Personal Development

Why are we teaching SMSC?

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) aspects of learning contribute to all areas of school life here at Woodlands. We believe it is vitally important that our learners are able to succeed in our ever changing society and are able to take into account the diverse array of beliefs and cultures in modern Britain, which they will encounter throughout their lives. As a school we are required to provide for the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development of our pupils. The British Government defines these as:

  • Democracy
  • The Rule of Law
  • Individual Liberty
  • Mutual Respect and Tolerance of Different Faiths and Beliefs.

SMSC development at Woodlands illustrates the ethics and values of the school community, including governors, parents and the wider community and is reflected throughout our ethos, policies, curriculum and assemblies

What do we mean by SMSC?

Spiritual development – the development of the non-material element of a human being which animates and sustains us and, depending on our point of view, either ends or continues in some form when we die. It is about the development of a sense of identity, self-worth, personal insight, meaning and purpose. It is about the development of a pupil’s ‘spirit’. Some people may call it the development of a pupil’s ‘soul’; others as the development of ‘personality’ or ‘character’.

Moral development – enabling pupils to build a framework of moral values, aligned with the law of the land, which regulates their personal behaviour. It is also about the development of pupils’ understanding of society’s shared and agreed values. It is about understanding that there are issues where there is disagreement and it is also about understanding that society’s values change. Moral development is about gaining an understanding of the range of views and the reasons for the range. It is also about developing an opinion about the different views.

Social development – young people working effectively with each other and participating successfully in the community as a whole. It is about the development of the skills and personal qualities necessary for living and working together in harmony and making a positive contribution to the school community and wider society. It is about functioning effectively in a multi-racial, multi-cultural society and developing into a and helpful human being. It involves growth in knowledge and understanding of society in all its aspects. This includes understanding people as well as understanding society’s institutions, structures and characteristics, economic and political principles and organisations, roles and responsibilities, and life as a citizen, parent or worker in a community. It also involves the development of the inter-personal skills necessary for successful relationships.

Cultural development – helping pupils to develop an understanding of their own culture and other cultures in their town, region and in the country as a whole. It is about understanding cultures represented in Europe and elsewhere in the world. It is about understanding and feeling comfortable in a variety of cultures and being able to operate in the emerging world culture of shared experiences provided by television, art, theatre, travel and the internet. It is about understanding that cultures are always changing and coping with change. Promoting pupils’ cultural development is intimately linked with schools’ attempts to value cultural diversity and prevent racism.

What does this look like in school?Children spending time together in forest school

SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development) is promoted across the entire school curriculum and all aspects of school life. SMSC development underpins all the school’s curriculum and teaching and its impact is evident in and beyond all classrooms and in most pupils’ attitudes. SMSC has particularly strong links to Religious Education, Relationship and Sex Education, Collective Worship and Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education. Within all curricular activities, children are encouraged to reflect on the significance of what they are learning, to recognise any challenges to their own attitudes and lifestyle and to recognise a spiritual dimension to their lives. The integrity and spirituality of other faith backgrounds will be respected and explored. The diversity of spiritual traditions is recognised, and pupils are given access to alternative views.
All adults model and promote expected behaviour, treating all people as valuable individuals and showing respect for pupils and their families. Children learn to differentiate between right and wrong, to understand how their actions affect other people and they are encouraged to value themselves and others.

Break time

Our children understand their rights and responsibilities and the need to respect the rights of others. School and classroom charters promote responsible behaviour and curriculum areas seek to use illustrations and examples, drawn from as wide a range of cultural contexts as possible. This is reflected in the teacher’s planning and learning resources.

Pupil voice is valued and encouraged through the pupil votes, questionnaires, School Council and Woodlands Safeguarding Team.

How is it impacting on learning?

The teaching of SMSC at Woodlands has enabled pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self- esteem and self -confidence. The children have a developing respect for themselves and for others and have developed values, principles and beliefs that inform their perspectives on life and their patterns of behaviour. Pupils are developing a greater appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures in a way that promotes acceptance and understanding between different cultural traditions. They are taught that prejudice or discrimination towards others on the basis of their faith, culture, race, gender or sexual orientation is against the fundamental British Values and will not be tolerated by the school. Pupils show they are able to distinguish right from wrong and are more readily able to accept responsibility for their behaviour and actions. Our curriculum promotes the wellbeing of all the children in our care and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. We recognise that good learning behaviour is far more than compliance; good learning behaviours include high levels of engagement and focus, with children developing independent learning skills and good co-operative skills. The teaching of SMSC has helped to lay solid foundations on which children have developed good learning behaviours, which in turn support the right conditions for effective learning to take place.

SMSC info for website

Find out more about the Governments requirements for SMSC on their website, link below: – Promoting British Values

Woodlands NSPCC SOSS Participation Certificate


Our curriculum is carefully designed to ensure key knowledge and skills progress in a logical and sequenced way, thus enabling pupils to revisit previously taught content and to build upon it year on year. We use carefully structured progression documents to ensure that substantive and disciplinary knowledge and skills are clearly outlined and sequenced, thus enabling the children to know and remember more, as they move through school.

We teach Personal Development through carefully planned, explicit lessons, circle times and interwoven throughout the school day. Our PD lessons are taken from the Kapow Programme of Study.


We have based our school’s relationship and sex education policy on the statutory guidance from DfE issued under Section 80A of the Education Act 2002 and section 403 of the Education Act 1996. The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education regulations 2019/2020 are made under sections 34 and 35 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017.

We refer to RSHE (Relationship, Sex and Health Education) and we place the emphasis on relationships and supporting pupils understanding and skill in developing positive and healthy relationships.  Our definition is that this work is a lifelong learning process; it is about physical, moral and emotional development. It is about understanding the importance of marriage, stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care. It involves teaching about sex, sexuality and sexual health. It is not about the promotion of sexual identity or sexual activity.

RSHE in our school is part of the personal, social and health education curriculum. It is our belief that RSHE is the responsibility of all staff and should be an integral part of teaching and learning processes. Education for personal growth and self-esteem, including sex and health education, complements and overlaps with the personal, social and emotional development of the child and the general life of the school, relationships with one another, including staff and parents, socialisation, values and attitudes.

Protected Characteristics

At Woodlands, we understand it is important that all children gain an understanding of the world they are growing up in, and learn how to live alongside, and show respect for, the diverse range of people that we encounter within our community. Our children learn Protected Characteristics are characteristics that are protected by a law called The Equality Act, that came into force in 2010.  This law protects everyone from discrimination and helps society to be fair and equal to all. The children know the Proctective Characteristics are:
  • gender reassignment
  • age
  • disability
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • sex
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation 

The curriculum at Woodlands challenges children to ask questions, listen to each other, ask questions, challenge stereotypes, understand that everyone is different and express our views calmly and politely. It supports the elimination of discrimination, harassment and victimisation and ensures that this philosophy is an integral part of school life, embedded within the ethos and culture.

Collective Worship

At Woodlands Primary School, the regular act of meeting together as a whole school, is viewed as an integral and important part of school life. It is a time where we come together to celebrate and reflect, through assemblies and collective worship. Collective worship, at our school, is based broadly on Christian values. As such, the contributions of staff, pupils, and other visitors are valued highly.

Our current schedule is as follows:
Monday: Whole school assembly. ‘Picture News’ assembly linked to current topics/
news. This is usually led by the Deputy Headteacher.
Tuesday: Key Stage 2 phase assembly. Themes usually include, national or worldwide celebrations or festivals and current topics or educational points of interest e.g. World Poetry Day, Chinese New Year, and World Religion Day. Subject leaders also deliver assemblies linked to their Subject area. During this time KS1 hold class assemblies, usually based on Newsround stories.
Wednesday: Music themed assembly (currently led by a RE lead and Y3/4 phase lead both are choir leaders). This provides opportunity to rehearse/ consolidate known Worship songs alongside opportunities to sing modern and current songs the children are familiar with. Musical groups within school are also given the opportunity to perform to an audience including the School Choir.
Thursday: Key Stage 1 phase assembly. Themes usually include, national or worldwide celebrations or festivals and current topics or educational points of interest e.g. World Poetry Day, Chinese New Year, and World Religion Day. Subject leaders also deliver assemblies linked to their Subject area. During this time KS2 hold class assemblies, usually based on Newsround stories.
Friday: Whole school ‘Secrets of Success’ (a range of school based values) and
SMSC/British Values linked assembly, during which, we celebrate whole school and
individual achievement both in and out of School. This is usually led by the Headteacher.

Collective Worship Policy Jan 2023-pending approval

British Values

At Woodlands Primary School we agree with the Department for Education’s five part definition of British Values:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect
  • Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

We believe it is incredibly important that these British Values permeate through every school in the country. At Woodlands Primary you will encounter these values throughout our everyday school life and, in particular, through our promotion of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural understanding and through our school values – Happiness, Courage, Respect, Friendship and Responsibility.

Below is just a snap shot of how we promote these values in our school community:


Pupil voice plays a big part in life at Woodlands Primary School. Our School Parliament plays a strong role in our school; they are democratically elected by their class peers and are involved in making Woodlands Primary School a better place to learn.

Pupil questionnaires and interviews are also conducted throughout the year. We know that the formation of the School Parliament and the active participation of our pupils will sow the seeds for a deeper understanding of democracy in the future.

 The Rule of Law

Our pupils will encounter rules and laws throughout their entire lives. We want them to understand that whether these laws govern the class, the school, the neighbourhood or the country; they are set for good reasons and must be adhered to. This understanding of the importance of rules will be consistently reinforced through assemblies and our curriculum.

The involvement of our pupils in the creation of the school rules helps them to understand the reasons behind rules and the consequences if rules are broken. Our School Parliament and Children’s Safeguarding Panel, which are both pupil led, provide pupils with the responsibility to make mature choices about suitable consequences for the negative behaviour of their peers. We allow opportunity to debate and discuss the reasons for laws so children can recognise the importance of these for their own protection.

Throughout the year we welcome visits from members of the wider community including the police, war veterans, the fire brigade and many more. We believe that clear explanations and real life stories emphasise the importance of the Rule of Law for our pupils.

Individual Liberty

We invest a lot of time in creating a positive culture in our school, so that children are in a safe environment where choices and freedoms are encouraged. In lessons we encourage children to choose appropriate ways of tackling problems and tasks giving them more freedom to determine their own learning.

We offer a range of clubs which pupils have the freedom to choose from, based on their interests. Through our E-Safety and PSHE sessions, we educate children on their rights and personal freedoms, as well as supporting them in recognising how to exercise these freedoms safely. At Woodlands Primary School we believe that valuing choice and freedom in daily school life will foster a value for individual liberty as the children embark upon their adult lives.

Mutual Respect

Our school mission is to provide an environment in which every child can be cared for spiritually, morally, socially, culturally, intellectually and physically, allowing everyone to be the best that they can be! Our school has a growing number of different languages and ethnic groups and our pupils learn together with absolute respect for each other. Mutual respect is at the core of our school life.

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

We offer a culturally rich and diverse curriculum in which all major religions are studied and respected. Parents and leaders of different faiths are welcomed to the school to share their beliefs, while we also visit numerous places of worship. At Woodlands Primary School we strongly believe that tolerance is gained through knowledge and understanding. Through our curriculum and the routines of our daily school life, we strive to demonstrate tolerance and help children to become knowledgeable and understanding citizens who can build a better Britain for the future.

During weekly assemblies, the children discuss relevant news articles and how they link to British Values. Below you will find images of our picture news coverage along with links to the documents.

Primary Picture News England Coverage Document – Autumn 1 2022

Primary Picture News Coverage Document England – Summer 2 2022

Primary Picture News Coverage Document England – Spring 2 2022

Primary Picture News Coverage Document England – Autumn 2 2021