At Oakdale Infant School spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) underpins everything we do and this includes actively promoting British Values, although we refer to them simply as values. We want our children to develop the wisdom to make social, moral and ethical decisions with reflection, empathy and intelligence. We believe all children can develop responsibility with respect for themselves and others; values and attitudes that will stand them in good stead as they become global citizens.
We want our children to aspire to be the best they can be. We develop a sense of social and moral responsibility fitting for the global society in which we live, through being a Rights Respecting School; a school where everyone is aware of their rights and responsibilities towards others. Our school community strives for a greater understanding of the contribution we can all make regardless of age, gender, race or religion by providing equal opportunities for all.
WHAT IS SMSC?
SMSC stands for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education. It is not taught as a lesson, it is embedded across our curriculum; For example it could be part of Religious Education, Physical Education, English, History, Geography or Art. It is central to the ethos of the school which children experience on a daily basis. SMSC is now highlighted by government as a key means of promoting basic British Values and counteracting the development of religious extremism in some school settings.
Pupils’ spiritual development is shown by their:
- beliefs, religious or otherwise, which inform their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s feelings and values
- sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them, including the intangible
- use of imagination and creativity in their learning
- willingness to reflect on their experiences
Pupils’ moral development is shown by their:
- ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and their readiness to apply this understanding in their own lives
- understanding of the consequences of their actions
- interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues
Pupils’ social development is shown by their:
- use of a range of social skills in different contexts, including working and socialising with pupils from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
- willingness to participate in a variety of social settings, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
- interest in, and understanding of, the way communities and societies function at a variety of levels
Pupils’ cultural development is shown by their:
- understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage
- willingness to participate in, and respond to, for example, artistic, musical, sporting, mathematical, technological, scientific and cultural opportunities
- interest in exploring, understanding of, and respect for cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities
BRITISH VALUES AT OAKDALE INFANT SCHOOL
What are British values?
The document “Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools” says “Schools should promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”. It is this list of values that are used below as a basis for this statement.
Promoting British Values Oakdale Infant School
The importance of SMSC education in developing well-rounded global citizens who contribute to society and improve their communities has always been recognised and promoted as integral to membership of the school. British fundamental values have always been at the heart of what we do. When the term ‘British’ values is used it is important to underline that this embraces the fact that we are a nation with a proud history of people of many different ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs and secular values all living together in a plural society. Our school models this wider picture of inclusivity, freedom and equality, so our underpinning values are British to the core.
How do we promote these values?
The ways in which we achieve the requirement to promote British Values are many.
We listen to children’s and parent’s voice. Our school behaviour policy (The Oakdale Charter) is rooted in our Rights Respecting Ethos. We make it clear that children are expected to contribute and co-operate, taking into account the views of others. Each class sees democracy in action as they elect members to represent them on the School Council, following hustings and a secret ballot. The School Council chooses its officers through an election and will often vote on proposals within meetings. Pupil voice is also heard as Classes raise issues to be fed back through School Council, class circle times, philosophy and class assemblies.
The Rule of Law
We consistently reinforce our high expectations of children. Children are taught that everyone has rights, as part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which are indivisible, inalienable, inherent, universal and unconditional. These rights cannot be taken away from any child but all children have the responsibility to respect the rights of others. Children are supported in making good choices in class and around the school because understanding rights and responsibilities is a thread that runs through all school activity and is embedded in the curriculum. Our behaviour values are encapsulated in The Oakdale Charter which is rooted in our Rights Respecting ethos. The Oakdale Charter is based on our core values of Respect, Responsibility, Reflection, Resilience and Resourcefulness. These are communicated consistently in class, in the playground and across the school so that children are continually reminded about what makes a safe and happy community. To reinforce this message we have assemblies, class discussion and visits from the community such as the Police Service, Fire Service or Christian Education Project.
Within school, children 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 children to make choices safely, through our provision of a safe environment and empowering teaching. Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and to understand their responsibility for protecting the rights and freedoms of others. We provide a culture, environment and opportunity for children to make their own choices, recognising the need for their own and others’ safety and well-being. This is supported by a programme of E-safety lessons, the curriculum and assemblies.
We recognise that everyone is important and special, and needs to be treated as such. Our behaviour policy (The Oakdale Charter), our school rules, the modelling of adults and pupil leaders as well as the explicit teaching through the curriculum and assemblies, actively promotes this value every day.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Our school community, like our country, has a richness that is due to the diversity of those who live here, and we value, embrace, and respect those from different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. We aim to enhance children’s understanding of different faiths and beliefs by participating in a range of celebrations throughout the year, including special assemblies. Children have the opportunity to dress-up in clothes and try different foods from other cultures and we encourage parents/carers to participate and support our multi-cultural events.