Spiritual, moral, social and cultural Policy
This policy has regard to the Equality Act 2010, the new Independent School Standards published in September 2014 and the necessary social inclusion policy pursued by the Government in 2014.
It is further informed by discussions with the staff.
We aim to provide an education which is at heart and practice Christian.
To this end we employ a curriculum with a biblical worldview, which combines academics with character training.
Once England was riven by dissensions between warring rival tribes. When the good news of Jesus Christ was preached and the kings became Christian, then gradually peace descended within the country, learning sprang up and development took place. Everywhere that the missionaries to Britain planted a cathedral, they also opened a school.
By the 8th century there were flourishing Christian centres of higher education in several places in Britain. Two of these formed the basis, in the 12th and 13th centuries, of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, primarily concerned with the education of priests. All members of the university were in holy orders. Only people with an MA, who had been through this form of Christian education, could be licensed by the Bishop to teach in schools.
All schools were then Christian foundations, many attached to monasteries or cathedrals, or developed in connection with the university colleges.
After the Reformation, this fundamental link between the established church and education persisted. This is why even today one-third of schools have a Christian foundation, although now they include Roman Catholic and non-conformist schools.
We are continuing in this tradition.
We aim to provide an education that gives pupils opportunities to come to know, understand and develop in the Christian faith, moving towards high standards of personal behaviour, and a positive, caring attitude towards other people. We believe that students need first to be secure in their own faith before they begin to compare it with, and learn about, the faiths of others. At the same time, we teach them to love and accept others regardless of background, ability or belief – this is a fundamental tenet of Christianity. We teach them to tolerate the expression of other people’s beliefs, and to value them as people God loves and deliberately created, and for whom Jesus gave his life. We teach them that all men were made in the image of God.
At the same time we aim to give our students an understanding of British culture, values, institutions and traditions. We want them to develop deep respect and loyalty to Britain, and also learn to respect people from other cultures too, to be aware of the people in the world and open to ideas which are right and good. We want them to develop discernment, being able to distinguish what is good and should be cherished from what is wrong and should be hastily discarded.
We are also aware that some of the children’s families are involved in missionary activity and that some of the children themselves will grow up to take part in missions. They therefore need to know that people of other faiths are people too whom God loves, and to become aware of the beliefs of other major religions including animism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and the syncretism found in parts of S America and Japan.
We want them to learn to defend their beliefs rationally, reasonably, gently, with respect but successfully, and to know that it is possible to provide a rational defence of Christianity.
We also intend them to learn about ideas, including humanism and atheism, evolution and communism.
We want students to be clearly presented with the truth, and with the choice they have for good or ill, for heaven or hell, in this life and the next, so that they can choose life and not death, to build up and not to pull down, to love and not to hate.
We want to provide the students with opportunities to think through the implications of the Christian faith.
We want them to understand that some matters require discussion, learning to see a problem or an issue from many points of view, putting themselves in others’ shoes and finally learning to ask themselves, What is God’s point of view on this? What is the point of view of the highest good?
They learn to sing all kinds of hymns, psalms and songs, ancient and modern.
They are given opportunities to pray themselves, as a group, and for individuals. They are taught how to pray more effectively.
They are taught to read the bible and how to read it more effectively.
We want them to be able to talk about personal experiences, and for the Christians to be able to say clearly and straightforwardly what Jesus Christ has done for them.
We want them to be thoroughly acquainted with and understand the Christian faith, and yet to be able to discuss openly their own position and struggles. We want them to be able to compare their faith with others’ belief and lack of it.
We want them to develop critical skills and encourage the critiquing of material, e.g. Westminster catechism and other material written about the bible and the Christian faith about which there might be varying views.
The curriculum provides moral teaching, using the bible as the reason for the morality.
This is supplemented by teachers in lessons, but also in daily situations.
Learning –spiritual and moral
We teach the children about bible stories from the beginning.
We teach them to read the bible and to learn verses and short passages of it.
The meaning of the bible is explained so that they develop an understanding of it.
The bible is also applied to real life situations, in PACEs and in assemblies and scripture lessons and situations as they arise.
We work with the parents to that the children understand the gospel and realise they can make a choice.
The curriculum aims to give character training as well as academic training.
The students are taught how to live as Jesus commanded us, and are challenged to line up their life with his teaching.
All adults are required to model and promote high standards of behaviour, treating all people as valuable individuals and showing respect for pupils and their families.
The students, through consistent bible teaching and individual help with issues and relationships, are taught what is right and what is wrong, using the high standards of the bible to provide a moral core.
They are taught to value themselves and others.
They are taught the need for rules and the necessity of abiding by them for good of all.
We aim to produce good thinking, responsible people with a clear understanding of right and wrong, whilst developing an awareness of the complexity of moral issues in the modern world. We aim to point them to always consider not only different points of view but ultimately to consider and choose the right thing to do in a discerning and sensitive way.
We want the moral core of the scriptures to become the basis of their morality.
We want them to be able to make an informed choice about Jesus Christ, aware of the cost of discipleship.
The children are open to the idea that their culture is not the only one. They are already aware of several versions of culture:
They learn about ancient cultures through Scripture and history teaching; they understand the history of Judaism, and the older students are taught about classical culture.
They also learn about each other’s cultures (we have children from West African, West Indian, Mauritian, Asian and European backgrounds). They become aware that the British culture of many of the teachers is quite different from their own. They learn through using an American curriculum that there are two points of view about history. Learning about creation alongside evolution, they also learn to compare two belief systems.
In addition they come from different denominations – various types of charismatic, Pentecostal, evangelical and conservative (and other) backgrounds and are taught by teachers with a corresponding range of theologies.
We believe that a Christian society is generous, accepting, and non-judgmental; that people should worry more about their own shortcomings than those of their neighbours.
We believe that Bible teaching is essentially about creating a good and lovely society where the arts flourish and development can occur. The Old Testament talks about creating a right society for the Jews – a society where the poor and oppressed are properly looked after and contentment rather than greed and acquisition is preached: ‘each man under his vine and under his fig tree’. Jesus in the New Testament is talking about his Kingdom, his society, and how people should treat one another within it.
The students are given assistance and teaching on their relationships
The students are expected to engage in assembly, reading together, singing together, answering questions collectively.
There are many opportunities for social interaction built into the timetable:
Student and teacher, individually
Students collectively with the teacher in various sizes of groupings, and a variety of situations.
Students are encouraged to socialise with each other in breaktime.
During the year, certain meals are taken together, for example, Harvest Lunch.
Afternoon work and breaks are taken collectively.
We aim to give each child the opportunity to explore social and moral issues in assembly, scripture lessons, current affairs, history, literature, art and music.
We want to produce social, caring people with an idea of community, who can think about and empathise with others.
We are also keen to teach them to use their words with care, and more effectively; we want to stop them talking about stupid and improper things and acting and responding inappropriately.
We want them to treat all as equals, accepting people are always different, but that difference should be treated kindly, including people with learning and physical difficulties and disabilities.
Learning and Teaching
We aim to provide learning opportunities that will enable children to:
Listen to and talk to people of all ages, adults and other students
Learn to agree and disagree with evidence and reasons.
Learn to discuss and debate thoughtfully and politely.
Take turns and share.
Work co-operatively and collaboratively.
Practical activities include:
Working together in different groupings and situations.
Learning to behave appropriately, especially at mealtimes.
Taking responsibility as team leaders, preparing practically for assembly, playing music for others, delivering messages properly, and helping the younger ones.
Encouraging teamwork in PE and games
Appreciation and respect for the work and performance of others.
Meeting people from different cultures and countries.
Participating in a variety of different educational visits.
We aim to give the students opportunities to learn about art, music, theatre, film, etc. We take them on field trips and educational visits.
We aim to given them opportunity to engage in cultural activities themselves, take it on board and produce own works of composition, in art, writing, music, photography, etc. This is climaxed in the Seniors’ submission of work to ESC and ISC.
We encourage them to play in assembly, to take up individual music lessons in various instruments, to listen to classical music while they work, to sing solos, duets, collectively.
We want to provide opportunities for them to participate in live performances (including at ESC and ISC).
We want to provide additional opportunities to study literature, music and art.
We want to give them opportunities to hear and see live and recorded performances by professionals.
We provide opportunities to learn about the cultures of others in their group, to see their special clothes and eat their food.
Visitors are welcomed into school.
The school has links to the wider community through the churches of the students’ families.
Visits are arranged to historic buildings and churches, zoos and wildlife centres of various sorts.
Teaching is given to enable the students to understand and engage with the wider Christian community (ESC and ISC help with this too).
There is a parent-teacher fellowship.
The children are taught to be good stewards of the environment.
They are taught how to take practical action to solve a problem, and not just leave it to Them – e.g. litter picking.
We aim to produce students with the self-control to order their own lives effectively.
We value individuality
We are committed to equality of opportunity regardless of race, cultural background, ability, or any physical or sensory disability.
The responsibility for the implementation of this policy and the planning and teaching of SMSC lies with all staff. The Headteacher co-ordinates SMSC.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies:
Special Educational Needs Policy
Safeguarding and Child Protection Policies
Equal Opportunities Policy
Health and Safety Policy.