SMSC & The Values of Living in Modern Day
SMSC stands for spiritual, moral, social and cultural. All schools in England must teach and foster SMSC values in their students as a way of helping young people become self-assured, confident, happy and positive young people and to become responsible citizens.
Spiritual - Explore beliefs and experience; respect values; discover oneself and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect.
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.
The guidance makes it clear that schools have a responsibility to develop students who know how to act responsibly and know the importance of making a positive impact on the lives of other people. The new guidance issued in 2014 added three key points to the importance of SMSC in schools, namely that schools
(a) Encourage students to respect ‘British values’
(b) Do not promote extremist views or partisan political views
(c) Offer a balanced presentation of political views
SMSC can be developed through virtually all parts of the curriculum, although some subjects and activities are likely to be most relevant than others. It is a cross curricular element of learning, impacting on the development of the learner and their values.
SMSC at Lipson Co-operative Academy
Lipson Co-operative Academy is a faith neutral school, value driven school which is already deeply committed to an international set of values and principles - those of the International Co-operative Alliance. As a Co-operative Academy Lipson regards the teaching of SMSC and values as essential in underpinning the every aspect of the school.
This commitment to promoting shared values and identity has been recognised as an area of strength celebrated by Ofsted as ‘Best practice’ that we are constantly building on and further developing, especially in the light of the latest guidance to schools.
Under new guidance it is the role of schools to:
- Ensure that children and young people not only achieve high standards, but are well prepared to live and prosper in modern Britain.
- Deliver a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes the values of wider British society.
- Provides pupils with a broad general knowledge of public institutions and services in England.
- Assists pupils to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures in a way that promotes tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions.
- Encourages pupils to respect the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
How is SMSC taught and fostered at Lipson Co-operative Academy?
There are many ways that SMSC is taught, fostered and embedded at Lipson Co-operative Academy.
Cooperative Values and Co-operative Learning
Initially, the Academy’s identity as a Co-operative Academy means that the Co-operative values and principles are threaded through every aspect of the school. These include values such as equality, equity, democracy, self-help, self-responsibility, caring for others and solidarity. Students are surrounded by the Co-operative symbol; it is the symbol on their blazer and on many displays. Indeed students even designed the student friendly version of the values which is used on many documents and displays around the Academy. Lessons utilise co-operative learning strategies to ensure that students develop their skills as independent learners and in working effectively with others. This ensures that students are tolerant of one another and are comfortable in working together- essential skills for life in modern Britain.
Lipson has a well-developed Guild system whereby students are placed within one of five specialist vertical guilds. These Guilds allow students to develop their specialism but also to develop their skills as members of a community where they are treated as an individual but are required to take responsibility for their own and other’s learning, behaviour and wellbeing. Ofsted recognised the Guild system as a real strength of the Academy as it gives ‘students an identity and provides a stronger circle of friends of all ages through shared activities.’ Older students also act as mentors for younger students developing a sense of community.
Within the Taught Curriculum
SMSC is also promoted through the taught curriculum, especially in Humanities, English and the Arts provision. These subjects offer many opportunities to reflect upon individual and community values, including the aspects of British values and culture. Fundamental values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for those with different faiths and beliefs are explored and students are provided with ample opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs and values. This allows students to develop respect, tolerance and empathy for others in line with the Equality Act of 2010.
Importance of Student voice
As a co-operative academy all stakeholders are encouraged to take an active role within the trust, indicated in the Stakeholders’ meeting and the Voice meetings for students, parents, and staff. Each year group is represented by a student voice group, many of which are now young co-operatives and representatives are trained to collect the views and verbalise the views of their peers and to provide effective feedback from the meetings. In this way students discover more about representative democracy and how they can function effectively within Britain as a representative democracy. In the previous inspection Ofsted commented that Lipson “is a school where students say they are listened to’.
SMSC is also actively promoted through the ‘Fortnightly Focus’ programme which is undertaken within tutorial sessions twice a week. All tutors are required to implement the focus which is always an aspect of SMSC such as democracy, careers, e-safety, relationships, health and wellbeing. These are carefully mapped to ensure that statutory areas are covered and that students are provided with opportunities to explore the spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of society and to reflect on their own understanding of these aspects.
Assemblies are designed to complement the Fortnightly Focus, tutorial times and the co-operative values themselves. They link directly with the Fortnightly focus on issues such as understanding democracy and can involve external speakers, like the Leader of the City Council Tudor Evans, who bring their expertise to the assembly to enhance students’ understanding of the topic and its relevance to living in modern multicultural Britain.
Special events and focus days
Certain aspects of SMSC are delivered to the relevant groups via methods such as year group assemblies, special events and focus sessions. This is because this is deemed to be the most effective way of covering the content necessary in an appropriate manner. These includes some understanding of religion in modern society; financial education; sex and relationship education and healthy lifestyle / wellbeing.
The Values of Living in Modern Day Britain
Whilst we continue to explore and consult with our co-operative community on the most suitable and inclusive ways to promote these values, we will include our reference documenation here in oder to be open and transparent. This will ensure that all stakeholders have a clear understanding of how the values of modern day Britain are already engrained in how we deliver our co-operative values and principles of the Co-operative Schools Society.