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Curriculum Briefing: Citizenship & Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural (SMSC) Development

Key stage 3 (ages 11-14) • Identities & Communities • Assemblies & fact sheets

Citizenship & Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural (SMSC) Development

The national curriculum Citizenship programme of study teaching requirement provides specific opportunities to develop Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development. For example:

The Key Stage 3, the programme of study includes:

  • the precious liberties enjoyed by the citizens of the United Kingdom
  • the nature of rules and laws and the justice system, including the role of the police and the operation of courts and tribunals
  • the roles played by public institutions and voluntary groups in society, and the ways in which citizens work together to improve their communities, including opportunities to participate in school-based activities.

The Key Stage 4, the programme of study includes:

  • the power of government, the role of citizens and Parliament in holding those in power to account, and the different roles of the executive, legislature and judiciary and a free press
  • the different electoral systems used in and beyond the United Kingdom and actions citizens can take in democratic and electoral processes to influence decisions locally, nationally and beyond
  • other systems and forms of government, both democratic and non-democratic, beyond the United Kingdom
  • local, regional and international governance and the United Kingdom’s relations with the rest of Europe, the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the wider world
  • human rights and international law
  • the legal system in the UK, different sources of law and how the law helps society deal with complex problems
  • diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding
  • the different ways in which a citizen can contribute to the improvement of their community, to include the opportunity to participate actively in community  volunteering, as well as other forms of responsible activity
  • income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, savings and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent.

Policy statements from both DfE and Ofsted make clear reference to the contribution that Citizenship can make to SMSC and these can also be considered in the context of personal development (PD).

“Teaching should equip pupils with the skills and knowledge to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, debate and make reasoned arguments.” (The National Curriculum 2014)

“Inspectors will evaluate the effectiveness of the schoolʼs provision for pupilsʼ spiritual, moral, social and cultural education. This is a broad concept that can be seen across the schoolʼs activities, but draws together many of the areas covered by the personal development judgement.” (Ofsted Inspection Handbook for 2022)

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