SMSC and Modern Britain

What is SMSC?

SMSC stands for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural. All Schools and Academies in England must show how well their pupils develop in SMSC.

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

  image[17]  SAM_2135  100_0621

Pupils’ moral development is shown by their:

  • ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong, readily apply this understanding in their own lives 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 being able to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues

   IMG_0015       IMG_0011    SAM_3842

Pupils’ social development is shown by their:

  • use of a range of social skills in different contexts, including working and socialising with pupils 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; the pupils develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain

P8160189  P8160185  P8160175

Pupils’ cultural development is shown by their:

  • understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that 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, 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

DSCF0104  DSC02201  image[1]

What cultural education should a child receive?


By the time a child is seven years old, they should have:

  • Regularly taken part in different, cultural activities, such as reading books and story-telling, arts and crafts, making short animations, singing, music-making and dance.
  • They should also have been given the opportunity to visit age appropriate events and venues, such as theatre, cinema, concert hall, museum, gallery, library or heritage site. 

P8160218  P8160216  image[2]

By the time a child is eleven years old, they should have enjoyed high quality curriculum offer which includes:

  • The opportunity to gain knowledge about Cultural Education subjects and also to explore their own creativity.
  • The chance to create, to design, to devise, to compose and to choreograph their own work in collaboration with their classmates.
  • The experience of creating work be themselves, such as writing a story, poem or play text.
  • Presenting, displaying and performing to a range of audiences.
  • Using arts-specific vocabulary to respond to, evaluate, explain, analyse, question and critique their own other people's artistic works.
  • Learning about the application of the latest technology to help them access culture.


In addition, they will have:

  • Been encouraged to be adventurous in their choices about cultural activities, by learning about literature, films, visual arts, crafts, heritage, music and dance that is beyond the scope of their normal everyday engagement. 
  • Learned about the people who have created or are creating art forms. They will also have gained knowledge about the historical development of those art forms. 
  • Had the chance to learn a musical instrument.
  • Regularly taken part in singing.
  • Taken part in dramatic performances.
  • Taken part in workshops with professional artists, craftsmen, architects, musicians, archivists, curators, dancers, film-makers, poets, authors or actors. 
  • Been on visits at each Key Stage to cultural institutions and venues, which might include a museum, a theatre, a gallery, a heritage site and a cinema.
  • Become a regular user of the library.
  • Regularly read books for pleasure, rather than only as part of their schoolwork.
  • Been encouraged to use digital technology as a means of accessing and gaining a deeper understanding of a great culture.
  • Taken part in the making (writing, acting, shooting, editing) of a short film.
  • Had the opportunity to gain a qualification through the Junior Arts Award.
  • Received the support necessary to take an interest or passion further.
  • Been made aware of the other activities and resources available to them in their local area.
  • Been able to join a lunchtime or after school club to continue their interests. 


Modern Britain

In addition to the SMSC requirements, schools and Academies must demonstrate how they prepare their pupils for life in modern Britain.

Meeting requirements for collective worship, establishing a strong school ethos throughout the school, and providing relevant support by effective relationships and activities beyond the classroom are all ways of ensuring pupil SMSC development.


Pupils must be encouraged to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance.

Schools should promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

The list below describes the understanding and knowledge expected of pupils as a result of schools promoting fundamental British values.


  • an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process;


  • an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety;


  • an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence;


  • an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;


  • an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself(or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour; and


  • an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination.