What is SMSC?
Important to provide some basic definitions of the components of SMSC:
Spiritual development –It is about the development of a sense of identity, self-worth, personal insight, meaning and purpose. It is about the development of a pupil’s spirit, soul, personality or character.
Moral development – enabling pupils to build a framework of moral values, aligned with the law of the land, which regulates their personal behaviour. It is also about gaining an understanding of the range of views and the reasons for the range. It is also about developing an opinion about the different views.
Social development – young people working effectively with each other and the development of the inter-personal skills necessary for successful relationships. It is about functioning effectively in a multi-racial, multi-cultural society and making a positive contribution to the school community and wider society.
Cultural development – helping pupils to develop an understanding of their own culture and other cultures in their town, region and in the country as a whole. Promoting pupils’ cultural development is intimately linked with schools’ attempts to value cultural diversity and prevent racism.
The Importance of SMSC
Ofsted state “the most important role of teaching is to promote learning and to raise pupils’ achievement”. This is immediately followed by teaching “is also important in promoting their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development”. We can expect that all observations will have a clear focus upon SMSC provision in the classroom.
The focus upon SMSC is important as a school can be judged as ‘requires improvement’ because there are “weaknesses in the overall provision for pupils’ SMSC”. If Ofsted observe “important weaknesses in the overall provision for pupils’ SMSC” then the school will be judged to be ‘inadequate’.
SMSC provision is outlined in each of the four key judgements and the overall judgement.
Implementing SMSC into the classroom
There are five parts to the SMSC regulations, which are shown below:
- Enable pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self- confidence
- Enable pupils to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the law
- Encourage pupils to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative and understand how they can contribute to community life
- Provide pupils with a broad general knowledge of public institutions and services in England
- Assist pupils to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures in a way that promotes tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions
I expect that almost all of your lessons currently provide opportunities for SMSC. You can pick from the following examples to highlight how you are providing opportunities to develop SMSC. These should be highlighted in your lesson plans.
Enable pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self- confidence
- Promote teaching styles which value pupils’ questions and give them space for their own thoughts, ideas, and concerns;
- Teachers should be acting as role models of the values desired in pupils
- Ensure an environment is created where every child may reach their potential regardless of gender, race, disability, or other equalities issues;
- Help pupils to be aware of their potential and support them to achieve it;
- Where pupils already have religious or non religious beliefs, support and encourage these beliefs in ways which are personal and relevant to the pupils;
- Provide opportunities for spiritual development through learning outside the classroom, for example drama, music, art, visits to museums, historic buildings;
- Encourage pupils to explore and critically analyse what interests and inspires themselves and others;
- Encourage pupils to reflect and learn from reflection;
- Encourage individual endeavour and celebrate achievement and success, both within and outside the classroom, such as through drama, sports, music and outdoor pursuits;
- Encourage pupils to work and cooperate as part of a team;
- Provide opportunities for pupils to develop leadership skills and challenge so they can take care of themselves and others, and develop self-reliance.
Enable pupils to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the law
- Teach pupils how today’s legal system has evolved and why it is important, and help them understand the law and the importance of abiding by it;
- Provide a clear framework of values and behaviours which is promoted consistently through all aspects of the school, with teachers as role models;
- Inform parents of school ethos and procedures so that what is learnt at school can be supported at home, and ensure this ethos aligns with the law of the land;
- Give pupils opportunities across the curriculum to explore and develop moral concepts and values, such as right and wrong, justice, personal rights and responsibilities;
- Reward good insight and behaviour;
- Teach pupils about citizenship, and the importance of being a good citizen;
- Discuss in an informed and balanced way breaches of agreed moral codes where they arise, and their impact on society and themselves;
- Provide models of virtue through literature, humanities, sciences, arts, assemblies, relevant role models, and acts of worship;
- Reinforce the importance of a cohesive, harmonious, law abiding society though images, posters, classroom displays, exhibitions, etc;
- Address discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and other criteria, and promote racial and other forms of equality.
Encourage pupils to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative and understand how they can contribute to community life
- Foster a sense of community, with common and inclusive values which ensure that everyone, irrespective of ethnic origin, nationality, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and religious or non-religious beliefs, can flourish;
- Encourage pupils to work co-operatively;
- Provide positive group activities, for example, through assemblies, team activities, residential experiences, school theatre and music productions;
- Encourage pupils to take responsibility for their actions, for example, respect for property, care of the environment, and developing codes of behaviour;
- School linking or partnership work to give pupils the chance to mix with pupils from different areas/cultures/faith;
- Help pupils to develop personal qualities which are valued in society, for example, thoughtfulness, honesty, respect for difference and sound moral principles;
- Provide opportunities for participating in different communities – for example, religious, cultural, local and global;
- Provide opportunities for pupils to exercise leadership and responsibility;
- Ensure that through lessons and other formal and informal settings opportunities are provided for pupils to demonstrate initiative, develop their interests and organise activities for themselves and others.
Provide pupils with a broad general knowledge of public institutions and services in England
- Teach pupils about democracy and citizenship, and the importance of being a good citizen;
- Ensure that all pupils within the school have a voice that is listened to;
- Ensure that pupils are aware of their rights and the rights of others as human beings;
- Teach pupils about what public institutions and services are available, what they are for, and how they are funded;
- Provide positive and effective links with the world of work (for example, shadowing, work experience, and visits from professionals) and the wider community (for example school visits, including to public institutions, taking part in community events);
- Provide opportunities for pupils to learn about and engage in local and national democratic processes, including having democratic processes within the school such as a school council whose members are voted for by the pupils.
Assist pupils to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures in a way that promotes tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions
- Provide opportunities for pupils to explore their own cultural assumptions and values;
- Provide opportunities for pupils to participate in literature, drama, music, art, crafts and other cultural events and encourage pupils to reflect on their significance;
- Provide opportunities for pupils to mix with children from other cultures, for example through school linking programmes;
- Give pupils the opportunity to explore different values, beliefs, and cultures through a variety of approaches, including discussion and debate, in order to gain understanding;
- Present authentic accounts of the attitudes, values and traditions of diverse cultures;
- Develop partnerships with outside agencies and individuals to extend pupils’ cultural awareness, for example, theatre, museum, concert and gallery visits, resident artists and foreign exchanges;
- Audit the quality and nature of opportunities for pupils to extend their cultural development across the curriculum, particularly developing an understanding of the cultures of the UK.
Steve is Deputy Head at Devonport High School for Boys. I have an interest in AfL and the use of technology to promote learning and teaching. I'm a proud dad and husband, and enjoy travelling, playing water polo, photography and spending time with my friends and family.