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SMSC and British Values

What do we mean by Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural development (SMSC)?

220. Provision for the spiritual development of pupils includes developing their:

  • ability to be reflective about their own beliefs (religious or otherwise) and perspective on life
  • knowledge of, and respect for, different people’s faiths, feelings and values
  • sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them
  • use of imagination and creativity in their learning
  • willingness to reflect on their experiences

221. Provision for the moral development of pupils includes developing their:

  • ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives, and to recognise legal boundaries and, in doing so, respect the civil and criminal law of England
  • understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions
  • interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and ability to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues.

222. Provision for the social development of pupils includes developing their:

  • use of a range of social skills in different contexts, for example working and socialising with other pupils, including those from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
  • willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
  • acceptance of and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. They will develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.

223. Provision for the cultural development of pupils includes developing their:

  • understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that of others
  • understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures in the school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain
  • ability to recognise, and value, the things we share in common across cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic communities
  • knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values, and in continuing to develop Britain
  • willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural opportunities
  • interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity. This is shown by their respect and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.

Taken from the Ofsted School Inspection Handbook September 2019 


Why is SMSC important?

The statutory requirement that schools should encourage pupils’ SMSC development, as well as their academic progress, was first included in the Education Reform Act 1988, then in the Education Act of 2002 and the Academies Act of 2010. 

2.1

Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which:

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society
  • prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life

Taken from the National Curriculum


A House of Lords education debate clearly recognised that there is more to life than achieving high standards in academic subjects. The task was described as: 

“…the training of good human beings, purposeful and wise, themselves with a vision of what it is to be human and the kind of society that makes that possible.” (Hansard 2006)

This has expressed itself in education since then as the ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda, SEAL (Social & Emotional Aspects of Learning), Community Cohesion & British Values.

The world around us has changed considerably and will continue to do so – a technology and social media revolution, environmental concerns, increased migration and travel, the threat from extremism to name a few - but the recognition that to thrive in modern society young people need life skills, a way of determining what is morally right, to retain a sense of wonder and curiosity towards the world around them, to be culturally and religiously literate, emotionally self-aware and mentally resilient, socially adept and appreciative of the importance of being part of a local, British and worldwide community with commonly held values remains unchanged.  


How does SMSC fit with the Highworth vision?

Successful SMSC provision should permeate the whole school and be linked to everything the school does, its ethos, values and the kind of place it is. Our school motto is what we encourage our students to do and at Highworth we promote a community where all members are:

  • Reflective: creative and innovative
  • Eager: for life-long learning
  • Aiming: to achieve their full potential
  • Considerate: confident, independent individuals
  • Happy: in a caring, respectful community

Where will I find SMSC in the school?

Successful SMSC is everywhere but not necessarily obvious. It might be visible through decisions taken by the Leadership Team, the interactions and relationships between everyone who is part of the Highworth community, staff or students. It can be found within the academic curriculum, lessons and extra-curricular opportunities or it can be promoted through the pastoral support system, vertical tutoring, opportunities for older students to mentor younger ones and Focus Days.

It is an expectation at this school that all staff can, and should, contribute to the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development of students. It is also an expectation that all students can share in positively enriching the experiences of their peers whilst at Highworth.


British Values

Schools are expected to actively promote British Values, particularly with respect to the Equalities Act of 2010. British Values were defined in the 2011 Prevent Strategy and the 2019 Ofsted Inspection Handbook as:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

Where will I find British Values in the school?

Successful British Values provision should permeate the whole school and be linked to everything the school does, its ethos, values and the kind of place it is. It can also be found within the school curriculum and throughout the pastoral programme. It is an expectation at this school that all staff can, and should, contribute to British Values. It is also an expectation that all students can share in positively enriching the experiences of their peers whilst at Highworth.