SMSC and British Values at Oakdale Infant School
Oakdale Infant School aims to inspire children and our wider community with a love of learning and curiosity about the world around us. We encourage children to be the best they can in everything they do. We want our children to develop the wisdom to make social, moral and ethical decisions with reflection, empathy and intelligence. We believe all children, however young, can develop responsibility with respect for themselves and others; values and attitudes that will stand them in good stead as they become global citizens.
At Oakdale Infant School spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) underpins everything we do and this includes actively promoting British values.
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 or Geography. 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
At Oakdale Infant School, the importance of SMSC education in developing well-rounded 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, although in the past they may not have been explicitly labelled as such; we have always referred to “Human Values.” 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. Some of them are explored below.
We listen to children’s and parent’s voice. Our school behaviour policy is 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, which meets regularly with the Headteacher, 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 the value and reasons behind our expectations (rules) that they are there to protect us, that everyone has a responsibility and that there are consequences when rules are broken. The understanding of right and wrong is a thread that runs through school activity, including our curriculum. It is discussed in school and class assemblies and Collective Worships, RE and Philosophy. Children are supported in making good choices between right and wrong by general school rules (some of which, in classes, are democratically selected by the children themselves) and particular rules e.g. those that govern the use of play equipment. Children are continually reminded about what is needed to make a safe and happy community and the role of boundaries (rules, laws) to achieve this. We have a clear and widely understood rule; “Keep Ourselves and Others’ Safe.” To reinforce this message, visits e.g. from our Police Liaison Officer, Police Officers and the Fire Service are a regular feature of our calendar.
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 young 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. 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.
At Oakdale Infant School we recognise that everyone is important and special, and needs to be treated as such. Our behaviour policy, 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 each week.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Our school, 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. 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.