Learning social skills is a vital part of children’s education. It is intrinsically woven into the children’s daily activities, complementing the Catholic ethos of our school, and forming the foundation of each lesson across the curriculum. We want the children to develop as well-rounded, caring individuals, knowing their own strengths and building confidence to tackle all of life’s challenges.
Alongside our RE programme, PSHCE forms the basis of the children’s learning, from Foundation Stage upwards, and these skills are therefore at the forefront of our planning. They must have every opportunity to interact with others and begin to work out how to solve everyday problems, presented in a fun and exciting way, if they are to cope with the demands the other subjects throw at them on their journey through Primary school. Once these skills are embedded, the children will use them as building blocks into their adult life.
Throughout the school, the children engage in regular Circle time activities. These are linked to our “Statements of Belief” from our RE programme, “The Way, The Truth, The Life”. The children enjoy participating in a variety of games intended to build their social confidence, and then talk through how the statements relate to their own particular stage of development, in an atmosphere of trust.
PSHCE needs to be taught in a cross-curricular way as well as discreetly. Children are constantly encountering situations where they must develop independence, respect for themselves and others, and ways to work as a team. The children need to have experience of using these skills within a variety of situations, for example when working on maths problems, or re-enacting periods of history, or conducting science investigations. The possibilities are endless and bring meaning and purpose to those activities.
Children also participate in Whole School activities within the subject. The School Council is made up of representatives from each year group from Reception class upwards, voted democratically by the children themselves. It meets regularly to discuss issues concerning the children and the school environment, and feeds back to their respective classes on their ideas and the progress made as a result. This year we have also developed an Eco-Council, again democratically voted by the children. The Eco-Council is concerned with caring for our environment, for our own and future generations. They tackle issues such as recycling, healthy eating, saving energy and helping nature, and have already made great contributions, such as recycling bins throughout school, and a regular Healthy Tuck Shop.
There are many exciting opportunities which are planned in throughout the school year for children to work as a whole school, including Anti-Bullying Week, subject themed days such as our Art Workshop Day for RE, and events such as the School Picnic. This summer, we had a very successful Enterprise Week, in which each class designed and made products to sell, on a limited budget, with prizes for the most successful business. The children relish these chances to enjoy the company of friends from other year groups, problem solve and learn vital skills they will need as adults, and above all have fun.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
Explore beliefs and experience; respect faiths, feelings and values; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect.
Recognise right and wrong; respect the law; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views.
Use a range of social skills; participate in the local community; appreciate diverse viewpoints; participate, volunteer and cooperate; resolve conflict; engage with the 'British values' of democracy, the rule of law, liberty, respect and tolerance.
What are British values?
According to Ofsted, British values are:
the rule of law;
mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith
Appreciate cultural influences; appreciate the role of Britain's parliamentary system; participate in culture opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.
How will SMSC be taught?
- Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England.
- Encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely.
- Enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England.
- Further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation for and respect for their own and other cultures.
- Encourage respect for other people.
- Encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
The promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development in particular raises confidence, self-esteem, motivation and leads to better learning. We are dedicated to empowering our pupils to be confident, healthy, happy and thoughtful people who are able to make informed choices and decisions. We are very proud of our school, its students and staff, and take every opportunity to celebrate its achievements and successes. We celebrate them through assemblies, liturgies, our regular newsletter, open evenings, our website and parental contact. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that pupils need to enjoy their time at school and, when they leave, be prepared to live as independent a life as possible whilst being responsible citizens.
SMSC is evident in all areas of English Martyrs Catholic Primary School; in classrooms and corridors, on our playgrounds and sports field and in the way we interact within the Wakefield community.