SMSC and Fundamental British Values

This page provides details of our commitment to Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural mindfulness and the understanding of Fundamental British Values.

At Cockburn School we are fully committed to improving our students’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) mindfulness. The areas of SMSC are fully embedded into our Values and Expectations. We seek to equally support the students’ academic achievement alongside developing their broader character. All students at KS3 study one lesson of Religious Studies and one lesson of PHSCE each week and at KS4 students have one lesson a week of Religion and PHSCE. We also have weekly assemblies for each year group and daily form time which cover key topics and give chance for discussion.

Students who meet our Values and Expectations and demonstrate excellence are celebrated through our PDFL system by gaining reward points in lessons, getting board of excellence recognition and through nominations from staff which are shared in assemblies and on our social media platforms.

All subject areas contribute to this provision: modelling the school’s Values and Expectations, having high expectations of students behaviour & conduct in lessons and around the School, following the PDFL policy & systems, offering extra-curricular provision and developing Cultural Capital through delivery of well-planned subject curricula.

There are four specific areas to SMSC:

Spiritual - This encompasses our school value of being respectful of each other and our feelings. Students broaden their imagination and creativity whilst at Cockburn School alongside understanding other people’s beliefs and values.

Moral - At Cockburn School we always encourage students to recognise the difference between right and wrong, as well as understanding that negative actions have consequences. Students also spend time investigating ethical issues through the broad and balanced curriculum.

Social - Students adhere to our Values and Expectations, participating in school activities beyond the school day as well taking part in work in the local community.

Cultural - Our students are inspired to accept, respect and celebrate diversity. They learn to appreciate difference and develop their understanding of different cultures in the South Leeds area and beyond. At Cockburn School our school community is made up of speakers of a variety of different languages and we welcome the rich culture and diversity this brings.

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Fundamental British Values

Our students understand the five key values of democracy, rule of law, mutual respect, individual liberty and tolerance, the curriculum as well as enrichment activities support this. Student planners detail all five areas and they are covered at length within the PSHCE/RS curriculum.

Subject teachers all have a role to play in modelling and promoting both SMSC and MBV every day, they do this in a variety of ways. The majority of work is completed within the extensive PSHCE and Religious Studies curriculum but all subject areas support the strands.

We are committed to providing independent careers advice to all students and work closely with local colleges and businesses to ensure students remain in Education, Employment or Training when they leave Cockburn School. We work with the Leeds Enterprise Partnership to secure exciting opportunities for our young people around employability skills such as work within different sectors. We also work with Go Higher West Yorkshire to ensure that higher education in all its forms is open to all who can benefit, regardless of background. Additionally, we have business links with Harrison Spinks and IBM where we are founding members of the UK P-TECH programme with PTECH cohorts in Years 10 and 11. Our students have regular contact with businesses, through the assembly programme, internal workshops and events and a dedicated careers week.

We have an assembly rota which closely focuses on all areas of SMSC and MBV covering topics that are relevant to young people today. We will invite guest speakers from local colleges and businesses to allow students to hear a range of voices around the issues that relate to them. We cover issues such as fire safety, anti-bullying, reading for pleasure, armistice week and always promote the Values and Expectations of the school.

Each year we also nominate, vote for and elect a Headboy and Headgirl in Year 11. These students are required to write an application which is countersigned by two members of staff, they are then invited to interview followed by a presentation to staff and students. Then all stakeholders in the school vote in a system which models the way we vote as a country in national elections, with ballot slips, booths and counting systems. This is an essential part of understanding how voting can change the way the country is run. At Cockburn School we have form and year group representatives who work together to impact on change by representing the views of themselves and their peers on the School Council.

Examples from subject areas:

In Music we explore the music of a variety of cultures and traditions. We also look at the deeper meaning behind song lyrics and certain genres for example connecting Blues to the slave trade. Students are encouraged to work with others and respect each other’s opinions.

In Drama a variety of social issues are tackled through performance such as the death penalty, poverty and mental health.

History supports SMSC across the key-stages by examining various cultures, people and events in the past. In KS3, students have the opportunity to grasp the lifestyles of those living in medieval poverty, the impact of the Industrial revolution on the creation of modern cities and the global impact of the use of slavery. Students develop a sense of empathy in KS4 by studying medicine through time, analysing the growing significance of medical care and then moving on to consider political and social impact of the Cold War.

Geography covers a wide range of SMSC issues.  For example, looking at how people are treated in an Indian slum, assessing the impact of globalisation on peoples’ lives and thinking about issues with how hazards are managed.  We look at how different geographical phenomena impact upon peoples’ lives and how they deal with these issues.  In KS4 we look at this in more detail, and focus on issues like the north-south divide in the UK and the challenges facing people in some major UK and world cities.

Students also have PSHCE lessons alongside a robust RS curriculum where controversial topics are studied in order to enthuse and stimulate emotion in their learning. Students explore the six major world religions in RS as well as ultimate questions such as ‘Can God possibly exist?’ They also examine issues that are prevalent in the 21st Century such as capital punishment and war which they study in KS4 GCSE RS. Students also take part in lessons around growing up and relationships in their PSHCE lessons. They look closely at the risks connected to taking drugs- both legal and illegal forms, sex education, anti-extremism alongside prejudice and discrimination. Students also study anti-extremism looking at preventing young people from turn to extremist groups to get their voice heard.

Science covers a number of topics that consider ethical questions, for example, we have the scientific theory and technology to genetically modify an organism’s genome, but is it right to do so? We recognise that culture, background, and religion lead to people having different views and encourage students to make their own conclusions using evidence. Through Biology units, students study about the body and how it responds to both external and internal factors and students show great enthusiasm to learn about themselves in this context. The scientific theory of the importance of biodiversity in an ecosystem is studied and gives a different view of celebrating diversity. In Physics we study the forces of motion, kinetic energy, and braking distances of cars to better understand the need to have speed limits laws and how lifestyle choices can affect a person’s reaction times, thus inhibiting their ability to drive safely.