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Social, Moral, Spiritual & Cultural Education

Our SMSC Curriculum and how we promote Fundamental British Values

At Hillcrest Primary School, we value SMSC. We are inclusive and diverse! We not only actively promote the social, spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at our school – they sit at the very heart of everything we do! 


We want our children to remember their SMSC lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the opportunities they are presented with! Bringing SMSC alive is important at Hillcrest Primary School. Our SMSC curriculum has been carefully crafted so that our children develop their Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural capital. We achieve this by carefully mapping out weekly whole-school themes to be explored and celebrated. These are underpinned by our RIPE core values. Each half-term is designated to a core value – with weekly themes relating to that over-arching core theme. For example, after Christmas the children focus on our ‘Resilience’ core value by tackling weekly themes such as the NSPCC Pants initiative, online safety and sex and relationships education. 


Each week starts with an introductory assembly – led by class teachers – introducing the children to a different key theme. This theme is then explored in greater depth in class. 


Our pupils are also encouraged to celebrate nationally recognised themed days. For example, our Year 6 children went to a local charity shop in Totterdown in celebration of International Day of Charity. They were given a tour of the shop and showed what they do with all of the donations they receive. Earlier this month, pupils and parents donated preloved babies/kids clothes for the local community. The whole-school came together to raise awareness and improve our pupil’s understanding of dementia. Sally Townsend led a superb assembly and our very own Dementia Hero and visited classes to describe the challenges people living with dementia have. 


Other examples include:  exploring Leigh Woods to learn more about green spaces and discuss woodland initiative; welcoming in a Nicaraguan Fairtrade Producer who visited our school  as part of  Fairtrade Fortnight and spoke to the children about the charity and the impact it has had on him and his family.


We use the vibrancy of our great city to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. For example, children from Years 4 recently went on an enrichment trip to Bristol Aerospace Museum. The children were invited into the Mosque by Shabir Zaheer, who was the Imam. The children learnt Arabic words for the prayer area and the prayer arch. Most of the time there was spent discussing how we feel when people look different to us and we how should try and accept differences and learn about them. Also, as part of our British Values work around the ‘rule of law’, pupils across the school visited The Houses of Parliament visited to help bring the theme alive! The children had a tour of the parliament, visited the Great Hall and learnt more about our prime ministers, past and present. What an eye opener it was! 


We enrich our pupils’ time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities which are normally out of reach – this piques their interests and passions. For example, earlier this year some of our Year 6 pupils were given the opportunity to work with costume designers and musicians as part of a St Paul’s Carnival project. Also, as part of our whole-school Remembrance theme, Yr 6 pupils took part in the Amistice Day at Arnos Vale Cemetery and read poems to ex-service men and women. We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.


Other recent examples include: a virtual visit from a milliner who spoke to our Year 1 children about the history of hats. Whilst many of the children would have known that throughout history, hats have served functional purposes and fulfilled practical needs, but they also leant that hats had an equal historical importance in that they were a status symbol within the social rankings of societies.


Promoting Fundamental British Values as part of SMSC

Through our provision of SMSC we:

  • 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 of 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.The list below describes the understanding and knowledge expected of pupils as a result of schools promoting fundamental British values.
  • an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process;
  • an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety;
  • an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence;
  • an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;
  • an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour; and
  • an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination.


It is not necessary for schools or individuals to ‘promote’ teachings, beliefs or opinions that conflict with their own, but nor is it acceptable for schools to promote discrimination against people or groups on the basis of their belief, opinion or background.


Examples of actions that a school can take

The following is not designed to be exhaustive, but provides a list of different actions that schools can take, such as:

  • include in suitable parts of the curriculum, as appropriate for the age of pupils, material on the strengths, advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and how democracy and the law works in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries;
  • ensure that all pupils within the school have a voice that is listened to, and demonstrate how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes such as a school council whose members are voted for by the pupils;
  • use opportunities such as general or local elections to hold mock elections to promote fundamental British values and provide pupils with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view;
  • use teaching resources from a wide variety of sources to help pupils understand a range of faiths, and
  • consider the role of extra-curricular activity, including any run directly by pupils, in promoting fundamental British values.