All schools in England must be able to demonstrate how well they support children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. This is something that is of particular importance to Ofsted.These aspects of education teach pupils to understand, be part of and contribute to their local and global communities. SMSC helps pupils to define who they are, the part they play in the world, and their own motivations and perspective on life.
Educational school trips can help facilitate SMSC development in various ways.
What does SMSC mean for schools?
Firstly, what do each of the different aspects of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development mean, and what are primary pupils expected to understand?
Spiritual: The opportunity to explore beliefs and faiths (religious or otherwise), feelings and values; learning how to respect other faiths; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the world; use imagination and creativity and reflect on experiences.
Moral: The opportunity to recognise and learn what is right and wrong and apply this understanding; respect the law; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views and appreciate the views of others.
Social: The opportunity to use a range of social skills in different contexts to participate in the local community and beyond; appreciate diverse viewpoints; participate, volunteer and cooperate; resolve conflict; develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in Britain.
Cultural: The opportunity to explore and appreciate cultural influences and the range of different cultures they will meet; appreciate the role of Britain’s parliamentary system; participate in cultural opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.
An understanding of British values through SMSC development is also an Ofsted requirement. The fundamental British values are:
The rule of law
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
How SMSC school trips contribute to pupil development
Educational school trips often cover a particular subject area, but many trips will also contribute to pupils’ SMSC development.
Visits to local places of worship will ensure that pupils have a good understanding of different religions by experiencing them first-hand. They will have an awareness of others’ beliefs and learn to show empathy with them. Also, places and objects of natural beauty can create a sense of awe and wonder in children, for example, a trip to the Eden Project or The Heights of Abraham.
Any school trip will provide pupils with the opportunity to socialise with peers they may not normally socialise with, as well as others. They will meet new people, and build relationships and friendships. School trips widen pupils’ horizons, encourage collaboration, and allow pupils to get involved in what may be a completely new experience.
By visiting art galleries, museums, and places of historical significance pupils develop an understanding of a world and a time outside their own. These types of trips provide opportunities for surprise and wonder and to see how the modern world has evolved. Pupils become culturally aware of their heritage, modern Britain and the world. For an SMSC school trip focusing on culture, we would recommend Shakespeare’s Family Homes, or National Galleries Scotland.
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