What on Earth is SMSC?
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education has been part of the national curriculum for England and Wales since 1991. The new national curriculum framework, which came out in 2014 states right at the start (Page 5, 2.1) that every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based, and which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
It is also stated (2.5) that ‘All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice.’ As part of this schools are expected to deliver citizenship as a foundation subject in Key stage 3 and 4 as well as sex and relationship education in key stage 3 and 4, and religious education across the key stages 1 to 4. PSHE is often delivered as a regular lesson, however schools are expected to embed SMSC across the curriculum, extra-curricular activities, and in the school’s ethos and values.
Schools looking to gain an ‘outstanding’ grade from Ofsted will be aware of the grade descriptors in the latest handbook which states that in an outstanding school, ‘Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development equips them to be thoughtful, caring and active citizens in school and in wider society.’ (School inspection handbook 2016, p51), amongst other things.