Why SMSC development underpins everything we say, do and teach

The importance of SMSC within schools

I have been teaching for 30 years this year, twenty of them as a Headteacher. Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural (SMSC) development underpins all I do – personally, strategically and practically. Growing up, my family and friends taught me about relationships and how to treat others, and a whole host of wonderful colleagues in church and non-church schools have honed my personality and professional skills at each stage, due to their role models. It’s always been the bottom line in everything I do – treat others as you wish to be treated.

I believe that it is our professional duty to serve the communities we work within and to remember that we are stewards of each school, caring and developing it for our time with that group of children. It’s a great privilege (although there are days it doesn’t feel that way!) to know that you have nurtured and developed small minds to become strong, caring and capable individuals.

Good role models in all we say, do and teach

The award means a great deal to our school. We are a new school developed from two failing settings and we have worked exceptionally hard to recruit a great team with the right attitudes that our children deserve. We don’t have a clever “strap line” or motto – Happy Children Learn Best (and happy staff give with their hearts!) seems like a naive statement, but it is true! We are a Values-based Education (VbE) school and we recruit and live by the Christian values we teach our children – it’s not rocket science really, is it? Children learn through the models set by adults in their lives – so we work hard to be good role models in all we say, do and teach. It’s become a way of life for us at Send Primary School – everything comes back to it.

The National SMSC Quality Mark helped inform our development

I would recommend The National SMSC Quality Mark as an audit tool for development. We aren’t a ‘badge collecting’ school, but we use audits for awards in areas we think we are performing well in to help us identify our next steps for improvement. The assessment day was rigorous and we have a great long list of additional things we could do – particularly website development using pupil voice. It’s all in our School Development Plan for the 2019/20 academic year!

The Self-Review Tool helps with the new OFSTED framework

Intrinsic behaviour outcomes are key to the new framework. Children who are confident, happy individuals and who are rewarded by a smile and a kind word from an adult (along with the occasional sticker!) can develop a sense of community responsibility and great attitudes to learning – allowing them to make positive choices at work and play (most of the time!).

We didn’t compromise on the breadth and depth of our curriculum when we started to develop plans for the new school – it would have been so much easier to just focus on SAT English and Maths outcomes given that the old schools were in categories – but that isn’t what life is all about is it?

As a result, we have children who are meeting (and a fair few, exceeding) age-related expectations, but we also have “grown” children who are well-rounded individuals with a real sense of applying their values; a sense of pride, belonging and purpose; and they are committed to making the school and wider community better for those around them.

They will be tomorrow’s adults and so they have to carry the torch!

Sue Sayers has taught for 30 years and is the Executive Headteacher at Send Church of England Primary School in Woking, Surrey.

Suggested next steps: