Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) Development Policy


As a Church of England primary school, St Mark’s CE Primary School takes its duty to promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of pupils seriously, including the duty to promote British Values.

Church of England schools have a distinctive identity and ethos, popular with parents and families, where the development of social, spiritual and emotional intelligence is as important as academic achievement. (www.churchofengland.org/education).

‘Recognising its historic foundation, the school will preserve and develop its religious character in accordance with the principles of the Church of England/Church in Wales and in partnership with the Churches at parish and diocesan level.

The school aims to serve its community by providing an education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice. It encourages an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith, and promotes Christian values through the experience it offers to all its pupils.’ (National Society Ethos Statement)

The school mission statement, ‘Loving to Learn, Learning to Love’ and the school values based on RESPECT (responsibility, equality, spirituality, perseverance, enthusiasm, commitment and trust) underpin all of the work that we do at St Mark’s not only through all the subjects of the curriculum but also through the ethos of the school and through the development of positive attitudes to learning and behaviour.

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Defining spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

The spiritual development of pupils is shown by their:

  • Ability to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values
  • Sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them
  • Use of imagination and creativity in their learning
  • Willingness to reflect on their experiences

The moral development of pupils is shown by their:

  • Ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives, recognise legal boundaries and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England
  • Understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions
  • Interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and ability to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues

The social development of pupils is shown by their:

  • Use of a range of social skills in different contexts, for example working and socialising with other pupils, including those from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
  • Willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
  • Acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; they develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.

The cultural development of pupils is shown by their:

  • Understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and those of others
  • Understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain
  • Knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values, and in continuing to develop Britain
  • Willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural opportunities
  • Interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.

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Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development is crucial for individual pupils and important for society as a whole. It is the heart of what education is all about – helping pupils grow and develop as people and effective participants in modern Britain.

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development is cross curricular and promotes the aims and principles of the policies for, Religious Education, Collective Worship, PSHE, Sex and Relationships Education, and Equal Opportunities These policies all underpin the Curriculum model, putting the child at the centre of all we do.

It is an expectation that all staff, in all subjects, can and should make a contribution to the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development of pupils through the curriculum and through the use of appropriate teaching and learning strategies e.g. discussion, reflection, pupil participation, circle time and also through their own conduct.

The importance of relationships between all school staff, parents and governors is vital. These relationships will be characterised by mutual respect, by positive attitudes, by the willingness to listen and be listened to and by the valuing of all pupils.

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General Aims for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development  

We aim to:  

  • Promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and in society
  • Prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life
  • Enable pupils to distinguish right from wrong, to respect the civil and criminal law of England and to appreciate the rule of law is essential for well-being and safety
  • Enable pupils to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in Britain and to respect and support participation in the democratic process
  • Promote respect and consideration for differences in gender, race, religion
  • Help each pupil achieve their full potential across all areas of the curriculum
  • Develop the individual strengths of all pupils and to help and provide support in areas for development
  • Inspire and stimulate the pupils in order to foster a love of learning and enquiry, to reason rationally and to apply themselves to tasks and physical skills
  • Help our pupils towards independent learning and to equip them with all life skills in order for them to take their place in a fast changing society.
  • Ensure there is continuity and progression in skills, knowledge and understanding in all areas of the curriculum
  • Develop respect for religious and moral values and understanding of other races, religions and ways of life while challenging opinions, stereotyping or behaviours in school that are contrary to British values
  • Help the pupils understand the world in which they live
  • Develop a sense of responsibility, consideration for others, self-respect and self confidence
  • Promote good relationships between home, school and the local and wider communities

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Spiritual Development

This relates to the quest for individual identity and the search for meaning and purpose in our existence. It leads towards the understanding of self and others. It has to do with feelings, emotions, attitudes and beliefs. It is not linked solely to a particular doctrine or faith and spiritual development is therefore accessible to everyone.

Children are given opportunities to reflect upon the meaning of spiritual experiences. Examples of experiences commonly regarded as spiritual include:

  • Curiosity and questions
  • Awe and wonder
  • Connection and belonging
  • Heightened self-awareness
  • Prayer and worship
  • Deep feelings of what is felt to be ultimately important
  • A sense of security, well-being, worth and purposefulness

Our school supports children’s spiritual development by:

  • Giving children the opportunity to explore values and beliefs, including religious beliefs, and the way in which they impact on peoples’ lives
  • Encouraging children to explore and develop what animates themselves and others
  • Giving children the opportunity to understand human feelings and emotions, the way they impact on people and how an understanding of them can be helpful
  • Developing a climate or ethos within which all children can grow and flourish, enjoying individual liberty and mutual respect
  • Accommodating difference and respecting the integrity of individuals, including tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
  • Promoting learning opportunities which value children’s questions, encourage deeper questions and give them space for their own thoughts, ideas and concerns

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Moral Development

Children are encouraged to understand the need for a common code based on the Golden Rule of treating others as they would wish to be treated and the school values. At St. Mark’s CE Primary School we work towards an understanding of what is right and wrong. From this basis they may develop the ability to make judgements and to become increasingly responsible for their own actions or and behaviour.

Our school supports children’s moral development by:

  • Providing a clear moral code as a basis for behaviour which is promoted consistently through all aspects of the school
  • Promoting racial, religious and other forms of equality
  • Challenging stereotyping
  • Giving pupils opportunities across the curriculum to explore and develop moral concepts and values –for example, personal rights and responsibilities, truth, justice, equality of opportunity, right and wrong
  • Developing an open and safe learning environment in which pupils can express their views and practise moral decision making
  • Rewarding expressions of moral insights and good behaviour
  • Recognising and respecting the codes and morals of the different cultures represented in the school and wider community
  • Encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their actions, for example, respect for property, care of the environment, and developing codes of behaviour
  • Providing models of moral virtue through literature, humanities, sciences, arts and assemblies; reinforcing the school’s values through images, posters, classroom displays, etc. and monitoring in simple ways, the success of what is provided

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Social Development

This enables pupils to become conscientious participants in their family, class, school, the local and wider community and make a positive contribution to the lives of others in society. Within this there should be a balance of the positive, satisfying elements of belonging to a group or society along with the demands, obligations and cooperation such membership requires.

Our school develops pupil social development by:

  • Identifying key values and principles on which school and community life is based
  • Fostering a sense of community, with common, inclusive values
  • Promoting racial, religious and other forms of equality
  • Encouraging pupils to work co-operatively
  • Encouraging pupils to recognise and respect social differences and similarities
  • Providing positive experiences to reinforce our values as a school community –for example, through assemblies, team building activities, residential experiences, school productions
  • Helping pupils develop personal qualities, which are valued in a civilised society, for example,    thoughtfulness, honesty, respect for difference, moral principles, independence, interdependence, self-respect and awareness of others’ needs
  • Providing opportunities for engaging in the democratic process and participating in community life
  • Providing opportunities for pupils to exercise leadership and responsibility
  • Providing positive and effective links with the world of work and the wider community

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Cultural Development

At the heart of cultural development lies the necessity to develop a sense of personal identity, whilst at the same time acquiring awareness, understanding and tolerance regarding the cultural traditions and beliefs of others.

Our school develops cultural development by:

  • Extending pupils’ knowledge and use of cultural imagery and language
  • Encouraging them to think about special events in life and how they are celebrated
  • Recognising and nurturing particular gifts and talents; providing opportunities for pupils to participate in literature, drama, music, art, crafts and other cultural events and encouraging pupils to reflect on their significance
  • Reinforcing the school’s cultural links through displays, posters, exhibitions, etc.
  • Developing partnerships with outside agencies and individuals to extend pupils’ cultural awareness, for example, theatre, museum and gallery visits

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This policy should be read in conjunction with the following documents:

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