At Meadlands we believe that preparation for future life includes the nurture of understanding, empathy and compassion for others. We believe that Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development is a golden thread running throughout the school, tracking back to our ‘Work Hard & Be Kind’ ethos. This is owned by everyone and demonstrated by leadership at all levels, every day.
In school, we promote SMSC through a variety of experiences and lessons. We make ‘real’ space for spiritual learning through a discrete RE curriculum and, every Wednesday, assembly time is focused on religion and reflection, teaching pupils about a variety of festivals and celebrations. All year groups attend a workshop at our local Church, St Andrews, and Reverend Alice Pettit frequently visits Meadlands to lead an assembly. In addition, Key Stage 2 visit a place of worship, so by the end of Yr6 there is a breadth in understanding of a number of different religions in our country. These visits include the following:
In school our Muslim pupils also lead workshops and assemblies, teaching their peers about ‘Being a young Muslim in Britain today’.
Our annual International Week has SMSC at its core. In 2018/19, the children learned about the 12 International Sustainable Developmental Goals (please come and visit our school and take a look at the hall display for each class pledge). The outcome of this was a wider understanding of citizenship and global issues. Following international week, pupils requested a plastic-free Christmas Fair, undertook assemblies about plastic and sea pollution and about deforestation and the importance of recycling – all pupil-led.
Pupils also vote on a school charity for the year. In 2018/19 they chose Momentum (a child health charity) and Battersea Dogs Home. Miss Taunton leads workshops on both charities throughout the year, with visits from representatives during assemblies.
What's more, to share the cultures and histories of our families, we run a VIP morning in which our parents bring experiences into school. Pupils have been involved with making traditional Ethiopian biscuits; Afghanistan design and dress; and Polish language lessons, amongst many other things. This is very much a speaking and listening event so, while reflections are not recorded, their impact is seen and felt in community spirit and growing the pupil’s understanding of one another.
The school has very a strong relationship with a local charity RUILS, which supports independent living for people with disabilities. RUILS volunteers visit each year to lead on assemblies and workshops for KS2. We repay this kindness by hosting a Christmas carol concert and tea party for local friends who are supported by RUILS here at school.
Ham has a strong community spirit and we work with local groups and respond to key events happening and impacting upon our families. In 2018 the school took part in two events commemorating WW1, this coincided with assemblies at Meadlands where pupils learned WW1 songs and the reason why we wear poppies in November (which are always sold to the children here in school). Meadlands also celebrates the UN International Day of Peace with visitors leading an assembly and teaching pupils the significance of the white poppy.
We are proud of our moral purpose. The school motto and mantra are embedded in our day-to-day life and we celebrate a different value each month in our achievement assembly. This culminates in our annual Kindness Week, when pupils are given opportunities to understand what kindness and compassion mean and apply this to their own thinking and behaviour. Amongst other things, they carry out acts of kindness in the community, visit a local elderly group, write and post letters to elderly relatives and consider ways that they can help others to make life a little jollier.
Wonder Writing Days have a multiple purpose; to engage pupils in writing, but also enthuse debate over a moral/philosophical question. In our last wonder day, children created protest posters and placards, debated in class, wrote fantastic articles and letters arguing their case — fundamental British values of law and freedom of speech in action!
We engage with resources and opportunities beyond our school gates. A recent example is a collaboration with local specialist secondary provision, Malden Oaks. Over the past term, a group of their KS3 pupils has visited Meadlands each week to read with groups of children, to help achieve their bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. The impact we have seen in our school is a slow growing understanding of working with teenagers, particularly those with additional needs.
In addition to this, we have regular visits throughout the year from local services: Police, Health, Social Care – and the charity sector (including Samaritans and NSPCC) to lead assemblies. Kingston Hospital led first aid training for Yrs 5 and 6 and the school’s SENDCo has developed a ‘pop up shop’ with the school nurse presenting sessions for parents around key issues in our community. The first one focused on anxiety in young people.
Democracy is also woven throughout the curriculum with opportunities for pupils to vote and elect through the choices that they are given. Some examples of this include Yr6 (election of two nominations for Pupil Parliament), whole school (voting in of House Captains), and the chance to vote for music played at lunch time and assemblies. Additionally, Yr6 visits Lavender Court Rooms in Clapham.
The new PSHE curriculum, introduced in 2018/19, can be seen on the PSHE curriculum page.
So what next?
As detailed in the SDP, Meadlands Senior Leaders are focusing heavily upon a broad and balanced curriculum during the course of this academic year, with the development of our Curriculum Intent/Offer. Following this, subject leaders will be completing a number of mini projects:
Curriculum assessment in non-core subjects (by which a review of standards, quality of learning, progression of skills as well as what ‘expected’ looks like in different year groups for different subjects)
We expect to see SMSC woven specifically into PSHE, RE, Assembly and aspects of Literacy and through our annual International Week. We are avoiding the ‘everywhere and nowhere’ by ensuring that the learning in these key subjects is substantial and significant. See points above!
We are developing an early transition programme so that our EHCP pupils in Year 5 are supported through the application process into Year 7 and our Year 6 children are well prepared emotionally and academically for the move into senior school.
Development of a whole school prayer. Something which the children can develop and can be used as reflection time at the end of our assemblies.