British Values and SMSC

What is SMSC?

SMSC stands for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. All schools in England must show how well their pupils develop in SMSC.


Explore beliefs and experience; respect faiths, feelings and values; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect.

Ofsted define ‘spiritual development’ in the following way:

Pupils’ spiritual development is shown by their:

  • ability to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values
  • sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them
  • use of imagination and creativity in their learning willingness to reflect on their experiences.



Recognise right and wrong; respect the law; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views.

Ofsted definition of ‘moral development’:

Pupils’ moral development is shown by their:

  • ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives, recognise legal boundaries and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England
  • understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions
  • interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and ability to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues.


Use a range of social skills; participate in the local community; appreciate diverse viewpoints; participate, volunteer and cooperate; resolve conflict; engage with the British values of democracy, the rule of law, liberty, respect and tolerance.

Ofsted definition of ‘social development’:

Pupils’ social development is shown by their:

  • use of a range of social skills in different contexts, for example working and socialising with other pupils, including those from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
  • willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
  • acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; they develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.


Appreciate cultural influences; appreciate the role of Britain’s parliamentary system; participate in culture opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.

Ofsted definition of ‘cultural development’:

Pupils’ cultural development is shown by their:

  • understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and those of others
  • understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain
  • knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values, and in continuing to develop Britain
  • willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural opportunities
  • interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.


What is meant by ‘British Values’?

Schools, through their curriculum, are legally bound to actively promote the fundamental British values of:

  • Democracy
  • The Rule of Law
  • Individual Liberty
  • Mutual Respect
  • Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs

The words ‘actively promote’ require schools to:

  • Focus on, and show how, the school’s work is effective in securing these values.
  • Challenging pupils, staff or parents who express opinions contrary to British values.


British Values at Woodcroft


Each year the children decide upon their class rules and the rights associated with these.

Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a very active School Council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in class council meetings. Two council members for each class are elected by their peers.

What we do through daily school life and the curriculum:

  • Provide pupils with a broad general knowledge of, and promote respect for, public institutions and services.
  • Teach pupils how they can influence decision-making through the democratic process.
  • Include in the curriculum information on the advantages and disadvantages of democracy and how it works in Britain.
  • Encourage pupils to become involved in the School Council and  the decision-making processes and ensure they are listened to in school.
  • Help pupils to express their views.
  • Teach pupils how public services operate and how they are held to account.

We would like to develop:

  • An annual questionnaire for pupils through which they are able to put forward their views about the school.
  • Visits and visitors linked to democracy in the locality.

The Rule of Law

The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.

What we do through daily school life and the curriculum:

  • Ensure school rules and expectations are clear and fair.
  • Help pupils to distinguish right from wrong.
  • Help pupils to respect the law and the basis on which it is made.
  • Help pupils to understand that living under the rule of law protects individuals.
  • Include visits from the police in the curriculum.

What we would like to develop:

  • Links and differences between Law and religion (within the constraints of the RE curriculum).
  • Restorative justice approaches to resolve conflicts.

Individual Liberty

Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education.  Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.

What we do through daily school life and the curriculum:

  • Support pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Encourage pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour, as well as knowing their rights.
  • Model freedom of speech through pupil participation, while ensuring protection of vulnerable pupils.
  • Challenge stereotypes.
  • Implement a strong anti-bullying culture.

What we would like to further develop:

  • Understanding of what constitutes challenges to individual liberty.

Mutual Respect

Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are actively encouraged to treat each other with respect.

What we do through daily school life and the curriculum:

  • Promote respect for individual differences.
  • Challenge prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour.
  • Develop critical personal thinking skills.
  • Discuss differences between people, such as differences of faith, ethnicity, disability or gender, and differences of family situations, such as looked-after children or young carers.

What we would like to further develop:

  • Help pupils to acquire a greater understanding of, and respect for, their own and other cultures and ways of life.

Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs

Woodcroft is situated in an area which is not greatly culturally diverse. We therefore  place an emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE reinforce this.

What we do through daily school life and the curriculum:

  • Ensure children have the opportunity to find out about different faiths.
  • Learning about beliefs underpinning major religions.

What we would like to develop:

  • Organise visits to places of worship.
  • Visitors from other faiths.
  • Links with faith communities.