The Importance of SMSC for young people

At Holme Grange we believe our ethos is at the core of what we are about as a school and our work is driven by the desire to inspire pupils to become good citizens who proactively contribute to society.

Embedding Spiritual Moral Social and Cultural (SMSC) development within the curriculum and at the heart of the school creates a culture where curiosity is cultivated. Our staff team actively encourage pupils to develop a sense of awe and wonder to inspire a love of learning so that our young people develop as the unique individuals we value them to be.

Schools have a responsibility to challenge their pupils and enrich their appreciation of the world, engaging with other cultures, promoting an appreciation of the richness of the cultures in both the UK and the wider world. If we promote positive self-image, esteem and confidence we will equip pupils to make the right choices, build their social and emotional intelligence and establish skills to think creatively and critically and harness original thought.

Ways we are encouraging staff, families and pupils to take action

Each year for Harvest, Holme Grange collects food and other much needed items for those less fortunate living in our local community. This year we noticed an even higher need and provided our local food bank and day care centre with a wide variety of goods delivered by some of our pupil leadership team. This evidenced awareness amongst the pupil community and a willingness to take responsibility with practical action.

During the first national lockdown, the children of Year 3 and 4 had the exciting opportunity to have a live fish-filleting lesson over Zoom. The wonderful chefs at Thomas Franks livestreamed their tutorial from their kitchen. As the chefs were demonstrating what to do, the children (with their families) had the chance to follow along at home and fillet their own fish. Even the key worker children at school were able to get involved as Azdin led his own masterclass in the school kitchen! All the food produced by Thomas Franks was then donated to local people in need, and the school raised money as well by selling fish to the children’s families.

Holme Grange School is part of the growing global community taking positive action to tackle the negative effects of climate change. We have prioritised ‘Sustainability’ as one of our core objectives in our School Development Plan (SDP) and are working hard to embed environmental sustainability into our thinking and actions.

Our pupils are developing the requisite knowledge, skills and desire to affect positive change. We then hope that the younger generation will become the creative problem-solvers of the future.

For instance, we have 38 pupils who are Eco Ambassadors – each representing classes from reception to Year 11. The staff team is 8 strong and have completed UN CC:Learn courses on Children and Climate Change, Cities and Climate Change, Climate Change from Learning to Action, and Gender and the Environment to upskill ourselves. We also have a parent body of 21 representatives who provide their expertise and support to help us achieve our ambitious goals.

Our role is to facilitate the ideas and plans of the Ambassadors – to empower them to make the changes we need, and to drive the curriculum to ensure we are educating all of our children.

Learning Habits for Life

We understand that the personal development of pupils’ values plays a significant part in their ability to learn and achieve. At Holme Grange we want to give them a moral compass, which will guide them through life. Our Learning Habits and Values are more than words or posters on the wall; they are lived out daily in the lives of pupils in our school.

  1. Imagination and Creativity
  2. Risk Taking and Resilience
  3. Empathy and Understanding
  4. Independence and Initiative
  5. Courage and Self Belief
  6. Curiosity and Enthusiasm
  7. Cooperation and Collaboration.

During weekly assemblies children are rewarded with certificates for achieving something that reflects these school habits and values. Through their own initiative, some children baked cakes or made keyrings and sold them to raise money for a school we support in Kenya. They were awarded the Empathy and Understanding certificate. Another child was very worried about performing in the dance show in front of her peers, however she demonstrated great courage and so was awarded the Courage and Self Belief award.

A girl in year 7 was awarded for her Independence and Initiative for taking a leading role in the Enterprise Projects, where she worked on multiple areas of the business showing great leadership skills. Another pupil took on the role of Eco-Councillor despite having originally having some reservations about the responsibility. However, he then displayed great teamwork skills, as he showcased his Curiosity and Enthusiasm by providing pertinent information in an engaging manner in front of the whole school during a Sustainability Assembly.

Self-Evaluation – more than a ‘badge’ – it’s a driver for change and improvement

At Holme Grange, diversity is celebrated and strong partnerships are built between the staff and pupils, but also with families, the local community, businesses and charities. We want to continually challenge and improve our quality of education provision, and the National SMSC Quality Mark audit tool provided us with a vehicle to do this. It made us ask questions of ourselves and provided us with a ‘critical friend’ needed to secure on-going success for our students.

The SMSC Quality Mark award is not a ‘badge’, ‘award’ or ‘accreditation’ – it provides a tool which allows schools to celebrate what they do well and critique how to improve.

It also gave us an appreciation that if this is embedded as an evaluation tool, we can proactively bring about a powerful change within, and beyond the school gates.

SMSC Beacon School

As a SMSC hub school, Holme Grange will offer regional opportunities for schools to exchange effective practice, develop in-school SMSC skills and collaborate on enquiry-based projects in order to question ourselves and bring about positive outcomes for the young people in our care.

As a SMSC Gold Award School, we will bring together teachers and school leaders from all phases, sectors and contexts to share and augment the available evidence on what works and how this can be built upon to bring about positive and sustainable change within our schools and ultimately wider community.

Having SMSC embedded throughout all areas of the school is of huge importance in helping pupils of all ages to grow into thoughtful, caring and self-aware members of their communities.

The process of applying for the SMSC Gold Award enabled us at Holme Grange to see what we were getting right, and identify which areas needed more development. This year we have a focus on Sustainability, which is incorporating all of our habits and values in encouraging our pupils to understand how important their voice and actions are in the protection of our planet.


If you are interested to find out more about how the SMSC Quality Mark works, then join our online SMSC Beacon School event on Thursday 4th February 2021 (4pm-5pm). Hosted in partnership with Young Citizens, we’ll be discussing the benefits and challenges of improving SMSC provision.

Interested? Confirm your free place with by Tuesday 2nd February.