SMSC, Prevent and British Values

Recent Government guidance has stressed the importance of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education (SMSC) in upholding fundamental (British) values, encouraging mutual respect and tolerance for all faiths and beliefs and exploring difference, equality and belonging, across the curriculum. The DfE has stated clearly that SMSC has a part to play in preventing extremism and helping children and young people to build resilience to grooming and radicalisation and so should form part of every school’s safeguarding, curricular and extra – curricular provision.

This involves exploring diversity and commonality, challenging issues and encouraging dialogue, reflection and the making of informed choices. As such SMSC has an integral part to play in educating for a safe, equitable and just society. The DfE guidance for schools on SMSC (November 2014) is based on the Government’s Prevent Strategy, which requires schools to to explore:

“The precious liberties enjoyed by the citizens of the United Kingdom.”

These include:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty (including freedom of speech)
  • Mutual respect
  • Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

(DfE (2014) Promoting Fundamental British Values as part of SMSC HMSO)

From 2015 SMSC will receive increased attention from Ofsted, both in schools and in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) institutions.

Choices Then and Now is a cross-curricular project that has been trialled with ITT students and with children and teachers in schools, with great success. The resource content and strategies enhance the delivery of SMSC in a way that is:

‘thoughtful and wide ranging’ and ‘enables students to develop their self- knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence’ and encourages ‘respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic process’.

(DfE (2014) Promoting Fundamental British Values as part of SMSC HMSO)

It enables SMSC and key elements of the Prevent Strategy to be mainstreamed and addressed through the curriculum and in the wider life of the school, providing many opportunities for learning outside the classroom.

Choices uses the commemoration of the centenary of World War I as a starting point to explore choices (and their consequences) then and now; exploring days that changed the world, key events and significant figures.

The  comprehensive 100 page full colour booklet, provides a scheme of work, differentiated mid-term plans and a range of mostly untold  stories, to engage primary, secondary and post sixteen students. The accompanying CD ROM contains three stories and associated activities for Key Stage 1. It also includes and a wide range of resources, that may be re-produced to support teaching and learning across all phases. These materials are largely drawn from primary sources that form part of the Peace Museum’s extensive collection.

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Choices: children and young people working together at the Peace Museum

Stories include:

  • Football for Christmas – the Christmas Truce of 1914 (KS1 story on CD ROM)
  • Brothers at War – the story of Bert Brocklesby, a Conscientious Objector (CO), exploring the choices and consequences of his decision not to kill on himself and on the rest of his family, who chose to support the war and had very different experiences as a result  (KS1 story on CD ROM)
  • The Talking Walls and Talking Pages – the stories left by COs on the walls of the cells in Richmond Castle and the stories and thoughts left in print by members of the Bradford Pals, in The Tyke magazine
  • I Want to go to School! – Malala Yousafzai – human rights and the power of the Internet
  • Bill and I – a story adapted from The Tyke detailing how two young men joined the army in 1914 and why
  • Boy Soldiers – the ‘Shot at Dawn Campaign’ and the story of  Herbert Burden aged 16 and  ‘shot at dawn’ by his own army
  • Hidden Medals – the story of Henry ‘Harry’ Roberts – Military Cross
  • The Feather Girls – the story of the white feather girls who awarded men and boys not in uniform, the ‘Order of the White Feather’ as a badge of cowardice
  • A Soldier and a Sportsman – Walter Tull the first Black officer to command White troops in the British army
  • The Bravest Man I Ever Met – the story of Isaac Hall, Black, Afro Caribbean CO
  • A Great Poster? – propaganda, information and misinformation then and now
  • Women Marching for Peace – the Women’s Peace Crusade of 1917  and Bradford Women for Peace’s campaign to counteract the English Defence League in the 21st century
  • Whose Poppy? – red, white and purple poppies; origins and contentious issues  (KS1 story on CD ROM)
  • One Girl and a Blog – Malala Yousafzai, the Internet,  hidden messages and resilience; al-Qaeda, the Taliban and extreme right wing pressure groups.

Choices Then and Now may be purchased from the Peace Museum (UK) price £19.99 plus pp. There is a 10% discount on orders of 20 copies or more. To place an order please contact info@peacemuseum.org.uk .

CPD for teachers and a programme of workshops and activities for intending/student  teachers are available, as are bespoke sessions for community groups and  facilitators. To find out more please contact info@peacemuseum.org.uk

Choices Then and Now created and designed by Diane Hadwen and Ben Chalcraft; resource copyright Peace Museum.

Choices Then and Now is being used across the UK and across the world.

SMSC Education – Who am I?   Who are they?   Who are we?

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education (SMSC) is an Ofsted priority. This is to be approached through curricular provision and the wider life of the school. It is not a ‘subject’ in itself’, but rather a strand which runs across all elements of teaching and learning. Under section 78 of the Education Act 2002, all schools must promote Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education.

  • Spiritual – the growth of a sense of self, unique potential, an understanding of strengths and weaknesses and a will to achieve. It involves attempting to answer life’s ‘BIG’ questions and challenges and to recognise a need to address one’s none material well-being
  • Moral -  an understanding of the difference between right, wrong, and moral conflict, developing concern for others and the will to do what is right; reflection on the consequences of actions and making responsible moral decisions and acting on them
  • Social – a realisation of responsibilities and rights e.g. in families and communities, an ability to relate to others and to work with them for the common good. It involves a sense of belonging and the awareness of the need and possibility of making an active contribution to society
  • Cultural – an understanding of cultural traditions and an ability to appreciate and respond to a variety of aesthetic experiences; respect for one’s own culture/s and the cultures of others; a curiosity about differences; an understanding, appreciation and ability to contribute to culture

Recent Government guidance has stressed the importance of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education (SMSC) in upholding fundamental (British) values, encouraging mutual respect and tolerance for all faiths and beliefs and exploring difference, equality and belonging, across the curriculum. The DfE has stated clearly that SMSC has a part to play in preventing extremism and helping children and young people to build resilience to grooming and radicalisation and so should form part of every school’s safeguarding provision. SMSC has an integral part to play in educating for a safe, equitable and just society. The DfE guidance for schools on SMSC (November 2014) is based on the Government’s Prevent Strategy, which requires schools to to explore:

“The precious liberties enjoyed by the citizens of the United Kingdom.”

These include:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty (including freedom of speech)
  • Mutual respect
  • Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

DfE (2014) Promoting Fundamental British Values as part of SMSC HMSO

Prevent Education

The government in its Prevent Strategy defines extremism as:

“….   vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.”

The Strategy aims to prevent violent extremism in all its forms.  Prevent education should:

  • Identify and deal with propaganda, myths, stereotypes and extremism in all its many forms;  encouraging media literacy and internet safety
  • Build resilience to radicalisation and knowledge that, democratic processes and the rule of law offer an alternative to conflict, violence and terrorism
  •  Develop common understandings of what it means to be British, acceptance of difference and the ability to identify commonality
  •  Recognise challenging issues; encourage dialogue, reflection, informed choices and action.

SMSC and Prevent

SMSC and mainstreamed Prevent education is about inclusion; challenging stereotypes, recognising and understanding multiple identities, equity, rights, responsibilities and democracy.  It should explore DIVERSITY AND COMMONALITY, challenging issues and encourage dialogue, reflection and the making of informed choices. It is an integral part of educating for a safe, equitable and just society. SMSC  is concerned with the local, national and global; our identity, heritage and belonging.

Written by Diane Hadwen.