SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural)

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) education is an integral part of our school ethos and curriculum. Holbrook School for Autism strongly values the importance of SMSC in preparing students for life beyond school, equipping them with the necessary skills to be understanding and accepting of other beliefs and cultures, to respect the law, to make informed decisions and to participate fully as social citizens in the wider community. Read on to find out what SMSC looks like at Holbrook School for Autism.

We are delighted delighted to announce that as a result of the recent verification, Holbrook School for Autism has been awarded the SILVER level of the National SMSC Quality Mark

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The spiritual development of students is shown by their;

  • ability to be reflective about their own beliefs (religious or otherwise) and perspective on life,
  • knowledge of, and respect for, different people’s faiths, feelings and values,
  • sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them,
  • use of imagination and creativity in their learning,
  • willingness to reflect on their experiences.

What does this look like at Holbrook School for Autism?

Students are encouraged to share their voice in school through regular student surveys and via our student councils on both sites. Students following the Ocean pathway will frequently discuss their own views and the views of others via their learning and as part of their British Values sessions in SMSC.

Respect for others is an integral part of teaching across the school; turn-taking, positive communication and frequent opportunities for group learning encourage students to develop respect for those around them.

Curriculum themes encourage students to learn about themselves (‘Marvellous Me’, ‘Getting to Know You’, ‘Where We Live’) and their locality in addition to the wider world (‘Different Places, Different Faces’, ‘Planet Earth’, ‘Wonders of the World’). Students’ creativity and imagination is fostered through role-play, stories, Art/Design, access to Forest School and via engagement with external companies such as RockSteady which promotes creativity by giving students the opportunity to perform in a band. Students on all pathways have engaged with dance and music workshops and some students may participate in individual dance therapy sessions.


The moral development of students is shown by their:

  • ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives, recognise legal boundaries and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England
  • understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions
  • interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and ability to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues.

What does this look like at Holbrook School for Autism?

Understanding right and wrong is an invaluable skill that prepares students for a fulfilling life beyond school. The concept of right vs. wrong can be a difficult one for some of our students and teaching staff meet this challenge by employing a range of methods such as: social stories, positive behaviour support (including individualised and class reward charts), self-reflection and frequent opportunities to explore feelings/emotions following an event or activity.

Holbrook School for Autism promotes good choices and positive behaviour by recognising student achievements; class assemblies celebrate students with a ‘star of the week’ award, students are rewarded for good attendance and each month students have the opportunity to be nominated as ‘Student of the Month’ and receive a prize. On a daily basis, students receive positive praise for good behaviour, reinforced by individualised and class reward charts. At our Belper site, students can earn reward points to be exchanged weekly at the ‘Rewards Shop’ for a range of prizes.


The social development of students is shown by their;

  • use of a range of social skills in different contexts, for example working and socialising with other students, including those from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds,
  • willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively,
  • acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; they develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.

What does this look like at Holbrook School for Autism?

Social skills are a vital part of students’ development at Holbrook School for Autism, featuring prominently on student ‘My Plans’ as part of their ‘My Communication’ targets.

Students following the Stream and River pathways are supported to communicate with others through the use of Makaton and the Pictoral Exchange Communication System (PECS) and, as aforementioned, via frequent opportunities to practice turn-taking and to work/play as part of a small group. Students following the Ocean pathway learn to appreciate the views of others and develop conversation skills through frequent discussion including reflecting on the daily news, participation in student council and via unstructured play.

All students are given the opportunity to participate weekly in the local community and thus to cooperate with others in the community e.g. by buying something in a shop, saying thank you for a service or asking questions in a workplace. Community visits incorporate an understanding of and appreciation for other cultures and beliefs e.g. through visits to religious buildings/sites.

The school calendar also designates theme days to reinforce the importance of diversity e.g. ‘Discrimination Day’, ‘Diversity Day’ and ‘Holocaust Memorial Day’. The school also encourages celebration of other cultures e.g. Chinese New Year.


The cultural development of students is shown by their;

  • understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that of others,
  • understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures in the school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain,
  • ability to recognise and value the things we share in common across
    cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic communities,
  • knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values and in continuing to develop Britain,
  • willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural opportunities,
  •  interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept and respect diversity. This is shown by their respect and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.

What does this look like at Holbrook School for Autism?

Holbrook School for Autism is dedicated to widening students’ experience of the world though participation in the local community, via frequent external visitors to school and through our diverse curriculum which recognises the importance of appreciating diversity and uniqueness.

Ocean pathway students discuss diversity as a concept and its importance via British Values sessions. Students across the school are taught to respect others, to listen to others and to engage in multi-cultural opportunities as outlined in curriculum them days, assemblies and through community participation.


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