"You have the right to live and grow." Article 6
What is SMSC?
It is the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development of the children in our school. This is not a separate subject that is taught explicitly but an aspect of learning that should be present in lessons and behaviour in school. Some lessons lend themselves more easily to direct SMSC development such as PSHE, English or RE. We also aim to develop SMSC through behaviour expectations, promotion of the six school virtues and our attitudes in school.
SMSC Development Opportunities
SMSC development in our school is more than curriculum coverage or wider opportunities to develop the ‘whole’ of our children; it embodies what we do and how we do it. Our school motto of “learn for life” encapsulates our ethos and school values. Our strong ethos, coupled with our ultimate aim of our children leaving us as ‘good people’ ensures that the planned opportunities below are utilised to a greater aim than a curriculum opportunity; they are often just the starting point for supporting our pupils to be spiritually, morally, socially and culturally rounded people. We fully appreciate that some of the strongest SMSC work can come from real life current affairs and local issues – staff do not shy away from these, and neither do our children. We are a confident and open school. We are a Silver Rights Respecting school. Our approach to SMSC is embedded throughout our ‘Vision and Values in Action’ documentation, which should be read in partnership with this document. Below are some examples of how we ensure children have this opportunity in school but it is very much part of the ethos and vision of the school:
We encourage spiritual development during RE lessons, assemblies and by welcoming and accepting the spiritual beliefs of others within our school community. Children are confident to share and are proud their belief systems. We create opportunities for the children to experience spiritual development by creating a curriculum which celebrates and promotes creativity and imagination. With a high value of role play in Early years with dedicated role play areas to development a sense of imagination, creativity and fascination. We encourage children to value their school environment as well as the world around them.
"You have the right to choose your own religion and beliefs." Article 14
We develop moral understanding and problem solving through our behaviour expectations. At Mount Pleasant we are respectful, ready and safe through PSHE sessions and our unicef Rights respecting award. We look specifically at actions with a moral dilemma and discuss them to develop the children’s understanding, watching BBC Newsround daily as well as unicef article of the week. We feel it is important that children take initiative and act responsibly with consideration for others; distinguish between right and wrong and make informed and independent judgements.
"You have the right to give your opinion and for adults to listen." Article 12
We have a wide variety of opportunities for social development in school including: PSHE lessons; after school clubs; restaurant club ; Social skills intervention groups; a consistent behaviour policy with clear consequences and rewards (see behaviour policy and guidance) and a restorative approach to supporting children to make good decisions. We ensure all pupils have a voice through an elected School council who have the power to make changes in school and clubs such as debating further explore the promotion of British Values. We develop an understanding of their individual and group identity, learning about service in the school and wider community and beginning to understand the need for social justice and a concern for the disadvantaged.
"You have the right to play, rest and be creative." Article 31
The cultural development of our children is encouraged and supported through assemblies; RE lessons; understanding different cultures; themed days and weeks and in welcoming and accepting the cultural beliefs of everyone in our school community. All curriculum areas should seek illustrations and examples drawn from as wide a range of cultural contexts as possible. We recognise, respect and celebrate the value and richness of cultural diversity in Britain, and how these influence individuals and society as well as recognising worldwide faiths.
"You have the right to practice your own culture, language and religion." Article 30
How do we ensure there are opportunities for SMSC development?
At Mount Pleasant Primary School, we recognise that the personal development of children, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, plays a significant part in their ability to learn and achieve. We want to give each child the opportunity to explore social and moral issues; develop a sense of social and moral responsibility and promote the British Values. We therefore aim to provide an education that provides children with opportunities to explore and develop:
Their own values and beliefs
Their own spiritual awareness
Their own high standards of personal behaviour
Their team and collaborative skills
A positive, caring attitude towards other people
An understanding of their social and cultural traditions
An understanding of democratic processes and the law in England
An appreciation and acceptance of the diversity and richness of their cultures
Their opportunities to experience other cultures
Their ability to celebrate each other’s successes
Their access to a range of educational visits
Our opportunities for SMSC development are continuously changing and evolving. We also have an SMSC Strategy Team who meet half termly to ensure the strategic direction of SMSC in school.
Links with the wider Community
Visitors are welcomed into our school
Links with the local churches are fostered
Visits to places of worship of other faiths will be arranged to support the understanding of different cultures
The school supports the work of a variety of charities
The development of a strong home-school agreement is regarded as very important, enabling parents and teachers to work in an effective partnership to support the children
Children will be taught to appreciate and take responsibility for their local environment
Liaison with local secondary schools to support the primary curriculum and effective transition, takes place regularly
Taking part in the Darlington Carnival, Eurovision Song Contest, Darlington Dance Festival and communities events
Take part in Darlington Young Peoples’ Engagement & Justice Service to promote SMSC development
How do we record and evidence our SMSC development in school?
Across school, evidence is collected in a portfolio. This showcases all of the activities in which the children take part, to promote their SMSC development. Assemblies are an important part of the school day and therefore we capture the range of themes and celebrations in a whole school portfolio.
An audit is completed annually. This consists of a review of SMSC provision and the impact on behaviours and attitudes. It determines future actions and curriculum activities.
Planning / assemblies
When teachers plan lessons across the curriculum, they identify opportunities to promote SMSC within the lessons. A well planned assembly timetable indicates when SMSC areas are able to be covered along with British Values and the PSHE core themes.
We use pupil voice and questionnaires to see the impact on the children’s development. We also give questionnaires to staff about how it impacts on the children’s development to give the whole picture from different points of view.