Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Statement
The Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development of our children is a particular strength of the school and one we are proud of.
The practices and beliefs of the Catholic Church are fundamental to the school’s daily life and this is evident in the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the children. The work that we undertake in these areas directly and actively promotes fundamental British Values. From their very first day in school the children are taught how precious they all are to God, how each one of them is a unique creation, each with their own gifts and talents to bring to our school community and the wider community.
As a result of our dedicated time to teaching and learning of RE and through the wider curriculum our children have many opportunities to reflect upon their own beliefs and how these impact upon and shape their lives.
- Children participate in RE lessons with enthusiasm. They willingly share their ideas, experiences and opinions and show respect for those of others.
- There are many opportunities for prayer and the children will often initiate these themselves. The children are very responsive to prayer and celebration. Whatever faith the children have, they are respectful and listen well.
- Class focal points reflect current work and prayer.
- Children have access to a place for prayer and quiet reflection in each classroom.
- Daily worship is provided.
- Prayer journals are used to record quiet and reflective thoughts.
- The prayer garden provides additional opportunity to be quiet and reflective.
- Mass is celebrated regularly throughout the year as is the Sacrament of Reconciliation which provides the children with the opportunity to reflect upon their actions and seek forgiveness for any wrong they have done.
- Our program of Sacramental preparation enables our children to reflect upon and develop further their own beliefs. It also provides them with an opportunity to consider their perspective on their own life and faith journey.
- The children of Y6 participate in an annual Retreat. This is a wonderful experience of spiritual growth and offers an opportunity, at the beginning of their final year with us, to reflect on who they are and how they want to be seen by others.
Opportunities to develop knowledge of and respect for different people’s faith, feelings and values:
- As a multicultural school with a number of different faith backgrounds, our children are able to develop a good knowledge and understanding of faiths different to their own. They develop respect for different beliefs, values and feelings. They recognise the many shared values and feelings and have the opportunity to explore differences, developing knowledge and respect.
- Our curriculum dedicates time to learning specifically about five other major faiths of the world including Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. Each year group takes on a faith so that, over the course of their school journey, they will have gained knowledge and understanding of all faiths. In these sessions we learn as a community how each faith is unique but most importantly how we are fundamentally the same. We have highlighted faiths that are represented within school and others that reflect the diversity of our city. As a result of this all children are valued.
The enjoyment and fascination with learning about themselves, others and the world around them starts as soon as our children begin school.
- From EYFS through to the end of KS2 the children are fascinated to learn about the world in which we live. Sharing stories, facts and through research and investigation our children embrace opportunities to expand their knowledge and understanding of the world around them and the people within it. This supports our aim to develop well-rounded knowledgeable young people that grow up to be understanding and informed citizens.
The use of imagination and creativity is embedded in our learning:
- Well planned, purposeful play is at the basis of our EYs teaching and learning and this continues as the children transition into KS1 and beyond. Staff provide the children with interesting and creative ways in which to learn and experience learning.
- The use of role play, drama, visits and visitors all ensure creative learning takes place across school and across the curriculum.
This is fundamental to our mission.
- The children are taught about the Christian ideals of love, concern and forgiveness for each other. As a result of this, behaviour is excellent, as the children take responsibility for their actions. They learn that all actions have consequences and that the choices they make have consequences for themselves and others. They understand that they have responsibility, not just to those that they know, but to those in the community and the wider world. They know that even small act of kindness can make a difference to someone else.
- Children learn and understand the difference between right and wrong in school. They show respect for themselves and others and are able to say sorry and admit that they have been wrong.
- Children are provided with a range of opportunities to experience public services, such as Health, the Police and Fire services. They learn to respect these public servants and the work that they undertake on our behalf whilst developing an understanding that we live under the rule of law for the protection of all.
- Through sessions with external speakers the children participate in workshops where they listen to first hand experiences of individuals who have made poor or misinformed decisions that have impacted their lives negatively, such as drug related crime, knife crime and gang crime. They have the opportunity to listen, reflect and ask questions in order to develop and learn about the consequences of actions but also about the criminal justice system and the law.
- Our children are encouraged to become involved in decision making processes and to have a voice within school. They know that they can voice their opinion and that through the school council, pupil ambassadors and pupil questionnaires, the children learn how they can actively influence decision making through a democratic process.
- Through the school’s RE, RHE and PSHE curriculum the children are challenged to discuss important events, they are given opportunities to consider dilemmas faced by others and to reflect on their own actions and circumstances.
- The older children are encouraged to discuss current affairs and to offer their thoughts, feelings and interpretations of these.
- The children watch Newsround on a regular basis. This exposes them to major news stories and events, which initiates conversations and discussions about national and international issues.
- Circle time and Ten:Ten are used very effectively to explore many of these issues and the children confidently share experiences with each other in an open and honest way.
- By teaching about inspirational people, such as Gandhi, Mandela, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, our children also learn how perceived injustice can be peacefully challenged.
- The pastoral team plays a vital role in this and offer great support to the children and their families.
The promotion of good social skills is established from the very beginning.
- Personal and Social development is a priority for our school as many of our children enter school significantly below expectation in this area. This work is supported by the PSHE and RHE curriculum offer and the 10:10 resource.
- Many of our children begin school with little readiness in place. This takes considerable time and effort for staff and we work closely with our families to ensure this rapidly develops.
- Readiness for learning continues to be a focus beyond the EYs and daily breakfast is made available to all children in the form of cereal and toast. This is designed to be a sociable activity on a daily basis as well as ensuring the children are fuelled for the day ahead.
- We use mixed ability groups and pairings throughout our work.
- Peer work and support is well established across all year groups and supports inclusion and attainment for all children.
- Our Buddy system for Y6 and FS2 enables the youngest children in school to get to know the oldest children and develop friendships.
- Playtime buddies from Y6 help to support and develop play activities with the children of KS1 at lunchtimes – this is valued by both sets of children.
- Volunteering for jobs, duties and tasks is a key part of our social development work. The children happily put themselves forward to help and engage with others.
- Newly established pupil ambassadors represent their peers at subject meetings. They share their own interest and expertise with staff and influence change in their chosen area.
- Trips out are a vital part of our curriculum offer. We have 4 mini-buses that enable us to take the children out as often as possible to a range of settings and venues, removing a large part of the cost barrier to parents. The children learn to conduct and manage themselves in a wide variety of social settings, it enhances their learning and personal development. The positive feedback we receive from so many in the wider community makes us very proud.
- Across the MAT and within our Cluster, our children have the opportunity to attend workshops with other schools. For example Advent workshops, HA maths and English workshops.
- This year we will attend the Inner East Youth Summit for the first time. This is our opportunity to spend time with groups of pupils from a range of schools and influence change in our area.
- Our democratically appointed School Council representatives for each class present their reasons for applying for the post to their peers. They represent their class through discussion at meetings and participation in events throughout their year of office.
As a multicultural school with 36 languages and different heritage backgrounds we dedicate time to learning about each other and our roots. Opportunities across our curriculum enable this to be undertaken, celebrated and shared.
- A world map depicts this cultural richness. Flags for each country represented in school surrounds the map and the children are fascinated by it.
- Culture day was established by a group of y6 pupils, it is a day dedicated to every child coming to school in traditional dress and sharing aspects of their heritage. The plan to expand this further is in hand. The children would like to dedicate more days and involve their families.
- Our religious education program dedicates time to learning about other faiths and cultures. The children learn to understand and appreciate the similarities and differences between themselves and others. As a result of this the children show tolerance and respect for others in the way that they conduct themselves.
- We actively seek out opportunities to use visits and visitors to support our teaching and learning. The children really benefit from these first hand experiences which provide stimulus for their work. As a result the quality of work produced is of a very high standard.
- The children visit other places of worship to increase their knowledge and understanding of other cultures and beliefs.
- The curriculum provides various opportunities for the children to study a variety of cultures, these opportunities enrich their knowledge and understanding and result in pupils being able and equipped to conduct themselves in a confident and mature manner with a variety of people beyond the school community.
- The children are able to compare and contrast their life experiences with those of others through subjects such as history and geography.
- Black History Month and culture days form the basis for much of this work. The children study major figures and learn about the influence they have had and how they have shaped our lives.
- They learn to sing and perform songs from other cultures.
- They participate in sports festivals, competing against other schools locally.
- They participate in choral events and competitions within the Diocese.
- They have participated in sporting events and arts projects.
- The children actively engage in charity work to support those less fortunate than ourselves, both locally and globally and understand why this is important.