seek external help when needed. Students explore a range of different charities, showing compassion to others and the world around them. Throughout the year the school community actively gets involved in awareness and charity days; raising funds for those in need and showing empathy towards others. The final aspect of this section is P4C – Philosophy for Children. Here students  explore the big ideas that arise in all areas of education and life experience. P4C uses philosophical dialogue and enquiry to help learners to think, to speak, to listen, to learn and to live together more effectively.



PSHE, RSE, Faith in Humanity 

This section of Inspire time promotes spiritual, moral and cultural development and incorporates good quality  relationships and sex education, as well as focusing on the physical, mental and social well-being of  our students. Our curriculum reinforces the need to be tolerant, and recognises the power of  democracy.  What we teach in Inspire through Respect and Courage will help our students foster lifelong aspirations, goals and values.

PSHE/RSHE 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. Our students will  know how to be ‘safe and healthy, and know how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way.’

We believe our lesson plans for PSHE at St Mary’s do not simply teach students about the issues in the programme of study. It is vital they have the opportunity to explore their attitudes, values and beliefs about them and to develop the skills, language and strategies necessary to manage these issues should they encounter them in their lives.


The Rights Respecting School Award in the Faith in Humanity sessions  improves the lives of children in the UK by taking a whole school approach to putting children’s rights at the A heart of school policy and practice. as a result of participation in the Rights Respecting Schools Award children at schools who have progressed through the Award:

  • Know about rights
  • Can exercise their rights
  • Feel valued
  • Can recognise the rights of others

Knowledge and understanding of rights is central to change in these areas since rights not only set standards that children can expect, but also empower children to challenge when these standards are not met, and demonstrates impact for children and whole school communities in the following areas:

  • Children learn about rights
  • Children can exercise their rights
  • A culture of respect across the school
  • Pupil engagement – a shared sense of community and belonging
  • A culture where children’s voices are heard and valued
  • Children take their right to an education seriously
  • Global citizenship – children believe they can change the world for the better
  • Children develop self-esteem and value themselves
  • A school environment where children feel safe and cared for
  • Adults also benefit from a rights respecting culture


  Agents of change, Creativity, CIAG

In our ‘Agents of Change’ students gain a greater understanding of power dynamics, develop respect for cultures different from their own and learn how to affect positive change in their communities. Engaging in social justice-centred discussions can also help children develop skills in critical thinking, self-advocacy, problem solving, and project management. (issues concerning democracy, being a ‘British Citizen’, human rights, cultural and religious expectations, the constitution, the role of the monarch, legislation, law making, elections, voting and political pressure groups).

PISA makes a powerful case for the value of creative thinking. It can have a positive influence on students’ academic progress, identity, and socio-emotional development by underpinning the interpretation of experiences, actions, and events in novel and personally meaningful ways.

Beyond the classroom, creative thinking can help students adapt to a constantly and rapidly changing world. Supporting students’ creative thinking and the implementation of the creative can help them to contribute to the development of the society they live in, today and as future workers: organisations and societies around the world increasingly depend on innovation and knowledge creation to address emerging and complex challenges, giving urgency to innovation and creative thinking as collective enterprises. 


View our CIAG Map 

Our aim is for all children to express themselves, unleash their creativity and to be inspired by their own boundless capacity for personal growth.      

The Inspire Curriculum aims to develop the change makers of the future through exploring identity, social justice and conservation exploring  the idea that the arts can empower young people to explore the world around them and find ways not just of expressing their responses to that world, but to find ways to change it. 

The Inspire Curriculum gives our students the opportunity to further develop the five creative habits through thematic projects that will encourage students  to understand and celebrate what it means to be a young person growing up in the twenty-first century in a supportive, creative and dynamic atmosphere. 

Term 1Term 2Term 3
Year 7Identity – Who Am I?Social Justice – Where am I?Conservation – How can I?
Year 8Identity – Who are we?Social Justice – Where can we go?Conservation – How can we?
Year 9Identity – Who can I be?Social Justice – Where can we make a difference?Conservation – Can we change other people’s minds?


Inspire opportunities  is designed to encourage students in all year groups to take part in new challenges and identify their talents and potential, pursuing this through specific activities. 

We believe there are opportunities that all students should experience during their childhood and school years – data and student voice informs our planning. For example, 5.5% of the current student population have never been on holiday – this allows us to target residential experiences for those students. 34.9% have never raised money for charity – this allows us through Inspire Time to target this experience and 49.1% haven’t visited a University, therefore we plan a University experience for students before they leave. 

All students can contribute and participate in the extra- curricular programme. A key focus within all activities is to build self- confidence, develop character and demonstrate how to improve and  apply our core values.  

Extra-curricular activities are available in all subjects and take place at lunch time and after school, enabling all to grow, develop and excel beyond the classroom. Regular student voice informs our offer.

The personal development of students is central to their time at St Mary’s where a wide range of enrichment opportunities present themselves through Inspire Opportunities. Whether it’s experiencing the German Christmas Markets, the Battlefields of Belgium or the home of Harry Potter on the Warner Bros studio tour there is something for everyone.

In addition, students are encouraged to learn about the place they live through experiences of the local town and surrounding area as well as immersing themselves in cultural experiences at the theatre or in art galleries locally and nationally.