SMSC & British Values
What is SMSC?
SMSC stands for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education. These are not stand-alone ideas, but ones which are embedded into everything that we do at the Abbey School across every part of the curriculum. Examples are:
Getting a sense of fascination about the world through Geography and Science
Using imagination and creativity in English and Maths
Reflecting on their experiences in PSHE and Assemblies
Understanding consequences of actions in History
Giving views on ethical issues in Psychology
Volunteering to help others through Peer Mentoring
Exploring Modern Britain in Sociology
Understanding cultures beyond Britain through MFL
Exploring democracy and parliament in KS3 RE
Responding to different musical influences through Performing Arts
Understanding different faith communities in RE
The examples are not exclusive and represent just a small taste of how, at The Abbey School, we educate every child through opening them to a vast array of opportunities throughout our curriculum.
But their SMSC educational opportunities are not just limited to the classroom. At The Abbey School, we offer every student educational experiences beyond the curriculum, both in school, in the local community, and abroad. A small selection of these includes:
As a Gold Comenius International school since 2011. Students have visited countries such as Tahiti, Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Poland, Greece, Turkey and Germany and have experienced first-hand cultural differences which have enhanced their lives. See the ‘International Dimension’ link on the school’s website for further information. All of these experiences are carefully tracked through our own SMSC grid, which not only ensures every child has a full experience of SMSC throughout their 5 to 8 years at The Abbey School, but also helps us as a school community to regulate and innovate what we offer to guarantee the educational and life experience for our students can be the best that it can be.
What do we mean by British Values?
British Values are what bind us together as a national community, no matter what our ethnic, cultural or religious background.
Every teacher has a duty to ensure that “fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs” are not undermined in what we teach, or in what the students experience. (School teachers’ pay and conditions document 2015 and guidance on school teachers’ pay and conditions).
Every school, therefore, has a duty to promote these core British Values through the work they do in SMSC (Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools, Department of Education, October 2014). We make no exception to this here at The Abbey School, and indeed, take pride in making clear that we:
- promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development;
- promote fundamental British values;
- align British values with our school’s duty to promote SMSC.
Through our SMSC work, as mentioned above, we:
- enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
- enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England;
- encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those who are living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely;
- enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England;
- further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures;
- encourage RESPECT for other people and is central to our Vision and Values
- encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
As a result of this, The Abbey School actively promotes to every student, across the whole curriculum, the British values of:
- an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process, through things such as voting for house council representatives, or a study of British voting system in KS3 RE;
- an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety, which is experienced in lessons such as PSHE, History and RE;
- 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, ideas explored in Business Studies, Sports Science, Social Science, and RE amongst others;
- an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected by law, which is directly studied by all students in the RE GCSE;
- 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, which is reflected in our behaviour policy, anti-discrimination policy, and SMSC policy, amongst others, as well as directly look at in the curriculum in subjects such as, but not exclusively, RE, History, and Social Science; and
- an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination, which again are looked specifically, but not exclusively, in RE, History, and Business Studies, as well as protected for all students through various school policies.
All of the above strategies fall in line with the students’ right to an education which prepares them for their future in modern British society, and keeps them safe from all forms of radicalisation and extremism, as mentioned in the government’s Prevent Strategy 2011 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prevent-strategy-2011)
The SMSC & British Values Abbey School Logo and Active Promotion
SMSC and British Values is not just what we do at the Abbey School, they are a fundamental core of who we are. They are not a “bolt on” to a lesson, nor are they a box to tick, but a key foundation for learning which makes the whole child’s experience at the Abbey School rich, meaningful, varied, and safe.
Therefore, we do not hide them but actively promote both SMSC and British Values in every lesson, as well as whenever they happen around the school.
Our two main strategies are:
- Placing our exclusive SMSC and British Values logo into every lesson, where appropriate, in order to bring to the students’ attention a specific part of SMSC or a particular British value which we are promoting;
- Placing our SMSC and British Values news on the front of the school website to actively demonstrate how the whole school community, both inside and outside the classroom, upholds and takes pride in what we do.
SMSC and British Values are a living thing, and, as such, the opportunities for students and the way that staff innovate and promote are consistently evolving. At the Abbey School we are:
- continuously updating our Schemes of Work to not only make sure we are delivering the most relevant subject content, but also actively seeking out SMSC and British Values opportunities;
- developing whole school SMSC and British Values days and/or weeks to give all students a chance to specifically explore these concepts on their own, as well as through their curriculum studies;
- seeking out new Global Partners to bring opportunities to the students to ensure all have the chance to explore the wonderful variety of cultures and beliefs across the globe;
- linking in new ways of making SMSC and British Values a living reality for all students through innovations such as Thinking Schools, International Schools, and partnership schools within our local community.