SMSC Co-ordinators - Why? What? Who?

A line of school teachers or SMSC Co-ordinators

Do schools need an SMSC Co-ordinator?

It’s clear that under the new framework for inspection (effective from January 2012) - Ofsted will be taking a very close look at SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural) development in schools.

Download the Ofsted Framework for inspection and see how it describes the importance of SMSC in schools.
The framework says:

Inspectors “must” consider the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at the school. (p.5)

Inspectors also “evaluate how well the school promotes” the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. (p.14)

Inspectors also “evaluate activities both within and outside the classroom” and the “impact that teaching has in promoting” the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. (p.15)

When evaluating the quality of leadership and management inspectors consider whether they provide a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes” pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. (p.16a)

Inspectors also consider whether schools “engage with parents and carers” in supporting pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (p.16b)

Inspectors also consider how well the school promotes all pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development “by providing positive experiences through planned and coherent opportunities in the curriculum and through interactions with teachers, other adults and the local community”. (p.17)

In summary, we can see from the framework that Ofsted expect SMSC development to be "promoted" by the school, discussed with "parent and carers", delivered through "planned and coherent opportunities" as part of a "broad and balanced curriculum" with activities both within and outside the classroom" and involving "interactions with teachers, other adults and the local community".

Incidentally, if you’re thinking that there’s nothing new here - you’re correct! For many years SMSC has been recognised by legislators - schools have been required by law to deliver it and inspectors required to inspect it. However, when Ofsted ‘trimmed’ down the 2012 framework to just four key judgments and kept SMSC as an overall consideration it definitely placed it high on their agenda!

If you want to meet Ofsted’s expectations with regards to SMSC development in your school, an SMSC policy and development 'plan' is a fundamental starting point. However, making sure there’s someone in place to monitor the effectiveness of such documentation is essential! 

This ‘someone’ should be your school’s SMSC Co-ordinator.

What does an SMSC Co-ordinator do?

Obviously the clue is in the title, this person will be responsible for co-ordinating the provision of spiritual, moral, social and cultural values development. However, let’s review some specific tasks which an SMSC co-ordinator may be responsible for.

Your SMSC Co-ordinator may:

  • Contribute to the school’s SMSC policy, vision and development plan.
  • Make an annual review and assess the SMSC provision against pre-defined indicators 
  • Implement systems to monitor and keep track of SMSC across the whole school.
  • Carry out an initial audit to identify current SMSC strengths and weaknesses.
  • Deliver (or organise the delivery of) SMSC related INSET/CPD sessions and training.
  • Identify advocates or champions who will accelerate SMSC development.
  • Run whole-school assemblies to highlight the importance of SMSC.
  • Help staff identify existing activities within their lessons which deliver SMSC values.
  • Encourage staff to integrate SMSC into their own lesson plans and approaches.
  • Manage any budget which might be allocated to SMSC and report on its spending.
  • Involve the SMT and school governors in regular reviews of activity.
  • Identify and attend conferences and seminars relating to SMSC.
  • Organise school trips, excursions which incorporate SMSC development
  • Arrange external visitors whose activities contribute to SMSC development
  • Purchase, organise and disseminate SMSC resources to teaching staff.
  • Work with organisations or individuals in the community who can help deliver SMSC.
  • Liaise with co-ordinators from other schools to collaborate and share best practice.
  • Develop cross-curricular projects which incorporate SMSC values.
  • Write extracts for the school’s newsletter, blog or website which feature SMSC
  • Engage with parents and carers through questionnaires, surveys or discussion
  • Provide staff, parents and pupils with a mechanism for feedback or suggestions

When the above tasks are carried out successfully by your SMSC Co-ordinator the positive effect on your schools provision.