SMSC – Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

Pupils who are developing spiritually are likely to be developing some or all of the following characteristics:

  • a set of values, principles and beliefs, which may or may not be religious, which inform their perspective on life and their patterns of behaviour

  • an awareness and understanding of their own and others' beliefs

  • a respect for themselves and for others

  • a sense of empathy with others, concern and compassion

  • an increasing ability to reflect and learn from this reflection

  • an ability to show courage and persistence in defence of their aims, values, principles and beliefs

  • a readiness to challenge all that would constrain the human spirit: for example, poverty of aspiration, lack of self-confidence and belief, moral neutrality or indifference, force, fanaticism, aggression, greed, injustice, narrowness of vision, self-interest, sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination

  • an appreciation of the intangible - for example, beauty, truth, love, goodness, order - as well as for mystery, paradox and ambiguity

  • a respect for insight as well as for knowledge and reason

  • an expressive and/or creative impulse

  • an ability to think in terms of the whole' -for example, concepts such as harmony, interdependence, scale, perspective

  • an understanding of feelings and emotions, and their likely impact.

Pupils who are becoming morally aware are likely to be developing some or all of the following characteristics:

  • an ability to distinguish right from wrong, based on a knowledge of the moral codes of their own and other cultures

  • a confidence to act consistently in accordance with their own principles

  • an ability to think through the consequences of their own and others' actions

  • a willingness to express their views on ethical issues and personal values

  • an ability to make responsible and reasoned judgements on moral dilemmas

  • a commitment to personal values in areas which are considered right by some and wrong by others

  • a considerate style of life

  • a respect for others' needs, interests and feelings, as well as their own

  • a desire to explore their own and others' views

  • an understanding of the need to review and reassess their values, codes and principles in the light of experience.

Pupils who are becoming socially aware are likely to be developing the ability to:

  • adjust to a range of social contexts by appropriate and sensitive behaviour

  • relate well to other people's social skills and personal qualities

  • work, successfully, as a member of a group or team challenge, when necessary and in appropriate ways, the values of a group or wider community

  • share views and opinions with others, and work towards consensus

  • resolve conflicts and counter forces which militate against inclusion and unity

  • reflect on their own contribution to society and to the world of work

  • show respect for people, living things, property and the environment

  • benefit from advice offered by those in authority or counselling roles

  • exercise responsibility

  • appreciate the rights and responsibilities of individuals within the wider social setting

  • understand how societies function and are organised in structures such as the family, the school and local and wider communities

  • participate in activities relevant to the community

  • understand the notion of interdependence in an increasingly complex society

Pupils who are becoming culturally aware are likely to be developing some or all of the following characteristics:

  • an ability to recognise and understand their own cultural assumptions and values

  • an understanding of the influences which have shaped their own cultural heritage

  • an understanding of the dynamic, evolutionary nature of cultures

  • an ability to appreciate cultural diversity and accord dignity and respect to other people's values and beliefs, thereby

  • challenging racism and valuing race equality

  • an openness to new ideas and a willingness to modify cultural values in the light of experience

  • an ability to use language and understand images/icons - for example, in music, art, literature - which have significance and meaning in a culture

  • a willingness to participate in, and respond to, artistic and cultural enterprises

  • a sense of personal enrichment through encounter with cultural media and traditions from a range of cultures

  • a regard for the heights of human achievement in all cultures and societies

  • an appreciation of the diversity and interdependence of cultures.