Since it’s inception into the 1988 education reform act, the promotion of development in spiritual, moral, social and cultural areas within education has continued to be emphasised; and is now widely recognised by the country and government as key areas which children need nourishment, guiding and teaching in, along with core and secondary subjects.
Although there is no specific grading criteria for development in SMSC, OFSTED still grade a school with either: Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory or Poor in relation to their promotion and implementation of SMSC values.
It is therefore important that schools focus on instilling good values within these areas throughout the curriculum and not just leaving the teaching of SMSC to a 30 minute lesson per week whilst everyone is sat on the carpet. There are plenty of opportunities to development SMSC within curriculum subjects, RE, Science and Creative Arts to name a few more appropriate subjects, but there is a place for SMSC within each and every subject if the teacher is strong enough in their own knowledge of the areas and creative enough to install them within the lessons they teach on a day-to-day basis.
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett shared that “The vast majority of people in our society, regardless of their ethnic background, want the same thing for themselves and their children.” Although he gave little to no evidence to support this claim, I feel not many people would disagree with the statement he made. It is from this shared viewpoint that Mr. Blunkett believes we all share, which emphasis on Community Cohesion is formed; allowing more experienced members of the community surrounding schools to help with the teaching of SMSC and not solely leaving its teaching with the designated class teacher.
Furthermore, I believe that it is through this sense of unity and togetherness that children develop emotionally as well as spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, providing them with a stable well-being and good attributes and attitudes to aid them in their development as human beings. This idea was restated within the Education Act of 2002 where it says “It is clearly recognised that there is more to life than achieving high standards in academic subjects.”
Although this comment may be true; the acquisition of characteristics gained through SMSC development would greatly increase a child’s development within the subjects in which it can be found. This is to say, that a child’s ability to become a “good human being, purposeful and wise, themselves with a vision of what it is to be a human” (Ofsted, 2004, pg.5) can reflect directly upon their development academically. So whether academia should be seen as more, or less important than development within the SMSC areas, it can certainly be seen within schools that SMSC has positive effects on both the mind, as well as the heart and soul. Spiritual development within the academic setting does not necessarily mean the same thing as spiritual development as a general term. Although it can mean the understanding of religious beliefs and worship, it also has less deity orientated meaning.
The School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (1996) defined spirituality as a list of things, one of the most appropriate in my opinion as being: “the sense of identity and self worth which enables us to value others”. This was put into practice within a local school through the use of self and peer assessment. At the beginning of an English lesson based on poetry, an exemplar piece of work (often a famous poet such as Wordsworth, Cummings or Ted Hughes) was read to the children before they started their own work. During this introduction, the children were asked to discuss with each other their opinions and likes of the poem, whereby learning appreciation of the work and gaining an...