Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
What is SMSC?
SMSC is the over-arching umbrella that encompasses all areas of personal development across the whole curriculum. Ofsted puts SMSC ‘at the heart’ of school development. It requires schools to think about the kind of people we aspire to be, the kind of world we aspire to create, and the kind of education we aspire to provide.
Ofsted define SMSC as follows:
Students’ spiritual development:
- Ability to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life and their interest in 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
Students’ moral development:
- Ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives; recognise legal boundaries and, in doing so, respect the civil and criminal law of England
- Understanding of the consequences of 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
Students’ social development:
- 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 social-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
- Effectiveness 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 develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain
Students’ cultural development:
- Understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and those of others
- Understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield as essential element of their preparation for life in a modern British school
- 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, as shown by their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socioeconomic groups in the local, national and global communities
What are our key responsibilities as a school?
Under UK government guidelines, all schools must actively seek to promote and develop students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness. In order to achieve this at Hunters Hill, we have taken the extra step of delivering these key areas as a standalone lesson, covering not only the statutory requirements of SMSC, but also a broad range of current, poignant and thought-provoking topics. We encourage our students to explore their own and others’ thoughts and feelings on a wide variety of themes within a safe, structured classroom setting.
How is SMSC taught?
Students are taught SMSC for one hour a week in their form groups, where relationships and familiarity mean that they feel comfortable sharing and exploring thoughts, views and opinions on what can be some sensitive subjects. The subject is broken down into three termly blocks:
Autumn term: Citizenship
Topics include: our royal family; local, national and international politics; knife crime; extremism; life after death; child labour; fair trade and animal testing.
Spring term: Careers
Topics include: values and beliefs; employability; health and safety in the workplace; public services; writing a CV and interview techniques.
Summer term: PSHE
Topics include: substance abuse; personal care and hygiene; sex and relationships education; positive relationships and personal safety.
The school’s established Religious Education programme runs parallel to timetabled SMSC lessons and fulfils further elements of the ‘Spiritual’ requirements of SMSC. In addition to classroom-based lessons we have incorporated programmes run by the theatre group Round Midnight, trips to the local theatre, and external guests and speakers serve to further enhance students’ learning and engagement in the subject. Specialist staff deliver certain statutory parts of the curriculum, (such as Sex and Relationships Education (SRE)) to ensure that students receive the very highest quality provision in what can be sensitive subject areas.