SMSC

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Molehill Primary Academy we understand that a child’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is at the heart of learning and growing. We aim to provide an education that is rich in opportunities to develop self-respect and respect for others, foster high standards of behaviour, nurture a respect and understanding of other social and religious customs and promote fundamental British values.

Spiritual

This refers to a child’s beliefs, religious or otherwise, which form their perspective of life and their respect for other people. It is shown through their sense of self-worth and uses imagination and creativity in their learning.

  • We promote the development of a sense of self, identity, belonging and self-reflection. We encourage our children to take pride in their uniform. We offer opportunities for reflection on learning and behaviour and we celebrate achievement in work and self-development through celebrations such as Star-of-the-Week and sending postcards home, by displaying writing on our Gallery board and through our reading challenge competition.
  • Staff collaborate to establish the vision and values that underpin the ethos of the school.
  • During transition activities, pupils are given the opportunity to develop a set of class values with their new teacher.
  • They experience ‘awe and wonder’ through Art, Science, Music and exploring the school’s natural environment including our copse.
  • We have strong links with local faith leaders at St Martin’s church and The Vine, both on Northumberland Road, and pupils visit these churches to celebrate festivals and special occasions.
  • We focus on positive behaviour and outcomes, rewarding positive behaviour and achievement in our weekly celebration assembly, ensuring that pupils value themselves and their unique contribution to society. Pupils value themselves and others in school and the wider community.

Moral

This refers to a child’s understanding of right and wrong, and their understanding of the consequences of their behaviour (positive and negative).

  • We support the ability to distinguish right from wrong both within and outside of school. Pupils engage with our local PCSO who is a familiar face within the school and in KS2 they take part in a workshop led by a magistrate.
  • Pupils collaborate to develop shared school values and a respect for those who have different values through the Religious Education and PSHE curriculums, during circle time and in assemblies and workshops lead by various visitors such as Family Trust, St Martin’s church, Child Line and Victim Support.
  • Pupils’ awareness of moral and social issues such as whether a local airport should be built and whether animals should trained in circuses, are developed through debates, persuasive writing and through engaging with a range of literature.
  • We encourage pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour and learning. We promote positive behaviour choices and ensure children understand that all choices have a consequence. Our current behaviour policy ensures that positive behaviour is acknowledged and, from September 2015, we will be implementing a points system, where points will be awarded as well as deducted. We foster independence by teaching independent learning strategies, and we actively promote resilience by teaching children to learn from mistakes. Our marking policy reflects these values, and children are given opportunities to correct mistakes in addition to learning how to move on.

Social

This refers to a child’s ability to work and engage with others from both their own community and with those from different backgrounds, religions and ethnicities, and to make a positive contribution to their community.

  • We provide opportunities for pupils to develop the skills required to work effectively with others, both in school and in a broader context. Pupils understand their role in the wider community, as UK citizens and in the world. Workshops such as Safety in Action, a local community funded organisation, helps our year 6 children in the transition to secondary school. We also work with charities such as Victim Support and Child Line.
  • We foster a sense of community through links with local churches and businesses, collaborating with Oaks Academy and Tree Tops (our Leigh Academy partnership schools) and also New Line Learning and Cornwallis for transition and sports events.
  • Pupils are encouraged to work socially, for example in small groups, paired work, through the school council or eco-squad and in after-school activities.
  • Through local fieldwork in Geography, for example at Mote Park, pupils reflect on their local community and the various roles that they and others have within it.

Cultural

This refers to a pupil’s understanding and appreciation of their own values, customs and beliefs, and their willingness to respect and respond to cultural diversity.

  • We develop pupils’ appreciation and respect for their own cultural traditions through the curriculum, special events, Christian festivals and through assemblies. In addition, we acknowledge and respect festivals and traditions practiced by other faiths, for example, multi-cultural Harvest celebrations.
  • We celebrate attitudes, values and diverse culture in Geography, History, RE, English, Art, Dance, Music and in assemblies.
  • We recognise a range of talents and gifts within the school through whole school celebration assemblies, class assemblies and by encouraging children to engage in after school clubs and activities ranging from Musical Theatre Club to Football Club.
  • Pupils’ understanding of democracy is supported through events such as Magna Carta day. They are provided with opportunities to actively engage in activities that promote British values, for example, electing school council members. Recent projects undertaken by the school council have included a successful bid for funding for a bike shed and negotiating with our Parents, Teachers and Friends Association for the purchase of new playground equipment.

View our SMSC policy here.

View our SMSC self-audit here.


A visitor’s view

Towards the end of Term 6, we were fortunate to have a visit from one of our local community churches who supports the promotion of reading within the school. However, we asked Mr Creasey to visit us wearing another hat – that of a community leader. We asked him to walk around our academy and tell us what he could see happening relating to promoting the values of SMSC.

We are very grateful to Mr Creasey for taking the time to visit and we were really proud to read the positive observations he had made about our academy. However, we don’t believe in standing still so have already made plans for tackling Mr Creasey’s final point about raising the visual profile of our core values. We plan to post photos of the resulting displays early in September. Following that, we plan to invite Mr Creasey on a return visit to see if he can spot the improvements!

Here are Mr Creasey’s observations: 

Review of SMSC in Molehill Primary Academy

 by David Creasey, Elder/ Trustee, The Vine, Maidstone

21 July 2015

Many thanks for taking me on a journey through Molehill last week. I hugely enjoyed the experience and gained a greater insight into the range of educational provision that the school offers to a diverse group of children, some of whom clearly have challenging issues to face in their young lives. I make the following comments in terms of a first impression visit.

Relationships

I think I said to you at the time that this for me is core to any work that we want to undertake with anyone whether they be adults or children. I observed real relationships in action. From Mrs Brooker dealing with children who had been disciplined – with great respect but getting key messages across to another child knocking on her door asking if he could have his lunch with her. This would seem to be the norm and is a great example of leaders leading and outworking what they are trying to motivate others to do. Making time for people builds trust and confidence and demonstrates care beyond just the mechanics of a necessary relationship.

I observed relationships across the school working well with each class visit that we made. Teachers clearly engaged with their children listening and responding to them; challenging behaviours but reinforcing praise and effort that were being made. I observed children who seemed, at least on my visit, to be engaged with the subject matter in each class we went into. All of this was underpinned by relationships that seemed firmly established. Relationships are a key foundational block to building anything and from my limited observation I would say that block is firmly and solidly in place – I guess it starts again in Sept.

Communication / Confidence

Alongside relationship is communication and it was clear that again this is core at Molehill, both in terms of oral communication and the use of written communication. I encountered confident children who when asked by yourself a question were able to communicate how they felt and what they thought about the question posed. They gave great accounts of how they would respond if they felt unsure about something in the school and clearly were all able to identify people they would go to for help – again relationships firmly established.

Praise and Resilience

I observed praise and encouragement in each class that we entered. Children were being encouraged to be creative, express ideas and explore options before making choices. This was evident in one class where they were exploring how to construct a model with pieces of cardboard and other materials. I observed clear praise – in one class a child was encouraged to apologise to another and after doing so was in turn encouraged and praised by his teacher for taking that step. The other child who received the apology was in turn praised for accepting this.

Physical environment

I was greatly impressed with the feel of the building and its surrounding grounds. There seemed to be a good use of all available space and clearly defined equipment for those with particular needs, although one boy in a wheelchair did struggle a little to open a pair of swing doors before being assisted. The outside space and the equipment was plentiful with defined areas. The sports field and copse are an added bonus and clearly get good use. I have visited other schools and they have less available space and/or equipment. The building felt to me light and airy and not cramped.

Core vision and values

Whilst I have concentrated on the positive, I would make one comment just on reinforcing the vision and values the school is seeking to promote (and forgive me if I have missed the obvious). I printed off the core vision and values from the website. I clearly saw a reinforcement of this throughout my visit in an oral sense but may have missed how this was being communicated in other ways such as physical display on notice boards or other display media.

The Vision and Values are also quite long – my question would be is there a simple motto that the school has that could be used to help in reinforcing what I generally observed?

There was great “buzz” about the school – maybe a result of the end of term coming – but I just was left with the impression that the children I saw enjoyed being there. I also got that impression from the staff we met along the way. I know that the school faces many challenges and the context of very needy and often complex and distressing family situations. I observed a school that is educating and building confidence in the lives of young people – who for some, this will be the only place they receive the most precious of things – time and attention, care and support.

I’m not just being kind too you, if I thought something was wide of the mark I would say so – but I do believe in looking for the good and excellent before we could talk through anything that needs further attention. I hope this was helpful to you and I would be very happy to assist further if you thought that useful.

Thanks again for taking the time to show me round.

Kind regards

Dave

Dave Creasey
Elder/Trustee

The Vine Maidstone

Charity No. 1152659
Company No. 8476230
Tel 01622 661560
Mob 07908031534
Email dave.creasey@thevineuk.net