SMSC and British Values

Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural

At Sharow CE Primary School, we recognise that social, moral, spiritual and cultural development is central to the education of all pupils and permeates the whole curriculum, vision and ethos of the school. It is reflected in the behaviours of individuals, through worship, in interactions and also in the provision of teaching, resources and learning environments. In all aspects of SMSC we focus on our school’s vision and the contribution of SMSC to help members of our schools flourish together.

What is SMSC?

Social Development

Social development relates to the development of knowledge and understanding and the acquisition of skills in relating to others. This begins with family and friends and extends to the wider community beyond. Pupils are taught to respect each other and to appreciate, value and celebrate each other’s similarities and differences. An awareness and understanding of, and respect for, the environment in which they live is also developed.

Moral Development

Moral development relates particularly to developing knowledge and understanding of right and wrong. Pupils learn to make choices in their behaviour through developing knowledge of boundaries and understanding of consequences. They learn by example and by practising through role-play, story and group activities.

Spiritual Development

Spiritual development is not necessarily or exclusively religious but is a ‘concern to foster the growth of the human spirit.’

Cultural Development

Cultural development is concerned with encountering the defining aspects of different cultures. Explorations of values, beliefs, customs, foods, artefacts and stories allow the pupils to make comparisons and develop knowledge of lifestyles and choices of others.

What does it look like in our schools?

SMSC development is taught through and reflected in all areas of the curriculum, Collective Worship and through all aspects of school life. Pupils are provided with the opportunities to gain in knowledge and understanding and to develop the skills they need to participate in the life of the community in which they live.

Social Development

Focus on health, well-being and relationships education. Children learn to develop social skills, and where support is needed this may be offered through emotional coaching.  Educational visits support children to develop social understanding – eg Ripon foodbank.  Regular meetings are held to discuss challenging behaviour to ensure that all staff are supported and that ideas are shared.   Children are actively taught to take turns and positive interactions are modelled in all aspects of school life.  Our school vision explicitly focuses on community, forgiveness, love and respect.

Moral Development

Reward systems and celebration of achievements helps children to achieve success.  Our relationships and behaviour policy supports children to interact and make the right choices.  The curriculum, particularly English, religious education and Collective Worship help children to explore stories that present moral issues.  Our curriculum promotes investigative learning about ethical issues. We encourage children to challenge injustice and display courageous advocacy.  We explore moral decisions and use stories and teachings from the Bible to help us understand and reflect on moral issues.

Spiritual Development

The RE curriculum contains units on celebrations, festivals and worship from Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism.  Children are encouraged to take part in periods of reflection at different times throughout the school week.  Children are helped to gain an understanding of their feelings and emotions and their likely impact on themselves and others.  Prayer is used within the day to say thank you and support reflection.  Pupils are encouraged to appreciate the awe and wonder of the world around them.

Cultural Development

There are regular celebrations of religious festivals over the year.  Geography and Religious Educations have units on other cultures and religions.  English includes units on stories from other cultures.  All pupils are accepted equally and play an active part in the school community regardless of their colour, religion or gender.  Children participate in a range of artistic, sporting and other cultural opportunities provided by the school.  Cultural development is promoted through the curriculum so that children develop an appreciation of how different communities interpret and view their world.

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British Values

What are ‘fundamental British values’?

Schools are required to provide for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of their pupils. As part of this requirement, schools are expected to actively promote fundamental British values.

The government defines these as:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs

We promote ‘British Values’ through our spiritual, moral, social and cultural education which permeates through the school’s curriculum and supports the development of the ‘whole child’.

We recognise that such development is most successful when those values and attitudes are promoted by all the staff and provide a model of behaviour for our pupils.

British Values in our federation:



Democracy is evident within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council, or by applying for a position as a Mental Health and Wellbeing Ambassador.  School Council representatives in each class are voted for at the start of the year following their prepared speeches to the class.  Our Curriculum offers many opportunities to discuss democracy – such as The Romans and The Ancient Greeks.  It allows us to consider events in history where British values have been tested, like WW2.  The curriculum provides opportunity for pupils to give their views, debate and argue, making well considered points and looking at both sides of an argument. A competitive spirit is also encouraged through our Team system.  Every child competes to earn points for their house and on sports day a trophy is awarded and received by the elected team captain.


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 addressing behavior and through school assemblies. We have high expectations of pupil conduct and this is reflected in our Behaviour Policy. There are rewards for exhibiting good and caring behaviour.  Children are taught to play by the rules in sport, with an emphasis on fair play. 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 Brigade are organised in order to reinforce this message.


Individual Liberty

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 the right choices through the provision of a safe environment.  Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised on how to exercise these safely, for example through our Anti-Bullying, E-Safety and PSHE lessons.  Whether it be through the choice of level of challenge, of how they record their work, how they record and show their homework, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.  Adults also help to give the children a sense of liberty and choice as we are helping them to learn ‘how to learn’ which we hope will help them be prepared for life beyond our schools, at secondary school and into adult life.


Mutual Respect

We instil in our pupils an understanding of the importance of mutual respect for one another.  All members of the community are encouraged to have respect for themselves and others, and to work together to create a learning community in which we flourish together.  Our curriculum allows us to consider respect for our world and our environment.  We take part in anti-bullying week and our Anti-Bullying policy is reviewed each year with pupils and staff.  Every year we show respect for others by fundraising for a range of charities.  In addition to these, we have supported events such as – Children in Need, Sports Relief, Save the Children and Red Nose day.


Tolerance of Different Faiths and Beliefs

This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE.   Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.  We celebrate other religions and faiths through music – singing songs from different festivals and in different languages. Regular visits are made by local religious leaders and children have the opportunity to visit places of worship.

Contact the school

If you have any questions or concerns about British values and what it means for your child, please do not hesitate to contact the school.

External information

The following guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) may be useful for further information:

Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools, GOV.UK – DfE