Lesson 3: Meaning and purpose: Steps to success

Children identify their strengths and areas they would like to develop, creating goals to help them achieve these.

Learning objective

  • To understand their strengths and set themselves achievable goals

National curriculum

All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice.

The PSHE Association Programme of Study recommends pupils are taught:

  • H23. to identify what they are good at, what they like and dislike
  • H24. how to manage when finding things difficult

Success criteria

  • I can say what I am good at
  • I can say what I want to get better at
  • I can break down goals into small, achievable steps
  • I know how to ask for help

Cross-curricular links

  • None relevant for this lesson

Before the lesson


  • Teacher video: Meaning and purpose
Teacher video: Meaning and purpose

Have ready

  • Presentation: Super skills (see Main event)
  • Activity: Steps to success ladder (one per pupil)
  • ‘I’ll make a man out of you’ clip from Disney’s ‘Mulan’ which can be found online

Download classroom resources

Activity: Ladder to success
icon download

Attention grabber

Show the Mulan clip (which can be found online) about practising, improving, working towards a goal and achieving.

Ask the pupils to consider how Mulan felt when things were not going well and then when she finally reached the top of the post. Ask them to think of times when they have felt like this or been in similar situations.

Main event

In pairs, ask the children to discuss what they are good at and what they enjoy (these are often, but not always, the same). Share ideas as to why this might be. Being good at something makes us feel good, so we like it more; when we like something we practise it more often and so get better at it.

Show the Presentation: Super skills to help the children think about what they are good at. Once they have had plenty of time to consider their main strengths, bring them together in a circle and get them to take turns to name at least one of the things that they are good at.

Presentation: Super skills

Display on your interactive whiteboard

Ask the children to think about how they can help other people by using these skills.

Ask pupils to choose a skill that someone else in the class has that they would like to get better at. How can they ask this person for help to improve?

Give each pupil a copy of the Activity: Steps to success ladder and ask them to write their chosen skill as the goal at the top.

Before filling it out, the children should talk to someone in the class who mentioned that skill as a strength during the circle activity. Ask them:

  • What is the trickiest thing about…?
  • How did you get better at…?
  • What skills are important in…?

Using this information, the children then write or draw actions on each rung of their Activity: Steps to success ladder, as these will be the steps to help them to achieve their goal.


Pupils needing extra support: Might need help in recognising their strengths and so could benefit from an adult or peer giving them examples of when they have shown a skill. It could be helpful to provide the children with examples of how to break down a skill into smaller, achievable goals.

Pupils working at greater depth: Should be able to explain how they will reach their goal in greater detail, explaining when, where and how they will develop this new skill.

Wrapping up

Ask pupils to consider:

  • When am I going to practise these skills?
  • Where am I going to practise them?
  • How often will I practise?
  • Is there anyone that can help me?

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding

Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Recognising and describing what they are good at and what skills they would like to develop. Creating a complete ladder detailing achievable steps which work towards their goal.

Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: Describing what they are good at as well as providing examples of how they know this. Identifying what they would like to get better at and quickly suggesting small steps which will work towards this goal.


  • Skills

  • Practise

  • Progress

  • Strategy

  • Monitor

Created by:
Elaine Bousfield,  
Wellbeing specialist
Elaine worked for many years as a therapist with young people. She is the founder and chair of XenZone and its children and young people’s counselling service, kooth.com. Kooth delivers an online counselling and therapy service. It is also an online community…
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