Confidence, kindness and resilience are the golden threads which enable our students, staff and local community to work together to enable all to ‘be the best you can be’.

My name is Alice Thomas and I am the Head of department for Philosophy and Ethics at Southam College, Warwickshire. Southam College is a large, rural secondary school and is at the heart of the local community. Our school values are confidence, kindness and resilience and we put these at the centre of everything we do. Our ultimate aim is to enable all students to leave Southam College with memories which will be with them for a lifetime!

One of the main reasons Southam College applied for The National SMSC Quality Mark award was because we wanted to recognise the hard work of staff, students and the community in ensuring our students were being equipped with the skills, values and character to ‘be the best they can be’ and be best prepared for life in modern Britain.

Moreover, the self-review tool allowed us to reflect on the key strands of SMSC across the whole school, including leadership and management, curriculum, extra-curriculum and our whole school approach.

As a result, it enabled us to highlight our strengths and gave us a holistic approach with regards to how all four of these key elements work together to embed an outstanding SMSC approach.

Young Citizens guided us through the whole process of completing The National SMSC Quality Mark award. After working through the self-review tool, we were easily able to continue to develop our own practice. This included developing a whole-staff approach to SMSC by encouraging all staff to recognise SMSC - so that it actually comes from all teachers, subjects and from across the whole curriculum. Myself, and the Head of Character and Culture delivered staff training which enabled us to map SMSC within the curriculum across all subjects, but also allowed us to explore all SMSC opportunities outside of the curriculum. This highlighted that our SMSC provision required a whole school approach, from all staff, all of the time.

From completing the comprehensive yet easy-to-follow self-review tool, Southam College were able to pull together all the different elements of our learners' SMSC development from across the school. This included British Values, Character and Culture, PSHE and Philosophy and Ethics. It then allowed our action plan to come together more quickly. For example, as a result of the self-review tool and moderator’s feedback, we are now going to put in place an opportunity for all visitors to give feedback after their visit to the school. This will ensure we continue to reflect on our practice, continue to reflect on safeguarding procedures and moreover, ensure visitors feel welcomed within our community!

Head Boy, Southam College: “SMSC is such an important aspect of the school. I believe both the curriculum and extra-curriculum opportunities Southam College have given me, have made me the person I am today.”

The whole SMSC self-review process was a highly positive experience. The moderator’s visit was completely supportive and left such a positive and forward-looking approach to the future development of SMSC at Southam College. The moderator spoke with staff, students, parents and governors – all conversations left an everlasting impact on both the school and local community. It highlighted further the importance of memories and memorable experiences; the memories we give our students will make them who they are, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally - and the memories they create will last forever!