SMSC & British Values
What is SMSC?
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development is the over-arching umbrella that encompasses 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.
The spiritual development of pupils is shown by their ability to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that informs their perspective on life and their interest in 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, the use of imagination and creativity in their learning and the willingness to reflect on their experiences.
The Moral Development of pupils is shown by their: ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives, recognise legal boundaries and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England. The understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions and the 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.
The Social Development of pupils is shown by 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. A 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 and a acceptance 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.
The Cultural Development of pupils is shown by their 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 an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain School, a knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values, and in continuing to develop Britain and a willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural opportunities.
Promoting British Values at Merton Bank
Schools in England are required by the government to actively promote fundamental British values to their pupils, both in lessons and in extracurricular activities.
The guidance works alongside spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development, replacing the previous language of “respect” for British values with the requirement to actively promote them.
At Merton Bank Primary School we value the diverse ethnic backgrounds of all pupils and families and undertake a variety of events and lessons to celebrate these. We have found this approach to be enriching for all parties as it teaches tolerance and respect for the differences in our community and the wider world.
At Merton Bank these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is embedded within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our Junior Leadership Team who are elected through a democratic process. Our pupils have been involved in the development of the school behaviour policy including rewards and sanctions and have taken an active role in establishing our school values and ethos.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school collective worship. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police; Fire Service etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety, PSHE lessons and Rights Respecting work. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Our school ethos and behaviour policy revolve around our Core Values one of which is ‘Respect’, and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Posters around the school promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour policy. We have also embarked on the Rights Respecting Schools Journey to inform our children of their rights and why they are important to enable our children to develop as well rounded, respectful members of the community.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
We celebrate our differences within our school community to enhance our pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and give them opportunities to experience such diversity in a respectful, supportive environment. Discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying are covered by our bespoke curriculum either on a timetabled basis or as impromptu learning opportunities as required. The school has high-profile ‘Language Days’ that run throughout the year, linking to languages spoken by our EAL pupils to develop inclusivity. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.