Helping schools with SMSC

Every school in England must promote SMSC, which is now particularly important to Ofsted.
These pages help you understand what it is and how you can meet some of the required outcomes.


What is SMSC?

SMSC stands for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. All schools in England must show how well their pupils develop in SMSC.


Explore beliefs and experience; respect faiths, feelings and values; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect.


Recognise right and wrong; respect the law; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views.


Investigate and moral issues; appreciate diverse viewpoints; participate, volunteer and cooperate; resolve conflict; engage with the 'British values' of democracy, the rule of law, liberty, respect and tolerance


Appreciate cultural influences; appreciate the role of Britain's parliamentary system; participate in culture opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.

How will Ofsted grade it?

Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is now referenced throughout Ofsted's School Inspection Handbook. It is almost as important to a school's inspection as the curriculum.

An 'outstanding' school will have a 'thoughtful and wide-ranging promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development'

An 'inadequate' school will have 'serious weaknesses in the overall promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development'.

Where do curriculum subjects fit in?

If you have embedded both PSHE and citizenship into your school, then yes: you are well on the way to promoting good SMSC.

How do you evaluate it?

We are aware of two tools for evaluating SMSC, neither is free: didbook and SMSC Grid. So far we know nothing about them, so use at your own risk!

If you have used either of these (or any other SMSC evaluation tools), please do share your opinion in the comments below.

How can citizenship teaching help?

Many elements of citizenship education support SMSC, such as appreciating diversity, understanding different viewpoints and collaborating for change.

Schools have had to teach citizenship since 2002, so plenty of resources are available for it.

Many Citizenship Foundation resources map well to SMSC outcomes. You can find these on our resources page.

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Who are we?

The Citizenship Foundation is a charity. We inspire people to take part in society as equal members of it. We help them to understand the law, politics and public life. To do this, we: promote participation; help teachers to teach citizenship; work with young people on issues that concern them.

Why this website?

Citizenship has been on the National Curriculum in England and Wales since 1991, and compulsory in secondary schools since 2002. It leaves an enormous legacy. We believe the wealth of expertise that has built up is invaluable to delivering SMSC. Watch this space: we hope this site will grow!