Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Education
What is SMSC education?
The main aim of Social, Moral Spiritual & Cultural education is to provide knowledge and understanding; prepare young people for later life and wider society; and to develop responsible attitudes. It is the key to ‘developing the whole child’.
At Castle Manor Academy, we believe that the development of pupils spiritually, morally, socially and culturally plays an important part in their ability to learn and achieve. We aim to provide a broad education and range of experiences that provides children with opportunities to explore and develop their own values and beliefs, spiritual awareness, high standards of personal behaviour, a positive caring attitude towards other people, an understanding of their social and cultural traditions and an appreciation of the diversity and richness of other cultures.
Spiritual education is often perceived to relate to religious education, and often specifically to Christianity. In fact, it has a much wider brief.
Its aim is to allow students to reflect on feelings of wonder and beauty in the world; to understand that integrity, love, persistence and emotions are an important part of life; and that the ability to think reflectively about their place in the world.
Opportunities to focus on Christianity do arise in assemblies and occasional ‘Collective Acts of Worship’, for example when Bible readings are used at Christmas or Easter; when the Gideon’s offer New Testaments in yr7; or during tutor time when Christian quotations are used as ‘Thought for the Day’.
However, much wider opportunities occur across the Academy. In Child Care classes students look at relationships based on love versus physical relationships. In English students are encouraged to read for pleasure and to explore the abstract in prose and poetry.
In History, students look at the role of religion in conflict, from the Crusades, to Puritanism and the Salem Witch Trials; from the Holocaust to Tudor Reformation; and the role of the Church in the Holocaust and Nazi Germany.
In Music, students look at religious music from Reggae and Rastafarianism. They develop the skills to listen to a range of music styles and imagine what the themes and pictures are that relate to it.
In Science, students investigate the interdependence of all living things; they look at the role of Humanity in changing the environment and learn respect for it. Students also study the difference between truth, facts and theories and relate this to different ideas around the origins of life and the Universe.
Pupil’s spiritual development is shown by their:
- exploring and reflecting on own beliefs and experiences, religious or otherwise
- respect for differences in faiths, feelings and values
- enjoyment in learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world
- use of imagination and creativity
- willingness to reflect on their experiences
Our students live in a rapidly changing world with access to instantaneous communications and social media. We have a responsibility to support them in making sensible decisions, giving them the skills and knowledge to make fair and respectful choices, understanding the consequences of their behavior. They are supported in learning right from wrong, to not discriminate and to value all peoples and opinions.
For example, in Science students learn about the development and testing of medicines and discuss ethical views on animal testing. They will also learn about Darwin and theories of evolution and also discuss Creationism and tolerance of different views.
In English, students study a range of books and poetry that explore war, responsibility, racism, gender equality, conflict, and disability rights. They also investigate ideas around integrity in journalism.
Pupils’ moral development is shown by their:
- ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong, readily apply this understanding in their own lives 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 being able to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues.
Social education is about learning about ones place in society; about the role of democracy, authority, respect and interdependence.
Skills for Life lessons cover a wide range of topics that support this. Students work through ideas about keeping safe, peer pressure, saying no, puberty and emotional changes, identity and making choices. They are given the opportunity to explore their role in society from forming positive relationships; making choices around education, careers and work; and managing stress and wellbeing.
In other subjects students learn to work together in small groups and teams, respecting each other’s opinions and listening to different views.
Sporting activities develop a sense of pride in the community and self-esteem.
In Music, students work together and separately to make music and to take part in shows and events. The Samba Band is a particular opportunity for students to make music in a collaborative way.
Pupils’ social development is shown by their:
- interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues
- being able to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues
- willingness to take part in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others
- being able to resolve conflicts effectively
- acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values as described above
Across Castle Manor Academy cultural education is exemplified in a range of subjects and activities.
For example, at KS3, in Art and Dance students have the opportunity to study styles and artists from other cultures and countries. A recent example is students looking at Capoeira dance.
In Geography, KS3 students study tourism and globalisation and look at development and inequality on both a local and global scale. They look closely at the links between crime and inequality.
In History, they look at the effect that the Norman Conquest had on the culture and development of England, as well as the role of Empire and the Industrial Revolution. This is also covered in Science from the point of view of how technology has changed society.
In English, books are chosen to cover a range of historical contexts, different cultures and writing styles. At KS4 students study ‘Of Mice and Men’, looking at the life of women and issues around race.
Enhancement, guests and trips also offer opportunities for students to widen their knowledge of their own and other cultures. For example we have hosted a number of Dutch students in year 9 for the past couple of years. This has allowed students to see similarities and differences in a first-hand way.
Pupils’ cultural development is shown by their:
- understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that of others in the community
- understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within the Academy 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, sporting, charitable and cultural opportunities
- interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity
- understanding, acceptance, respect for and celebration of diversity, as shown by their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.