Home > Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural Policy

February 2017


1. Introduction

St John the Baptist RC Primary School seeks to provide an education firmly founded on Christ and the Catholic Faith.  Spiritual, moral, social and cultural principles are nurtured in a way that is reflected in daily life within a happy and caring environment.

The principles are based on the recognition of the dignity and worth of each child.  High standards are expected and intellectual development is emphasised and fostered along with the pursuit of academic excellence.  At St John’s, we value the unique contribution of every child within the school community and aim to encourage an active partnership between home, school, parish and the wider community.


2. Rationale

The spiritual, moral social and cultural development of the child is recognised as being of fundamental importance for the education of all children by Governors, staff and parents of our school.  It supports all areas of learning and can contribute to the child’s motivation to learn.

The curriculum and worship contribute planned opportunities for development and enrichment.  It is recognised that such development will be most successful when the values and attitudes promoted by the staff provide a model of behaviour for the children.  In later years it can enrich the individual’s appreciation of life’s experiences and their relationship with others.


3. School Ethos

The values and attitudes promoted by the staff influence the behaviour and attitudes within the school.  The quality of relationships and the atmosphere within the school reflect an appreciation of their shared values.


4. Spiritual Development

Spiritual development is relevant to all children.  In developing the spirituality of children, we help them to become aware of:

  • The human search for meaning and purpose of life which leads to an understanding and belief in God
  • The joy of being alive
  • The beauty of the natural world
  • The mystery and wonder of existence
  • Feelings, experiences, emotions
  • A sense of being part of a greater whole
  • A search for meaning and purpose
  • A sense of awe, wonder and mystery
  • The world of imagination and creativity
  • The value of the non-material dimension of life
  • The need to understand oneself and one’s feelings
  • The need to value oneself and one’s feelings
  • The need to recongise the feelings and achievements of others
  • The Bible and other religious faiths

4.1 In this way, spiritual development encourages:

  • Self awareness
  • Reflection
  • Reasoning
  • A sense of enduring identity
  • Good relationships
  • Co-operation and empathy
  • The formation of long term ideals

4.2 The school will promote spiritual development through:

  • Fostering high self-esteem by encouraging children to take risks or face challenges in their learning within a secure and positive environment
  • Demonstrating its appreciation for work of the child’s imagination and provide opportunities for them to use their own creativity and imagination. This is through our curriculum and school environment
  • Offering opportunities for aesthetic experience in art, music, dance and literature.  This is through Story-telling, Music lessons, Enrichment weeks and activities, clubs, visitors and visits
  • Making time for stillness and reflection which may lead to children coming to the threshold of prayer
  • Posing questions that encourage children to consider issues of meaning and purpose.  This is through RE and other opportunities planned through and around our curriculum.

5. Moral Development

This relates to the child’s developing understanding of what is ‘right’, ‘wrong’ and ‘fair’.  The school will try to build on the moral training within the home while accepting that there might be different approaches between home and school.

5.1 Moral development is concerned with:

  • Developing the child’s awareness and understanding of the moral code of the communities in which they live; these may or may not be statutory
  • Knowing of the codes and conventions of conduct agreed by society
  • Having the will to behave morally as a point of principle
  • Being able to articulate attitudes and values
  • Recongising the moral dimensions to situations
  • Helping the child to realise that to enjoy the rights we have to accept responsibilities
  • Developing the child’s understanding of why rules are necessary
  • Developing the child’s self-discipline so that rules are observed
  • Giving the child the knowledge and ability to question and to reason so that they are capable of deciding on the most appropriate action after considering the consequences of an action
  • Developing a set of socially acceptable values and principles
  • Recognising that values and attitudes change over time
  • Making judgements on issues by applying moral principles, insights and reasoning
  • Taking responsibility for ones’ own actions
  • Understanding the consequences of actions for self and others
  • Develop the skills necessary to explain their own behaviour
  • Value physical well being, privacy, feelings, beliefs and rights of others
  • Recognising that Christian Values form the basis of our moral code

5.2 The school will promote the moral development of the child by:

  • Accepting proper authority and doing as they are told, as agreed by and developed through school rules
  • Showing respect to all adults in school eg Teachers, TAs, Lunchtime Supervisors.  Children know how to meet and greet a visitor and how to show respect to adults
  • Having a consensus of values that are stated clearly and owned by everyone, especially the children and involving the child in the evaluation of these
  • Building up the self-esteem of the child
  • Encouraging everyone within the school to behave in an acceptable way towards one another
  • Training children in understanding the consequences of their actions

5.3 At our school our Moral Code is underpinned by belief in:

  • Christian Values
  • Telling the truth
  • Keeping promises
  • Respecting the rights and property of others
  • Being considerate to one another
  • Caring for those who are less fortunate
  • Accepting responsibility for one’s own actions
  • Self discipline

5.4 We will not accept:

  • Bullying
  • Cheating
  • Deceit
  • Cruelty
  • Irresponsibility
  • Dishonesty
  • Selfishness

6. Social Development

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 religions, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.  They should be willing to participate in a variety of social settings, cooperating well with others and be able to resolve conflicts effectively.  They should be interested in and understand the way communities and societies function at a variety of levels.

This involves pupils acquiring an understanding of the responsibilities and rights of being members of families and communities (local, national and global), and an ability to relate to others and to work with others for the common good.

6.1 The school will promote social development through:

  • Developing an understanding of their individual and group identity
  • Learning about service in the school and wider community
  • Working and socialising with pupils from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
  • Sharing views and opinions with others and work towards consensus
  • Showing respect for people, living things, property and the environment
  • Benefitting from and accepting of advice offered by those in authority or counselling roles
  • Acquiring the competencies and qualities needed to play a full part in society
  • Understanding the institutions, structures and processes of society
  • Understanding how individuals relate to each other
  • Adjusting to a range of social contexts by appropriate and sensitive behaviour
  • Being able to make a personal contribution to the well-being of groups
  • Exercising responsibility and initiative
  • Being able to participate cooperatively and productively in the community
  • Knowing how societies function and are organised
  • Understanding how what is learnt in the curriculum relates to life in society
  • Being able to take on the roles of team leader and team worker
  • Beginning to understand social justice and a concern for the disadvantaged
  • Understanding their responsibility to the communities to which they belong
  • Enabling them to become lifelong learners

7. Cultural Development

Development in this area allows the child to recognise that all cultural groups are distinctive.  Culture is the embodiment of shared beliefs, knowledge, customs and values of that group.  The child needs to appreciate the distinctive features of their own culture and those of others.  This will help children to answer the questions ‘Who am I’ and ‘Where do I fit in?’.

We need to remember that cultures are dynamic and are constantly being re-shaped.

7.1 The school will promote cultural development through:

  • Exposing children to a wealth of stimuli from their own culture and those of others.  This will be taught through the whole curriculum as appropriate.  Visits out of school and visitors to the school will support this teaching as will international links.
  • Understanding of beliefs, customs, values, knowledge and skills which form the basis for identity and cohesion in society
  • Recognition of and respect for the rights of others to exercise a cultural influence
  • Knowledge of the nature and roots of cultural traditions.  And the key features of major cultural groups within society
  • Personal response and accomplishments
  • The capacity to relate what is learnt to an appreciation of wider cultural aspects of society
  • Developing and strengthening the cultural interests of pupils
  • Exposing pupils to a breadth of stimuli in order to allow them to develop new interests
  • Extending horizons beyond the immediate to the highest artistic, musical and literacy achievements
  • Understanding the diversity of religious, social, aesthetic, ethnic and political traditions and practices

8. Collective Worship

St John’s is a Catholic Primary School and as such the promotion and the understanding of Christianity and its values is a key part of Collective Worship.

Daily worship is vital in the promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues in school.  Many of these issues highlighted in the curriculum aspects are equally valid when considering spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of collective worship.

In Collective Worship children are given the opportunity to:

  • Be part of a community
  • Think about the needs of others
  • Explore and share beliefs and values
  • Take part in worship led by members of the school community

9. Development of SMSC in school

To ensure that SMSC is developed in school, these three aspects need to be considered:

  • The ethos of the school, which creates the climate within which Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development can flourish.  This is described well in the school aims.
  • The pastoral support for students which should reflect these aims, and creates a deliberate structure through which the care and concern for pupils can be given
  • The curriculum, which sets out to ensure that there is planning to introduce and explore the elements of SMSC where this is appropriate.

The policy of the school is that all subjects can and should contribute to the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development of pupils.  The curriculum is the framework on which a school is built and so it is through the curriculum that we can have a major influence.

Teachers must:

  • Be aware of these responsibilities
  • Know how respective curriculum areas might be used
  • Plan accordingly
  • Be alert to the many everyday, unplanned and incidental opportunities that can provide important starting points.

10. Opportunities for including spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues within the curriculum

10.1 English 

  • The studying of different texts – classical, contemporary, serious, funny can provide challenging starting points and give an appreciation of the beauty of great language and literature
  • Exposure to great literature and poetry and its place within a culture – appreciating moral or social aspects eg Dickens social commentary or knowing that we can learn a lot about other cultures from its writing
  • Drama and stories which create opportunities for moral judgements
  • Shared activities – shared reading, group drama, corporate writing that lead to an understanding of an appreciation of the importance of the group and other people’s point of view
  • Knowledge of our language and its influence on our culture and the importance and value of other languages and cultures
  • Awareness of traditional tales and their cultural background

10.2 Numeracy

  • Group work on a shared topic or investigation promoting an appreciation of the input of all members of the group
  • An appreciation of the inherent pattern and beauty of mathematics
  • Studying the patterns of Islam and their cultural/religious connections
  • The promotion of positive attitudes towards mathematics through appropriate groupings
  • An understanding that mathematics has an historical and cultural base – Greek, Arabic, Egyptian
  • An understanding of the role and importance of these cultures

10.3 Computing

  • Working together to create a graphic design or study
  • Researching religious artefacts on the internet
  • Setting up e-mail with another school from a different country
  • Following on-line safety policies

10.4 Science

  • The development of an understanding of our place in the great scheme of things by studying space or life processes
  • An appreciation of moral questions as scientific knowledge increases eg the use of animals for research
  • An awareness of the cultural background of science eg the Wise Men from the East who charted the birth of Jesus or the ancient Greek scientists

10.5 PSHE

  • Consideration of moral, environmental and citizenship issues when considering our role in caring for the environment eg efficient ways of feeding the world, intensive farming and the pollution of the planet
  • Health, drugs, smoking – an understanding of the social and scientific issues involved and an awareness of everyone’s point of view
  • Listening to others
  • Holding debates and discussions leading to written work
  • Drama and role play linked to choices
  • Drawing pictures of feelings and emotions

10.6 Design and Technology

  • The aesthetic aspect of good design is an important area as is the question ‘How will this affect the environment?’
  • Appreciating design in nature
  • The study of technologies from different cultures – historical and geographical – and how these have evolved provides important lessons in cultural awareness
  • Group working – sharing of equipment and designing together
  • Promoting equality of opportunity and providing an awareness of areas that have gender issues eg activities that are historically female such as textile studies, encouraging girls to use equipment that has been traditionally male dominated

10.7 History

  • The study of artefacts, buildings, churches etc gives children a sense of their place in the historical scheme of things
  • It helps to develop an awareness of beauty and aesthetics
  • Moral issues can be considered.  For example, was it right that war was fought or that children were forced to work in factories and mines in Victorian Britain, or that Anne Frank was forced into hiding?
  • Studying the cultures of other times – Egyptians, Romans etc builds an awareness of the value and importance of other societies and cultures and the relative value and importance of our own.  It also stresses the interdependence of cultures

10.8 Geography

  • The study of different localities helps children to understand the background, way of life and values etc of different people and cultures.  The Inuits (Eskimo) and their way of life and values are to a large degree the result of habitat – as is our own
  • Tolerance of other people’s differences, overcoming stereotyping, racism and prejudice can all be highlighted through the study of different peoples and their way of life
  • Local studies will encourage an awareness of the child’s place, family, home, dependency upon other individuals, people and cultures and needs in the great scheme of things
  • Environmental issues and concerns can be discussed – what are the effects and the issues involved in urbanising an area

10.9 Art and Design

  • Studying great works of art can give an insight into the culture of other people and provide a strong link with the past
  • Art can provide a valuable tool to study the past and make social or moral comment on it for example, what do the people in works by LS Lowry tell us about the social conditions of the time?
  • Multicultural art, the art of different religions the art of ancient societies all reinforce the value of societies other than our own and help us to appreciate their value and the value of our own
  • The appreciation of great works of art and the appreciation of our own attempts helps to build up an awareness of aesthetics and gives an uplifting experience

10.10 Music

  • Listening to music, performing, joining in with it gives pleasure, lifts spirits and has an emotional dimension that children need to experience.  Music experienced in our assemblies and acts of collective worship helps the pupils in their spirituality
  • Listening to and appreciating the great music of our culture and its folk music builds an important awareness of our culture and that of other lands.  Music of other cultures is important for the same reasons
  • Music of the fields, sea shanties, slave songs etc can be used to build an awareness of the importance of music and its place in social history and the accompanying moral and social questions that arise out of it
  • Group music making is an important social activity – working together and experiencing the same feelings together

10.11 Physical Education

  • Caring for our bodies and respecting the health of others
  • Obeying the rules of the game, being a ‘good sport’, learning to be a good winner and a good loser, learning to take part and doing one’s best is important
  • Appreciating the aesthetic beauty of the movements of gymnastics or dance
  • Building team spirit, being a good team member, valuing the contributions of others to the team
  • Learning that sport is an important element of many cultures – Ancient Greeks, Romans, the history of great sporting events such as the Olympics or the Ashes
  • Appreciating that different individuals or groups have different skills because of their backgrounds or habitat eg Austrian skiers, Dutch speed skaters

10.12 Religious Education

  • The exploration of moral and spiritual questions by discussing, for example, the great Bible stories or the stories from other religions
  • Appreciating and valuing other faiths and beliefs of both groups and individuals
  • Learning about being a member of a pluralist society and respecting and tolerating others and their belief and needs
  • Knowing about the historical, social and religious aspects of our own culture and that of others – Harvest, Christmas, Easter, May Day, Jewish New Year, Divali etc – appreciating and respecting the values of the cultures concerned

11. Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed by Governors every three years or earlier if needed.