SMSC at St John's
SMSC stands for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education and is part of the National Curriculum.
At St John's, our aim is to inspire all our pupils to love learning and to be socially and morally responsible citizens of the world. Our purpose is to nurture the growth of the whole child - academically, socially and emotionally. Good relationships are at the heart of our school - our ethos is warm, supportive and family friendly.
Our school values – Love, Hope, Forgiveness and Respect – are embedded in our school SMSC education through PSHE lessons, collective worships and teachable moments that occur in the everyday life of the school.
Our definition of SMSC
Spiritual: Explore beliefs and experiences; respect values; discover oneself and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect meaningfully on their own actions and the actions of others.
Moral: Recognise right and wrong; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views.
Social: Use social skills in different contexts; work well with others; resolve conflicts; understand how communities work.
Cultural: Appreciate cultural influences; participate in culture opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.
How SMSC is taught and experienced at St John's
SMSC education is as much an approach as it is discrete experiences. SMSC is a golden thread that weaves through all we do – how we work in teams, discuss and debate, encourage reflection, consider ethical impact, explore the wonders of the world and give our pupils a voice.
Our curriculum is an important part of our SMSC (including values and character work) education as we have designed it with SMSC in mind. Our whole school, and subject specific Intent statements detail how we look to develop characters, values and cultural capital across our curriculum.
Our character-building work is based around promoting and teaching our school values - Love, Hope, Forgivenss and Hope, alongside our 8 learning skills; Perseverance, Team Work, Accepting Challenge, Risk Taking, Communication, Being Inquisitive, Independence and Being Reflective.
Our approach to learning and our curriculum helps our pupils build resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge, to show compassion and to keep learning and growing as a person. Our curriculum stretches and challenges our pupils, encouraging them to think deeply, and developing their self-esteem and their confidence.
We understand we have a duty to provide for the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education of pupils whilst promoting the values of Democracy, the Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Respect and Tolerance. These have been called British values but are now more commonly called Universal values as they underpin the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our work to promote pupils’ (SMSC) development - including work on citizenship and community cohesion, anti-bullying learning, equalities and diversity work - ensures we meet the government’s requirements to teach fundamental British values.
Values education does not only act as a preventative measure against radicalisation and extremism, but is also a vital part of preparing children to get on in life, creating critical thinkers and active citizens who respect others and challenge prejudice and discrimination.
The Cultural Learning Alliance states that cultural capital "is characterised by the experience and skill to be able to deploy the appropriate knowledge in any given situation: a job interview, a conversation with a neighbour, building a work network and so on." It is often assumed to be about providing children with cultural experiences of 'high art' such as theatre, art and literature, but cultural capital can refer to much more including:
- technical cultural capital – e.g. IT
- emotional cultural capital - such as empathy and sympathy
- embodied cultural capital – e.g. language, expressions, mannerisms;
- national cultural capital - working on an assumption of an existence of traditions, the lack of which can act as a disadvantage
Our curriculum is broad and wide-reaching. It is a knowledge rich curriculum, designed to introduce pupils to the best that has been thought and said as well as the knowledge and skills they will need for life today such as emotional literacy and an appreciation for diversity and equality.
Beyond lessons, our pupils SMSC education extends to:
- Whole school collective worship and weekly celebrations of achievements and development characters (Learning Skills).
- Visits to different places of worship and visits to school by different representatives of religions and belief-systems.
- Annual residential experiences.
- Regular opportunities throughout the year for celebrations with our community.
- Charitable projects - we support local, national and global projects
- Ongoing weekly School Ambassador meetings to give children the opportunities to voice their opinions and have an input to the development of the school.
- Anti-bullying week - we teach pupils how to recognise and deal with bullying in our curriculum.
- Sports competitions against local schools.
- Visitors for Upper Key Stage 2 to teach the about staying safe online.
- Quiet spaces in the school grounds for children to relax and reflect.
- Buddies for new pupils - Reception pupils and in-year transfer pupils are given a buddy to help them settle in.
- Cultural Capital opportunities are planned into the curriculum.
- An allotment and curriculum kitchen to support children to grow and then cook with what they have produced.
- A range of sporting opportunities through lunch time and after school clubs.
- Swimming lessons for all pupils.
- All children will learn to play the recorder, the ukulele and clarinet.
- A dedicated Pastoral Team to support the Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs of all children and their families.