The National SMSC Quality Mark celebrates its first birthday

The Spiritual Moral Social Cultural (SMSC) education is a character-building platform. It provides a holistic perspective for the learner. If provision is sound, it has the potential to support children now and throughout the rest of their lives. 

A generation of well-rounded, socially aware and empathetic citizenry with a strong moral compass is also pretty good for society, wouldn’t you say? 

Reading, writing and arithmetic are crucial skills to fulfilling one’s potential. But by providing an education environment that fosters broader learning, there’s an opportunity to help prepare young people to thrive in our ever-changing world.

I have heard SMSC education be described by many as fluffy, vague and difficult to evidence. Steve Chalke MBE, founder of the Oasis Charitable Trust, has described it as ‘our inner story’, which I think is beautifully expressed.

Exactly a year ago, Lord Jim Knight, Chief Education Advisor at TES, launched The National SMSC Quality Mark. In front of a room of education and policy experts at the House of Lords, he said, ‘There has never been a better time than now to have a SMSC Quality Mark’. This education cornerstone is finally getting the attention and consideration it deserves.

The SMSC Quality Mark was developed to support schools in evaluating and improving their SMSC education. Schools can use the self-review tool to look at every aspect of their SMSC provision and inform next steps. It is not about gathering evidence to prove how good your SMSC delivery is, but to understand how to strengthen and celebrate provision. 

Some institutions also like to get an external perspective, which we provide. This can involve working with lead practitioners to help inform best practice. Alternatively, we can verify the school’s self-assessment so that schools can formally celebrate its contribution with its children, staff and wider community.

Before a recent verification visit in London, I was told I would sense the strength of SMSC from the moment I walked in. I did! The Headteacher described the children as ‘precious nuggets of gold that he and his staff had the pleasure of taking care of’. The children were visibly moved when sharing their reasons for enjoying each school day. They used words like ‘kind’ and ‘understanding’ to describe their teachers, which showed their words were heartfelt. I entered the building sensing the SMSC, and left following a group hug with the Head and the SMSC lead!

We have 27 SMSC specialists based around the country who form the team of verifiers. Together we are ready to support your journey to SMSC excellence for your children. 

It has been a pleasure overseeing The National SMSC Quality Mark during its first 12-months of existence. The launch event contained so much excitement about the quality mark’s potential for reviewing, improving, embedding and celebrating SMSC education. One year in, I feel incredibly proud to report that these benefits have already been felt in over 600 schools.

I look forward to seeing more creativity and SMSC gorgeousness in schools during the year ahead. 

Find out more here