Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
What is SMSC?
SMSC refers to 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, Philosophy for Children and RE. We also aim to develop SMSC through collective worship, behaviour expectations and our attitudes in school.
Pupils’ spiritual development is shown by their:
- beliefs, religious or otherwise, which inform their perspective on life & their interest in & respect for different people’s feelings & values
- sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them, including the intangible
- 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 their readiness to apply this understanding in their own lives
- understanding of the consequences of their actions
- interest in investigating, and offering reasoned views about, moral and ethical issues
Pupils’ social development is shown by their:
- use of a range of social skills in different contexts, including working and socialising with pupils from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
- willingness to participate in a variety of social settings, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
- interest in, and understanding of, the way communities and societies function at a variety of levels
Pupils’ cultural development is shown by their:
- understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage
- willingness to participate in, and respond to, for example, artistic, musical, sporting, mathematical, technological, scientific and cultural opportunities
- interest in exploring, understanding of, and respect for cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities
At Thomlinson Junior School, the children and their learning are at the very heart of every decision made. We aim to develop learners who are passionate, take ownership of their learning and are proud of their achievements.
The ethos of our school is such that all people who come into our school, whether staff, pupil, parent or visitor, are valued as individuals in their own right. They should set, and be entitled to expect from others, good standards of behaviour, marked by respect and responsibility.
The school will help children to develop an inner discipline and will encourage them to not just ‘follow the crowd’ – they will make up their own minds and be ready to accept responsibility for what they do. They will grow through making choices and holding to the choices that they have made. They will want to be honest with themselves and with others.
In planning lessons, teachers are aware of the need to plan opportunities to develop a wide variety of spiritual, moral, social and cultural needs. A vast majority will be delivered through cross curricular activities as well as specific PSHE, RE and Circle Time activities.
Planned opportunities for spiritual development in all subjects can be seen across the school. Children are given opportunities to reflect upon the meaning of spiritual experiences. Examples of experiences commonly regarded as spiritual include:
- Curiosity and mystery
- Awe Connection and belonging
- Heightened self-awareness
- Prayer and worship
- Deep feelings of what is felt to be ultimately important
- A sense of security, well-being, worth and purposefulness
The school will develop a climate or ethos within which all pupils can grow and flourish, respect others and be respected; accommodating difference and respecting the integrity if individuals. These can occur during any part of the school day, eg. when listening to music, discussing the care needed for animals, exercising empathy or creativity, how we live, contemplating the future, etc.
At Thomlinson Junior School we believe that a morally aware pupil will develop a wide range of skills. These can include the following:
- Distinguish right from wrong, based on knowledge of the moral codes of their own and other cultures
- Develop an ability to think through the consequences of their own and others’ actions
- Have an ability to make responsible and reasoned judgements
- Ensure a commitment to personal values
- Have respect for others’ needs, interests and feelings, as well as their own
- Develop a desire to explore their own and others’ views, and an understanding of the need to review and re-assess their values, codes and principles in the light of experience
Our school develops pupil moral development by:
- Providing a clear moral code as a basis for behaviour which is promoted consistently through all aspects of the school
- Promoting racial, religious and other forms of equality
- Giving pupils opportunities across the curriculum to explore and develop moral concepts and values – for example, personal rights and responsibilities, truth, justice, equality of opportunity, right and wrong
- Developing an open and safe learning environment in which pupils can express their views and practice moral decision making
- Rewarding expressions of moral insights and good behaviour
- Recognising and respecting the codes and morals of the different cultures represented in the school and wider community
- Encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their actions, for example, respect for property, care of the environment, and developing codes of behaviour, providing models of moral virtue through literature, humanities, sciences, arts and assemblies; reinforcing the school’s values through images, posters, classroom displays, etc. and monitoring in simple ways, the success of what is provided
Teachers always discuss with their classes a code of conduct for the classroom based on the values held by the school. We teach the children to be aware of their own actions, take responsibility for their own bodies and encourage independence. We will help the children to identify their feelings and think these through so that they are expressed in behaviour that is socially acceptable.
This is done through collective worship, circle time, Social Skills groups and SEAL/PSHE/Circle Time sessions. We are interested in the development of the whole child and will endeavour to raise their self-esteem through praise, stickers, Star of the Week and other means that highlight both academic and social achievements.
At Thomlinson Junior School we recognise that pupils who are becoming socially aware are likely to be developing the ability to:
- Adjust to a range of social contexts by appropriate and sensitive behaviour
- Relate well to other people’s social skills and personal qualities
- Work successfully, as a member of a group or team
- Share views and opinions with others
- Resolve conflicts maturely and appropriately
- Reflect on their own contribution to society
- Show respect for people, living things, property and the environment
- Exercise responsibility
- Understand how societies function and are organised in structures such as the family, the school
- Understand the notion of interdependence in an increasingly complex society.
Our school develops pupil social development by:
- Identifying key values and principles on which school and community life is based
- Fostering a sense of community, with common, inclusive values
- Promoting racial, religious and other forms of equality
- Encouraging pupils to work co-operatively
- Encouraging pupils to recognise and respect social differences and similarities
- Providing positive experiences to reinforce our values as a school community – for example, through assemblies, team building activities, residential experiences, school productions
- Helping pupils develop personal qualities which are valued in a civilised society, for example, thoughtfulness, honesty, respect for difference, moral principles, independence, interdependence, self-respect and an awareness of others’ needs
- Providing opportunities for engaging in the democratic process and participating in community life
- Providing opportunities for pupils to exercise leadership and responsibility
- Providing positive and effective links with the world of work and the wider community
- Monitoring in simple, pragmatic ways, the success of what is provided
Children should be made aware of the diversity of other cultures both within modern Britain and throughout the world. This can be done through music, PE, art and many other curriculum areas.
Our school develops pupils’ cultural development by:
- Extending pupils’ knowledge and use of cultural imagery and language
- Encouraging them to think about special events in life and how they are celebrated
- Recognising and nurturing particular gifts and talents; providing opportunities for pupils to participate in literature, drama, music, art, crafts and other cultural events and encouraging pupils to reflect on their significance
- Providing opportunities for children to visit other areas through residential visits e.g. London in Year 5.
- Reinforcing the school’s cultural links through displays, posters, exhibitions, etc. As well as developing partnerships with outside agencies and individuals to extend pupils’ cultural awareness, for example, theatre, museum and gallery visits
The term ‘Pupil Voice’ describes how pupils give their input to what happens within the school and classroom. Our desire is for pupils to know that their expertise, opinions and ideas are valued in all aspects of school life. Pupil Voice permeates all levels of our work together, from children participating in small group classroom conversations to children establishing procedures, events and contributing to the overarching ethos of the school. Thomlinson Junior School regularly seeks out the opinions of children through questionnaires and via the School Council.