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Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural aspects of learning is a very important part of a teacher's job. It covers Part two of the teacher standards and as you move along in your career, you will be expected to demonstrate how you have created opportunities for SMSC in your curriculum.

What is SMSC?

A CPD session on SMSC is available here:

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There are different ways to exemplify and promote SMSC in lessons, subjects and across a whole school

Exemplifying SMSC
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Promoting SMSC
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Planning for SMSC

Your lessons should, where possible, identify any opportunities for social, moral, spiritual or cultural development. Suggested ways that you may be able to demonstrate this in your lesson planning are as follows:

Pupils’ spiritual development in a lesson will involve the growth of their sense of self, their unique potential, their understanding of their strengths and weakness, and their willingness to achieve. As their curiosity about themselves and their place in the world increases, they try to answer for themselves some of life’s fundamental questions. They will have the opportunity to:

  • Foster their own inner lives and non-material wellbeing

  • Sustain their self-esteem in the learning experience

  • Develop their capacity for critical and independent thought

  • Foster their emotional life and express their feelings

  • Experience moments of stillness and reflection

  • Discuss their beliefs, feelings, values and response to personal experiences

  • Form and maintain worthwhile and satisfying relationships

  • Reflect on, consider and celebrate the wonders and mysteries of life

Pupils’ moral development in a lesson involves students acquiring an understanding of the difference between right and wrong and of moral conflict, a concern for others and the will to do what is right. They will have the opportunities to:

  • Reflect on the consequences of their actions, learn how to forgive themselves and others, which are attitudes they need to make moral, responsible decisions and act on them

  • Recognise the unique value of each individual

  • Recognise the challenge of life today and the role they play in it

  • Listen and respond appropriately to the views of others

  • Gain the confidence to cope with setbacks and learn from mistakes

  • Take initiative and act responsibly with consideration for others

  • Distinguish between right and wrongs

  • Show respect for the environment

Pupils’ social development in a lesson involves students acquiring an understanding of the responsibilities and rights of being members of families and communities (local, national and global) and an ability to relate to others and to work with others for the common good. The will have opportunities to:

  • Display a sense of belonging and an increasing willingness to participate

  • Make an active contribution to the democratic process in each of their communities

  • Develop an understanding of individual and group identity

  • Learn about service in the school and wider community

  • Begin to understand the place they have within society and the role they need to play

  • Understand the changing nature of society and how this is an opportunity not a threat

  • Develop their compassion for others in society

  • Take initiative on wider social issues and establish ways they can help on an individual, local, national and global scale

Pupils’ cultural development in a lesson involves pupils acquiring an understanding of cultural traditions and ability to appreciate and respond to a variety of aesthetic experiences. They acquire a respect for their own culture and that of others, an interest in others’ ways of doing things and curiosity about differences. They will have the opportunity to:

  • Recognise the values and richness of cultural diversity in Britain and how these influence individuals and society

  • Recognise world faiths and beliefs and the impact they have on our culture

  • Develop an understanding of Britain’s’ local, national, European and global dimensions

  • Broaden their perspective on different communities and cultures within the local area

  • Interact with different cultures/lifestyles and explore their advantages and disadvantages

You can also exemplify SMSC within starter activities of a lesson by guaranteeing pupil engagement, pace and challenge.


  1. The starter does no outlast the concentration span of pupils;

  2. The starter is accessible to all pupils (starter involving complex instructions or extended reading or writing are less likely to engage all pupils quickly)

  3. The starter ‘hooks’ pupils interest – could be mystery, curiosity, novelty or particular relevance

  4. Expectations are made clear e.g. ‘Each group should come up with at least five suggestions in x minutes’

  5. The starter is immediate i.e. First five minutes

  6. The teacher intervenes, where necessary, to promote engagement


  1. Starters are accessible to all or most learners as soon as they arrive in the classroom

  2. Clear expectations of time frames are set and adhered to

  3. The teacher intervenes to move the lesson forward


  1. Activities and questions involve remembering, checking on understanding and applying knowledge (Blooms Knowledge, Comprehension and Application)

  2. Activities and questions that involve higher order critical and creative thinking (Blooms Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation)

In order to demonstrate SMSC within starters, the activities find out:

  1. What pupils already know and understand

  2. What learners can do (skills)

  3. What learners are aware of (Values and Attitudes)

  4. What pupils already know for the benefit of others

Within the activities, pupils

  1. Connect with prior learning, either to build on what has been learned in previous lessons or to assimilate a new topic or idea

  2. Get to grips with new learning, relating it to some or all of the lesson objectives

  3. Practise or apply subject/generic skills on a little-and-often basis

  4. Build knowledge, understanding, and skills over a series of lessons

Pupils also understand

  1. What is expected

  2. How to get top marks

  3. How to achieve, and progress outstandingly well

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