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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.

In November 2014, the DfE stated that ‘Maintained schools have obligations under section 78 of the Education Act (2002) which requires schools, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum, to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society.’ SMSC therefore closely links with Fundamental British ValuesThe Prevent Duty and PSHE & Citizenship. For further information, please see the associated policies.

How do we actively promote SMSC development at Castle Hill School?

Everything that we do at Castle Hill has links to or comes directly from SMSC development aims.  As a school we believe strongly in promoting the development of the whole child by giving them the very best opportunities to lead happy, fulfilled lives, playing their part in society.

In addition to the philosophical significance of SMSC, the teaching and learning of SMSC awareness, skills, and knowledge is promoted through systematically planned and assessed programmes of work. SMSC underpins and permeates every area of the curriculum. SMSC Development is further promoted through our work towards supporting Wellbeing and Unicef’s Rights Respecting School Award.


SMSC Quality Standard Mark

In July 2019 Castle Hill School was awarded the Silver level of the National SMSC Quality Mark, and confirmed by the Quality Assurance Panel.

Through the self-evaluation process it was evident that there were numerous SMSC related strengths at Castle Hill; the following were a few key examples:

 · There is a strong tradition of extracurricular activities and community engagement that benefit students and all members of the school community.

· There is a golden thread around ‘Achieving Goals, Fulfilling Dreams’ which provides a strong sense of moral purpose throughout the school and this is in line with OFSTED expectations around ‘intent’.

· Student voice and engagement has proved to be able to make a strong contribution to school improvement. This was exampled recently when the School Council presented to both OFSTED and for the local healthy schools award.

· All of the above have been enhanced through a staff working party, CPD, numerous displays around the school and through the community newsletters, which also makes links to the curriculum

So, overall, a huge thank you to all our school community for their hard work and commitment to make it possible for us to proudly achieve this award.

The journey to SMSC Gold standard

Our initial efforts to celebrate our silver award success by going for gold started almost immediately. We responded to the recommendations of the panel with haste and set about implementing change.

We consider ways to further improve the contribution of the School Council, which could include closer liaison with Governors; enhancing enterprise activities and learning walks to review provision. Reviewed curriculum provision in light of the statutory guidance on relationships education, relationships and sex education and health education. Reviewed the SMSC policy in light of the award and identified ways to implement these changes throughout our community, in line with local and national guidance and to promote innovation and best practice.

In April 2021 we were confident that all of the above have been achieved and shared throughout the school and with the whole community. Although, inevitably, some of this work remained unfinished or underwent a delay in implementation because of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. But, despite this we were overjoyed to have satisfied all aspects of the verification process and were enormously proud to accept the gold standard award.

(read about our journey, including overcoming barriers during the pandemic in this blog…

Once again, the verification team commented on their experience and praised the students who, “communicated so well, enthusiastically, appropriately and were a credit to themselves, their families and the school.”

The school’s SMSC development through the self-evaluation process and discussions was identified by the verifiers as numerous SMSC related strengths; the following were noted as a few key examples:

· SMSC development was clearly embedded across the school and throughout the curriculum. This was demonstrated in the high expectations, in teachers planning, pedagogical awareness, and the active participation of all staff.

· This level of planning and raised awareness now provides for celebrating not just Halloween Christmas and Easter, but Ramadan, Chinese New Year and Eid. Associated with this is the engagement with local primary schools around ‘Forest Schools’ and the ‘Pets As Therapy’ work to support the SMSC of students still further.

· The active engagement with the local community both in terms of inviting people in and outreach work with the local community. The work that we’re doing to encourage 6th form students to become play leaders; the engagement with local primary schools and Greenhead College and the student’s engagement with Greenacres care home, for people with dementia, is excellent.

· The ‘green day’ learning and fundraising opportunities for Macmillan are a delight but there may also be other opportunities which could be explored to support local and/or other charities. This could provide additional opportunities for students, their families and other supporters to develop SMSC learning.

· As the enforced restrictions of Covid are eased, there will no doubt, be even more opportunities to invite outside agencies and individuals into Castle Hill and to increase the opportunities to reach out to other local community organisations.

· The forthcoming development of the new ‘eco-build’ will enhance still further opportunities for work experience and work-related learning for Castle Hill students. This will also provide some exciting opportunities for even greater community involvement.

In response to our successful attainment of the Gold Standard Quality Mark we are incredibly proud to be one of a few schools nationally to be considered a Beacon School for SMSC development and out starting our journey to share our experiences with other, prospective schools considering this award for their provisions.

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