Personal Development and Mutual Understanding

Personal Development and Mutual Understanding

Personal Development and Mutual Understanding (PDMU) is an Area of Learning in the primary curriculum. It focuses on encouraging children’s emotional and social development, confidence, independence, and health and safety awareness, and on developing their moral thinking, values and actions.

Teachers should enable children to develop knowledge, understanding and skills in two connected strands:

  • Personal Understanding and Health
  • Mutual Understanding in the Local and Wider Community.

The first strand addresses personal and emotional issues, and health, wellbeing and safety matters. The second strand examines personal and social relationships, and the need for tolerance and respect.

Teachers should connect children’s learning across the strands and embed the key elements that underpin the curriculum objectives. This brings meaning and relevance to their experiences in school and in the world around them.

PDMU encourages children to become personally, emotionally and socially effective. It also encourages them 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.

Children should have opportunities to investigate issues for themselves, suggest solutions and make decisions based on what they have learned. This helps them to naturally develop positive values and attitudes.

For further details, see the Statutory Requirements for Personal Development and Mutual Understanding at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

This Area of Learning enables children to develop respect for others and explore community similarities and differences. It is therefore a key vehicle for embedding Shared Education in school partnerships. See the Department of Education’s Sharing Works: A Policy for Shared Education for more information.

Whole Curriculum Skills and Capabilities

Children should have opportunities to develop their Cross-Curricular Skills of Communication, Using Mathematics and Using ICT, and their Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities through PDMU.


For more information on PDMU, contact: