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SMSC and British Values

What is SMSC? 

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development (SMSC) and British values contribute to a well-developed and balanced young person and, alongside their academic qualifications, helps to ensure students are ready for a successful life beyond school in modern Britain.

Spiritual development includes:

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

Moral development includes:

  • an ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong, to readily apply this understanding in their own lives, recognising and respecting legal boundaries in the UK
  • understanding the consequences of their behaviour and actions
  • investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues whilst understanding and appreciating the viewpoints of others on these issues.

Social development includes:

  • using 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
  • being willing to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
  • accepting and engaging with fundamental British values.


What are British Values?

Highworth actively promotes the British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths or beliefs. This is particularly with respect to the Equalities Act of 2010.

Cultural development (or cultural capital) includes:

  • understanding and appreciating the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that of others, both in school and in wider society
  • recognising, and valuing, the things we share in common across cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic communities
  • a knowledge of Britain’s democratic Parliamentary system and its central role in shaping Britain's history and values, and in continuing to develop Britain
  • being willing to participate in, and respond positively, to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural opportunities
  • exploring, understanding, accepting, respecting and celebrating different faiths and cultural diversity, whether local, national or global communities.


Why are SMSC and British Values important?

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

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 and British Values fit with the Highworth vision?

Successful SMSC and 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. 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 and British Values in the school?

Successful SMSC and British Values should permeate the whole school and be linked to everything the school does, its ethos, values and the kind of place it is. It 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, mentor period and Focus days and opportunities for older students to mentor younger ones.

It is an expectation at this school that all staff can, and should, contribute to the SMSC and British Values students need for life beyond school. It is also an expectation that all students can share in positively enriching the experiences of their peers whilst at Highworth.