SMSC and British Values
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development is the over-arching umbrella that encompasses personal development across the whole curriculum.
Here at Northdown, we put SMSC ‘at the heart’ of learning at our school. It requires our pupils to think about the kind of people they aspire to be and the kind of world they aspire to be part of.
Our curriculum and in particular, our outdoor learning supports SMSC. We aim to promote outdoor learning and develop a motivational, educational and fun way of supporting our pupils as local citizens. Outdoor learning is a proven way of improving learning; it decreases stresses and anxieties, helps elevate mood and supports pupils emotionally, spiritually and socially.
Most children learn better by using their senses. Outdoor environments, such as the beach, provide the perfect place to do this. Instead of viewing different types of plants or wildlife on a computer or TV screen, they can see, smell, hear and touch them. These hands-on experiences cultivate a love of nature and get them interested in our local, natural environment.
The Department for Education published guidance in 2014 on promoting British values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain. The values were first set out by the government in the ‘Prevent’ strategy in 2011.
All schools have a duty to ‘actively promote’ the fundamental British values of: Democracy, The rule of law, Individual liberty, Mutual respect and Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
We respect and enable our pupils to encounter these values in their everyday life at our school. They are embedded in everything that we do as a school.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a school council which meets weekly to discuss issues raised in class meetings. The council is able to genuinely effect change within the school. The council members for each year group are voted in by their class. Recently, our School Council have helped fundraise and collect donations to support our local community. See our school council page for more information.
At the start of each academic year, all of the children have a vote to decide on the Head Boy and Head Girl of the school. These are then representatives for the school such as meeting guests.
We use questionnaires so that children can share their viewpoints. Recently, we asked children a number of questions relating to safety and well-being at school. We have also recently carried out a survey with children regarding school dinners.
The Rule of Law
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through PSHE lessons. Children make choices about clubs and sporting events they engage in. In class, pupils often make personal decisions about their level of challenge.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values and is the first of our school value. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others.
All members of the school community are expected to treat each other with respect. Our school has a real international flavour and we often have new children join our community. Children support each other with settling in and our EAL ambassadors help children to comminucate with others and have fun.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
At Northdown we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE lessons reinforce this. Inclusion in our school is seamless with strategies in place to ensure children a range of cultures feel settled and supported, along with the range of different languages spoken. Our family team support the diverse families within our community.