Helping schools with SMSC

Every school in England must promote SMSC.
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. All schools in England must show how well their pupils develop in SMSC.

Pupils are marked on ability and willing.


Explore beliefs and experience; respect values; discover oneself and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect.


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


Use social skills in different contexts; work well with others; resolve conflicts; understand how communities work.


Appreciate cultural influences; participate in culture opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.

How will Ofsted inspect it?

Inspectors want to see a coherent approach. They will look at the whole school, including curriculum subjects, school life and other activities.

They will want to talk to staff and pupils. Discussion is an important part of evaluating SMSC.

Inspectors want to see a range of opportunities for pupils to take part in cultural activities.

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.

Our citizenship grid helps identify where the current citizenship curriculum supports SMSC.

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!