Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education
At Birchwood, we value SMSC as a highly important part of our children’s education that is woven through our broad and balanced curriculum. We recognise that Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development is the over-arching umbrella that encompasses personal development across the whole curriculum and therefore identify it as our ‘wider curriculum’.
Through our approach to SMSC we enable children to develop their self-awareness, self-confidence and self-esteem, to distinguish right from wrong, to show initiative and awareness of others, to accept responsibility for their actions and to recognise ways in which they can contribute positively to their local community. We provide children with meaningful experiences of differing cultures and traditions in order to build appreciation of and respect for others. The British values are embedded within our SMSC curriculum.
Our one school rule of ‘Consideration and Respect’ provides the foundations onto which our children’s social and moral understanding and awareness can be built.
Our children’s SMSC skills and understanding are developed throughout school, from the Early Years to Year 6. They access explicit teaching of key elements of SMSC and British Values through our PSHE and RE curriculums. In addition, we weave SMSC into all curriculum areas, making meaningful links and creating worthwhile discussions and debates wherever relevant and possible. Our curriculum allows our children to partake in and respond positively to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural activities. Through our Protective Behaviours and PSHE curriculums and through our approaches to teaching our children know how to stay safe – e.g. water safety, fire safety, road safety and online safety. Children are aware of their rights and responsibilities and ways in which to exercise these safely.
In addition to this, we have twice weekly in-class circle times which cover a range of skills and topics of discussion to deepen our children’s SMSC skills and knowledge further. We also broaden our children’s understanding through our carefully considered assemblies each week. Assemblies are followed by a ‘Thought of the Week’ which links closely to our assembly focus and provides our children with a valuable opportunity for self-reflection.
Through our numerous afterschool clubs and B.A.S.E activities, we ensure that we offer our children a range of additional school experiences to further develop their skills.
Wider school life also contributes to the development of our children’s knowledge and skills in SMSC and British Values. We have numerous councils and committees – e.g. House Captains, School Council, Eco Council and Digital Leaders – which contribute to decision making and provide children with the voice to shape our school culture and community. These also provide our children with opportunities to exercise democracy. Furthermore, we support a number of charitable causes for which our children raise money throughout the year. We learn about and celebrate a number of festivals and key cultural dates and our children are provided with opportunities to experience and contribute to the wider community, e.g. through our trips to different places of worship and our yearly Farmer’s Market.
Our children leave Birchwood able to reflect on their own experiences, beliefs and perspectives on life as well as those of others. Through our curriculum and wider school life, children gain knowledge of other people’s views, beliefs and feelings and show respect for these. They become imaginative and creative learners who enjoy finding out about the world around them.
Children at Birchwood are able to recognise right from wrong and use this knowledge to manage their own behaviour. They recognising the consequences and impact of their actions. They are able to further apply this to the wider community through their understanding of morals and the law. They are given opportunities to consider and discuss moral and ethical issues, offering their own opinions and understanding and appreciating a range of viewpoints when doing so.
Our children are provided with numerous opportunities to use and develop a range of social skills in different contexts. Our children gain the skills to manage conflicts effectively and recognise the importance of doing so. Through their recognition and acceptance of the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, tolerance of others, individual liberty and mutual respect, our children develop attitudes and skills that enable them to participate fully and positively in school life, the local community and modern Britain.
Children at Birchwood develop an understanding of and appreciation for the cultures that exist in our school community and in the wider community, especially those which have shaped our history and the way we live in modern Britain. They are able to make links between cultures, recognising and respecting similarities and differences between religions, cultures, ethnicities and socio-economic situations. Our children gain knowledge of the system of democracy that shapes culture within our school and in the wider community.
Through the teaching of the aspects of SMSC and through the interweaving of SMSC into all curriculum subjects, our children will leave Birchwood as imaginative and creative learners who have a sound understanding of and respect for their own cultures and beliefs and those of others. They will be respectful and considerate members of society who will have made meaningful contributions to the school and wider community. Our children will recognise right from wrong and will exercise this in their everyday life in order to lead healthy, happy and fulfilled lives.