Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development

This policy is carried out within the context and spirit of the school’s vision for excellence. It supports and reinforces the aims of The Matthew Arnold School, valuing all students equally and as individuals. All staff work together to create a happy, challenging, stimulating and caring environment in which students can enjoy their time at school and celebrate their achievement.

The school strives to build a community which encourages all its members to develop a healthy respect for each other.  In addition, we provide a happy, stimulating and caring environment where there are opportunities, encouragement and stimuli to develop each student to her full potential.

This policy relates to the whole life of the school and its role in promoting spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) by the example set by adults in the school and the quality of relationships they espouse.

Spiritual Development


This area relates to the beliefs, feelings and emotions through which students acquire worthwhile insights into their own lives.  All areas of the curriculum may contribute to spiritual development.  Although education and spiritual development are not synonymous, school experiences can make a significant contribution to spiritual development.


At The Matthew Arnold School the students will be provided with opportunities to develop their spiritual understanding by experiencing a curriculum which will:

  • Develop their self-esteem, self-knowledge and belief in themselves;
  • Allow them to develop a range of personal values and beliefs based on a sense of curiosity and respect towards their own and other beliefs;
  • Explore the spiritual values of others through stories, drama, music, art and religious education to name just a few;
  • Allow them to express themselves in a variety of ways and give them time to reflect on their own experiences;
  • Allow them to understand, express, use and control feelings and emotions as well as encouraging empathy in terms of relationships with others.

In practice at The Matthew Arnold School this is delivered through:

  1. A religious study programme which develops self-esteem and knowledge and an ability to reflect on and develop individuals’ own spiritual values;
  2. A PSHE programme which utilises tutoring to involve all years in opportunities for themed discussion, reading (both fiction and non-fiction) and competitive quizzes to encourage learning and develop an awareness of core values as soon as students arrive;
  3. An assembly programme to address the spiritual aspect of quiet and reflection – in particular using past and present role models from the world and encouraging community participation;
  4. A student support structure that is focused on learning and providing appropriate information advice and guidance for students as well as opportunities to explore pathways of development;
  5. Educational enrichment trips, creative partnerships and visiting speakers provide students with a range of experiences, which may promote a sense of awe and wonder about the world;
  6. A reflective approach to learning through formative assessment techniques – students having ownership and understanding of where they are, where they need to get to and how they are to do it;
  7. A rewards system developing student self-esteem through certificates, postcards home and  awards at all levels;
  8. Displays of student work bring a sense of pride in the work students produce and therefore a sense of expressing the talents of the individual;
  9. The use of school council to involve students in the life of the school. For example, student responses to the ‘You said …We did’ programme.
  10. PSHE programme for Years 7-10.

Moral Development


Moral development refers to the students’ knowledge, understanding, intentions, attitudes and behaviour in relation to what is right and wrong.  The school has a well-established behaviour policy and staff promote a supportive approach to the management of challenging behaviour.


Objectives of the code of conduct are to promote the concept of excellent behaviour by being:-

  • Kind and considerate
  • Helpful to others and listening to what they have to say
  • Quiet around the school holding appropriate conversations
  • Committed to school and classroom rules.
  • Committed to a healthy, safe and environmentally friendly school
  • Committed to looking neat, clean and tidy with a pride in our uniform
  • Equipped and ready for learning

In practice

At The Matthew Arnold School this is delivered through:

  1. Clear models of good behaviour from staff and senior students and reinforcement of school and classroom rules both inside and outside of lessons
  2. A student support department and structure used by all staff that is focused on conflict resolution and restorative justice.
  3. Themed tutor time and discussions based on moral issues, where appropriate, across the school community from the start of the day in tutor time and across all lessons.
  4. PSHE programme for Years 7-10.
  5. Assembly themes on moral issues, developed and reinforced during tutor time.
  6. Fund raising activities for nominated charities, in addition to national charity events which give rise to discussion around morality.
  7. The use of students in teams across the school
  8. Supervised and filtered access to the Internet together with regular assemblies focused on the dangers of the internet and related issues. 
  9. Local, national and global incidents, in addition to existing programmes of study, give an opportunity for teaching about morality and behaviour during deep learning weeks across the school and demonstrates the flexibility of our teaching programme.

Social Development


Social development relates to the skills and personal qualities necessary for individuals to live and function effectively in society.


Students will be encouraged to:

  • Maintain and develop relationships within the school working successfully with other students and adults in the school community;
  • Respond to the opportunities being offered, to show initiative and to take responsibility for their own learning in the school community;
  • Gain an understanding of the wider society through their family and carers, the school, local and wider communities;
  • Actively participate in the school community and beyond into the wider community outside of school.

In Practice

At The Matthew Arnold School we provide opportunities for students to:

  1. Interact with all staff in  school and with external partners of the school in an appropriate and outstanding manner
  2. The use of students in teams across the school
  3. Elected school council representative to feedback views, ideas and concerns to their tutor groups and to the senior leadership team.
  4. Experience, in programmes of study, the development of skills in speaking, listening and key reflective work where students have the ability to learn both with teacher interaction and support, but increasingly with more independent study.
  5. PSHE programme for Years 7-10.
  6. Experience excellent IAG in school through pastoral and career advice in which all staff are involved throughout the year.  Subject specific advice is given at certain milestones of a student’s life at the school and a dedicated careers advisor has a permanent office in school to offer support on career/further or higher education planning.

Cultural Development


Cultural development refers to pupils increasing understanding and response to those elements, which give societies, and groups their unique character.  The school will promote the cultural traditions of our own area and the ethnic and cultural diversity of the world.


The students will be encouraged to:

  • Appreciate, understand and respect aspects of their own and other cultural environments in terms of beliefs, values, attitudes, customs, knowledge and skills;
  • Recognise that similarities and differences may exist between different societies and groups;
  • Experience a range of cultural activities in terms of literature, music, technology, art and design, dance, drama, sport and other media;
  • Broaden, develop and enrich their interests and insights through interacting with opportunities the school and the wider community provides.

In practice 

At The Matthew Arnold School we encourage:

  1. Educational visits at home and abroad to experience other cultures and ways of life.
  2. Educational visits to places of interest such as: libraries; museums; galleries; theatres; places of worship and other educational establishments – schools colleges and universities – in order to better understand other cultures and ways of life.
  3. PSHE programme for Years 7-10.
  4. MFL/Historical visits to other countries.
  5. Collective worship and assemblies – a themed approach that give rise to many opportunities to explore SMSC and cultural diversity.  Other events are also celebrated with drama, art, dance and presentations along with specific services such as Remembrance, annual carol services and celebrations of Easter and other religious festivals: Diwali, Hanukkah.
  6. Topic work across the school which explores “culture” in all its various forms in relation to specific subject areas.
  7. Access to the Internet in order to explore cultures and activities as extension learning

Role of senior leaders and key staff

  • To undertake audits and observations of department developments in SMSC provision.
  • To promote and facilitate enrichment events in school.
  • To organise themes for the weekly focus in tutor group time linked to an assembly programme.
  • To promote student “voice” opportunities and the related teams in order to maximise student participation.
  • To compile and update a portfolio (photographs and programmes) to record the school’s support for SMSC.
  • To oversee a database of student involvement both inside and outside of school
  • To encourage staff and students to be involved in enrichment activities which are spiritually, morally, socially and culturally engaging both inside and outside the classroom.

Expectations of stakeholders

All stakeholders expected to support and be engaged in the implementation of this policy through every engagement that they have with each other; in tutor time, assemblies and in the course of daily interactions (with each other) in their classes and outside classrooms to promote and celebrate the equality and diversity of the school community.


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Smsc policy 27th Jun 2019 Download
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