British Values & SMSC

Statement on British Values and SMSC

SMSC development is about far more than learning the curriculum.  We work hard to give all our pupils the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to progress and achieve academically, socially and emotionally.  All of our teaching takes place in the context of safe and nurturing environments where each young person is known, and each individual’s learning journey is unique to them.

Here at Hedgewood School we have a strong commitment to the personal and social development of all pupils. The school vision and values, put together by all the staff, supports spiritual, moral, social and cultural characteristics in all pupils.

What is SMSC – Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development?

SMSC is personalised for all our pupils at Hedgewood.

Spiritual development is when we:

Explore beliefs and experience; respect faiths, feelings and values; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect.

Moral development is when we:

Recognise right and wrong; respect the law; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views.

Social development is when we:

Use a range of social skills; participate in the local community; appreciate diverse viewpoints; participate, volunteer and cooperate; resolve conflict; engage with the ‘British values’ of democracy, the rule of law, liberty, respect and tolerance.

Cultural development is when we:

Appreciate cultural influences; appreciate the role of Britain’s parliamentary system; participate in culture opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.

In our school pupil’s SMSC development is seen for example in:

  • Taking part in a range of activities regarding social skills
  • Developing an awareness and respect for diversity
  • Developing an understanding of right and wrong.
  • Developing the communication skills to make choices about likes/dislikes in school then in wider community visits.
  • Taking part in sporting opportunities.
  • Taking part in cultural opportunities.
  • Taking part in artistic opportunities.

SMSC is embedded throughout the curriculum at Hedgewood.  This integrated approach ensures that aspects of SMSC are considered in all subject areas. The senior leadership team audits SMSC and Governors monitor it across school.

Beyond the Curriculum

We are also committed as a school to developing SMSC beyond the curriculum. This is done through:

  • Arts, Music and Cultural Specialists visits to school over the year
  • Assemblies give pupils an opportunity to explore aspects of SMSC
  • Our supportive interventions support aspects of SMSC – Swimming, gymnastics , development of Forest school practice and lunch time and after school clubs.
  • Enrichment opportunities for all our pupils where teachers plan and carry out visits linked to our curriculum topic
  • Opportunities for pupils to take part in Key stage focused activity days across the school
  • Whole school events such as Christmas performance, graduation for leavers in KS2

SMSC Statement

Ofsted guidance for the teaching of ‘British Values’

  • Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England
  • Encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely
  • Enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England
  • Further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation for and respect for their own and other cultures
  • Encourage respect for other people, and 
  • Encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
  • Encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.

Our response to Ofsted Guidance

We acknowledge the concept of ‘British Values’ as ‘Human Values’, not uniquely relevant to Britain but relevant all societies which encourage tolerance, fairness and respect.

Our personalized approach to learning, high staffing ratios and 1:1 support where appropriate helps us to develop those qualities in our pupils. We can model this for all pupils by listen, caring – offering the highest quality of care- Developing appropriate communication systems so that our pupils have a voice and can have control over their environment. We foster relationships, friendships, a love for learning and a love for school, all of which are helping us to promote those values which are at the very core of life itself.

Building self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence are part of our ethos ‘be nice, work hard, be happy’. Through our three curriculum pathways and positive behaviour approach we encourage our pupils to understand right & wrong, this can be modelled through real-life experiences, literature, drama and games.

We see communication as the key to allowing children to have a voice, to be able to express an opinion, to know they are heard, to be listened to. For children whose behaviour can be challenging, due to their deficits in their Essential 8 skills or sensory needs to, we can model appropriate behaviour and use teaching protocols that include strategies for reducing anxiety which can be a trigger for socially unacceptable behaviour. We aim improve the quality of life our pupils with Autism and learning difficulties by increasing pupil’s tolerances to everyday situations that they may find challenging such as; being able to accept ‘no’, wait, share and take turns. We sensitively, carefully and gradually teach toleration skills through teaching protocols and positive behaviour support (Hedgewood ABC) strategies and work with families on identifying the toleration skill that will make home life better.
Through our topics and special days, we can provide opportunities for pupils to have first-hand experience of public institutions and services such as the police, fire and ambulance service. Through building relationships and having first hand sensory experiences of these services respect and understanding can be built.

We are a multicultural school and therefore celebrate a wide range of cultural traditions. This is primarily achieved through topics, special days and assemblies. Our pupils love listening to world music, tasting food from other cultures, experiencing traditions and taking part in activities around different cultures. For example, African drumming, dance, cookery activities, singing, role-play, dressing up, community visits and creating art. Through such personalized learning are children are keen to embrace cultural activities without discrimination, seeing joy and fun in their exploration.

Promoting Fundamental British Values (‘Human Values’)

The DfE identified the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to 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.” We promote British values in ways that are meaningful to our pupils. Much of this promotion is achieved through day to day practice supporting pupils in building and maintaining relationships with each other and staff. It is also woven into the delivery of the whole curriculum as well as having a specific focus in PSHCE teaching and learning. It plays a key part in our SMSC focus as well as all collective worship and assemblies.

These values are our interpretation of British Values (‘Human Values’)and will form a core part of our teaching:

British Values

Hedgewood’s version

DemocracyEveryone has a voice – you are valued
Rule of LawFollow the rules
Tolerance of cultures and religionsTry to understand others
Mutual respectShow respect for all
LibertyFreedom to access opportunities
Understanding Autism, anxiety etc *Accepting difference
Safety*Feeling and Keeping safe

*not specified as a British value but added by Hedgewood as considered to be particularly important in our context.

As pupils move through school, and when it is appropriate, pupils move to using the wording used for the fundamental British values.

These values will form the themes for Assemblies across the school, in addition they are a major focus of our focus on development of Social Understanding and Social Context in the Curriculum.

Democracy: Pupils and their parents or carers have a powerful influence on how we structure teaching, learning and all forms of support at Hedgewood. Listening with respect and responding appropriately, is modelled by all staff. We demonstrate and expect our pupils to contribute and co-operate and also consider the views and needs of others. Our pupil voice policy ensures that pupils are powerful contributors.

The Rule of Law: We consistently reinforce our high expectations of our pupils’ behaviour. Whenever appropriate, pupils are taught the reasons behind our expectations (rules) and their value; that they are there to protect and support us. Emphasis is placed on each person’s responsibility for their own words and actions. This is underpinned by consistent consequences when rules are disregarded.

Individual Liberty: Within the school environment pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are safe and supported in doing so. We guide pupils to learn what constitutes a good choice and they are encouraged to express their views and opinions. In delivering the curriculum we respond to pupil preferences and interests in the way we plan teaching and learning opportunities.

Mutual Respect: Staff demonstrate and model respect in all relationships and promote the behaviours and attitudes in pupils that are the foundation of positive relationships. The strong school ethos, apparent in everything we do, encourages everyone to consider and support others and celebrate the worth and individuality of each member of our school community.

Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs: A key theme within our teaching is understanding the world around us; this includes providing experiences from different faiths, beliefs and cultures.
As a staff we are sensitive to anything that may constitute extremist political or religious views or any form of intolerance of others, whether this is expressed directly or more public forums such as social media. Should a situation arise within the school community, it is dealt with swiftly and with appropriate confidentiality and sensitivity, following national and local procedures and guidelines.

Understanding Autism, anxiety: Staff demonstrate and model respect in all relationships and actively promote a culture of accepting differences. We focus on developing pupil’s communication, independence and self-confidence.

Safety: We recognise our pupil’s social vulnerability and create a environment where pupils understand they can trust staff in school completely. All staff recognise that challenging behaviour is an anxiety. Pupils are taught strategies to keep themselves safe through unpicking social situations they find tricky. Through teaching social understanding, learning about social context it will develop of pupil’s positive emotional wellbeing and resilience.

Through these approaches the world for our pupils will begin to make sense which in turn has a positive impact on self-esteem, self-confidence, emotional wellbeing and reliance of our pupils

All our visitors are made aware of our behaviour code and expectations.

How We Protect Pupils from Extremist Views, Including Religious and Political Extremism:

Our Religious Education covers the main world religions and promotes tolerance and understanding of different world views.

We teach pupils to:

  • Hold secure values and beliefs and be able to to distinguish right from wrong.
  • Challenge injustice and be committed to the rights of the human being to live peaceably with others.
  • Reflect on the impact of religion and belief in the world. We help pupils to consider the importance of interfaith dialogue and to have some understanding of the tensions that exist within and between religions and beliefs.

Pupils visit different places of worship. Educational journeys include opportunities to experience and learn about different cultures. Parents and members of the wider community are invited into school to talk about their religions, cultures, customs and beliefs.

Pupils may come into contact with extremist views, literature or propaganda at any time, including when on school trips. Staff leading or accompanying trips are vigilant to this possibility. Our duty is to support pupils who may be distressed or frightened by what they read or see. We help pupils to have a balanced view as well as give them coping strategies when dealing with what may be external pressures.