Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Education
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development including ‘fundamental’ British Values
The formal and supplementary curricula ensure that students develop their spiritual awareness, sense of moral purpose, social interactions and cultural understanding. Students are taught to regard people of different faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance. The school also actively promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law (in that all citizens are equal before the law), individual liberty and respect for others, while encouraging students to become full and active citizens and members of society.
These overlapping sets of values are touched in on many aspects of the school’s work, but particularly:
- The school’s assembly and tutorial programme, where an understanding of the customs, beliefs and practices of different faiths are explored, where moral and philosophical issues are discussed and debated in a culturally sensitive manner, and where tolerance, respect and the rule of law are celebrated, while discrimination and prejudice are condoned. In 2015-2016 the assembly and tutorial programme explored the following: the meaning of fundamental British values; distinguishing between right and wrong; taking responsibility for your actions; respect for public service; appreciation of different cultures; and tolerance and harmony; respect for other people; respect for democracy; participation and influence in the democratic process; how the law protects you and respecting the law; freedom of speech and freedom of belief; combating discrimination, and contributing to the local community. The programme for 2016-2017 includes recognising religious landmarks such as the Jewish New Year, Michaelmas, All Saints and All Souls Days, Thanksgiving and Advent, and using these as a vehicle for discussing religious, moral, social and political questions. At sixth form level special debate assemblies are held, focusing on social, political and moral issues such as legalisation of banned substances, arranged and forced marriage, whether prisoners should have the right to vote, crime and punishment, and ethical issues such as coning and genetic modification;
- Compulsory PSHE and Citizenship lessons from Years 7-11, where citizens’ rights and responsibilities are taught, alongside much of the core information that students need in order to understand and thrive in modern Britain – knowledge of crime and the law, law enforcement and penal system; drug, sex, alcohol and other potential health issues; understanding of environmental and ethical consumerism, and understanding of democracy, human rights, and local and modern government, including the role that individuals and pressure groups can play in influencing government. This is supplemented by the popularity of Government and Politics as an A-Level option;
- Compulsory Philosophy and Religion lessons at Key Stage 3 and in Years 10 and 11, where the customs, beliefs and practices of different religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism are taught. This includes ultimate questions proving the existence or otherwise of God, the meaning of life and what makes us human, and why there is evil and suffering. Philosophy and Religion also focuses tackles moral and human issues such as prejudice and discrimination, medical ethics, crime and punishment, and debates such as euthanasia and capital punishment. This leads all students to take the Religious Studies GCSE and to three thriving A-Level classes;
- Many other subjects, including History, Geography and English, where students study societies and political systems with different spiritual, moral, social and cultural approaches to their own, and are able to compare these with modern Britain. This involves exploring international and fair trade, the impact of globalisation, of climate change and of national and international attempts to alleviate it, studying different governmental systems abroad or in the past, including autocracy and monarchy, and comparing them to the UK’s parliamentary democracy, including an investigation of different forms of democracy, as well as exploring cultural, moral and social issues through literature, for example, To Kill a Mockingbird or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas;
- Opportunities for students to be involved in the decision making and running of the school, especially through Year and House Councils, the roles of Head Boy and Girl, who speak at school Open Evenings and Celebration Evening, lead School Council meetings, and present to governors. In addition, house captains support and organise their houses and House Challenges; sixth former run the Debate Club, and help organise the mock elections at general election time. Other positions of responsibility include peer mentors, peer readers, paired Maths mentors, subject prefects and school photographers. Students can also participate in the Duke of Edinburgh award at both Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5, and this provides opportunities for individual skill building, team expeditions, and voluntary work (most recently volunteering at Furze Platt Junior School). Students also led the work on out anti-bullying policy and on our respect charter, focusing on kindness, courtesy and respect towards others;
- Ethos of the School – the way the school is organised and the values the school imparts contribute significantly to students’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural development:
- End of term assemblies – At the end of each term whole-school assemblies are held recognising and celebrating success. This includes rewards given out for positive behaviour in individual subjects, special recognition from Heads of House, 100% attendance and top stamp collectors;
- Rewards - recognising the importance of rewards in promoting a positive learning environment. Each teacher rewards pupils with stamps at the end of each lesson if they have followed the ‘Ready to Learn’ expectations;
- Summer celebration – This is a successful evening which celebrates KS3 success at the end of the year in July. Subjects are able to show parents what they have been doing during the year, and awards are handed out for progress, effort and contribution.
- KS4/KS5 Celebration evening – This is held to recognise the success of older students. Previous students return before they begin university, and it is an opportunity after results to celebrate and reward success.
- House System: Students and staff are organised into eight houses. These houses provide strong pastoral leadership through the tutors and head of house. A strong sense of care for each other, belonging and pride in the house and the school is fostered. House assemblies, house challenges and house charities all help contribute to students’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural growth;
- Vertical tutor groups: all students from Year 7 – 11 are in mixed aged tutor groups organised within the houses. The mixed age groups provide rich opportunities for students to act as role models and mentors, to understand the needs of different year groups and to ensure newcomers to the school feel welcome and safe.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC)
Ofsted definitions (from School Inspection Handbook from August 2016)
Pupils’ spiritual development is shown by their:
- 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.
Pupils’ moral development 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
- understanding of the consequences of their 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.
Pupils’ social development 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
- 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
- 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.
Pupils’ cultural development 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
- 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 socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.
Fundamental British Values
The list below describes the understanding and knowledge expected of pupils as a result of schools promoting fundamental British values.
- an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process;
- an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety;an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence;
- an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;
- an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour; and
- an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination.
According to OFSTED, these comprise:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.