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 Cockburn Values and Expectations. We seek to equally support the students’ academic achievement alongside developing their broader character.


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 alongside understanding other people’s beliefs and values.

Moral- At Cockburn 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 well balanced curriculum.

Social- Students adhere to the Values and Expectations of the school, 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.

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/RE 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 an extensive PSHCE/Citizenship and Religious Education curriculum but all areas of the school support the strands.

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 African slums 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/Citizenship lessons alongside a robust RE curriculum where controversial topics are studied in order to enthuse and stimulate emotion in their learning. Students study the six major world religions in RE 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 at KS4. 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.

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. We also work with the Leeds Enterprise Partnership to secure exciting opportunities for our young people around employability skills such as work within different sectors such as the NHS and prison service, mentoring, interview skills and coding classes. We also ensure all year 10 students take part in a two week work experience programme.

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 invite guest speakers from local colleges as well as running Growth Mindset assemblies led by external visitors who motivate students to learn from mistakes and develop their skills. We cover issues such as fire safety, anti-bullying, reading for pleasure, armistice week and promotion of the Kyle Asquith Foundation charity.

We also held an EU referendum to mirror the national vote where all students were encouraged to decide on their choice of voting to remain or leave the European Union after being given speeches from both sides of the argument which were communicated by their peers. Each year we also nominate, vote for and elect a Head boy and Head girl. 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 school we have form and year group representatives who work together to impact on change.