PSHE, SMSC & British Values

Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural (SMSC) and British Values (BV) Development in Geography

Spiritual education in Geography at QEHS inspires awe and wonder at the physical and human world in our students. Understanding that all life is linked together to make Earth the only known inhabited planet in the universe, as well as the need to protect this unique habitat for future generations, is an important part of the curriculum. Students reflect on the long and short term impacts of human activity, noting the rights and wrongs, and linking this to stewardship of the Earth.

Moral education in Geography provides opportunities for students to recognise that development takes place within a global context and that local decisions affect, and are affected by, decisions and processes in other countries. Geographical study allows students to explore moral issues through a range of geographical issues enabling the promotion of a moral code.

Social education in Geography involves the study of real people in different societies. In looking at their own locality and others around the world, students’ sense of identity and community can be strengthened. Within the classroom, honesty and thoughtfulness is celebrated, independence and self-respect are promoted and class debate and discussion are regularly encouraged. Geography at QEHS promotes co-operative working both within the classroom and whilst completing fieldwork. We ensure grouping in lessons promotes collaboration between students of all abilities.

Cultural education involves understanding different societies and is an integral part of Geographical study. It provides ample opportunities for multi-cultural education through recognising commonalities and differences within traditions and belief systems across the planet. Any form of discrimination within the classroom is addressed and challenged through discussion and informed debate.

British Values education in Geography encourages pupils to explore how places have been changed by the contexts and processes that have shaped them. It helps students to understand the complex ways in which communities and societies are linked and to appreciate the diversity of people’s backgrounds. Geography also helps pupils to understand society better. Appreciating diversity encourages positive relationships and shared values. It promotes tolerance and partnership, within local and wider communities.

Examples of Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural (SMSC) and British Values (BV) Development in Geography include:

  • Spiritual education; inspire awe and wonder at the world through topics such as ecosystems and plate tectonics


    • Moral education; explore the impacts of decisions at a variety of scales, e.g. trade versus aid, climate change and fragile ecosystems
  • Social education; students investigate how societies function at a variety of levels through a selection of case studies, for example the UK, China, the USA and a variety of African nations


    • Cultural education; students’ understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage are studied in a variety of topics related to the UK, e.g. settlement and migration
  • British Values education; encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes through decision-making activities and debates, e.g. public enquiries into coastal defences and new settlement construction


SMSC and British Values in History

History is heavily focussed on people and their relationships and as such we are in a great position to contribute to students’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education and British Values. In every lesson, students are expected either to consider the needs and experiences of others, or their own personal responses to events, problems and changes. We also encourage students to discuss and debate controversy outside the classroom. At times this is in a formal setting like educational visits or homework at KS4 and ISTs at KS3, but also we expect the study of History to affect positively the way students live their daily lives. We encourage young people to enquire, consider and question in lessons and beyond.


Spiritual Development in History

A good sense of curiosity is central to the study of History at this is strongly encouraged in class. Lessons adapt according to students’ current knowledge and thirst for more. Recently, a simulation on World War One led students to ask why the war started and to work out why so many countries became involved.

Spiritual development is encouraged regularly by providing students with opportunities to appreciate intangible concepts. The idea of truth is central to all History lessons that use sources. The nature of historical truth based on personal memoir was particularly explored following a visit by where students heard from and spoke with a Holocaust survivor who had come to Britain via Kinder Transport.

A strong feature of History lessons is the encouragement pupils receive from each other as well as from their teachers in relating their learning to a wider frame of reference by persistently asking ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ The introduction to the study of History in Year 7 begins with an object handling session which encourages them to work out the identity of a mystery person.

A good understanding of the importance of values and beliefs is well developed during KS3 History through a number of case studies from why Henry VIII split from Rome to the Civil War with an analysis of Cromwell – hero or villain?

Spiritual development is encouraged regularly by providing pupils opportunities to appreciate intangible concepts. The idea of truth is central to all History lessons that use sources. Order and beauty, and differing interpretations of these, also form a part of GCSE when assessing Nazi government and propaganda.

A sense of empathy is consistently extended in lessons. History demands an understanding of others, such as that of women in WW1 during Year 11 and the experiences of Black Americans during their struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s and 60s America.

Cultural appreciation and understanding is fundamental to learning in History across all key stages. Students are presented with authentic accounts of cultures as diverse as Ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt (GCSE Ancient History) and Vietnam (Year 11).

The contribution of different cultures to human development and progress is also explored and studied, especially in the Year 7 and 11 (Ancient History) which considers the role of the Christian Church, the Muslim World and Ancient cultures had on the development of medicine and warfare for example.

Moral Development in History

History also lends itself well to supporting the moral education and development of young people. Whole school assemblies led by the History staff encourage students to reflect on their personal values, principles and actions, in the light of historical events and commemorations. This year, this was strongly examined in two trips to the First World Battlefields: one was the IOE government funded trip that was attended by two Year 9 students and a member of staff which traced several themes and moral questions. We then based a lot of the research and lessons learned from this trip to form the basis of our own Key Stage 3 trip to the Battlefields.

Moral questions form a key part of many of the modules students undertake in History. For example, students discuss and attempt to come to a consensus on who was more to blame for the Holocaust; Hitler, the Nazi Party or the German people in Year 9. Notions of right and wrong were explored in this session and throughout the course as students grapple with the nature of conformity and complicity. A popular case study with students is to look at First World War soldiers who were shot for cowardice and they focus particularly on the case of Harry Farr.

Social Development in History

Social issues and the needs of different groups of people are also common themes that are explicitly recognised on a regular basis, such as in the study of the experiences of women in Britain during the 19thand 20th centuries, covered in GCSE History.

The position of African Americans is thoroughly debated in Year 11 and forms the basis of our students’ Controlled Assessment in GCSE Modern History.

Students’ ability to exercise leadership and demonstrate responsibility is promoted through team learning activities in many History lessons. Sharing understanding, knowledge and ideas is crucial in order that students make informed, well-reasoned arguments that are based on fact. The staff regularly employ a range of strategies and activities to facilitate these discussions and collaborations.

The Year 11 History curriculum demands an understanding of the British political system and Liberal Reforms. Students regularly compare the key issues and debates of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as education, public health and democracy, with our concerns today.

Cultural Development in History

Much of the History curriculum in year 9 and at GCSE explicitly teaches students an appreciation of the influences that have shaped their own cultural heritage in Britain. The two World Wars and the key changes brought about by these events are key. For example, a debate about the ‘Dunkirk spirit’ engages students in the nature of Britishness.

Our annual Year 9 ISTs about a significant individual also encourages students to reflect on their own cultural assumptions and values.

The History curriculum offers students opportunities to express their opinions and communicate their knowledge in varied ways from Years 7 to 11, including artistic and cultural forms. Homework about the nature of trench warfare and Castle development have taken the form of artwork and models and the role of individuals through the use of social media and our “History Handbags”.

British values

British Values have been defined as being the following: · Democracy · The rule of law · Individual liberty · Mutual respect · Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. Within the teaching of History, there are a number of regular opportunities in which to reflect upon this and develop these ideas. Many of these have parallels to those areas covered above in SMSC.


Magna Carta, Peasants’ Revolt. (Year 7), Tudor and Stuart monarchs, Civil War and Interregnum, Bill of Rights. (Year 8). Votes for Women. Inter-War period – Democracy v Dictatorship, systems of voting, Political Compass. (Year 9). Germany Depth Study – Germany Democracy (Weimar) and Dictatorship 1933-1955-Nazi rule and post war reconstruction. The Cold War and Post-Cold War. British History Study on Power, Monarchy and Democracy 1000s-2014 (GCSE).

The Rule of Law

Monarchy, power and control-see above. (Key Stage 3). Methods of Suffragists/Suffragettes (context of law breaking). Case Studies from League of Nations, breaking of Treaty of Versailles and impact, British History Study on Power, Monarchy and Democracy. The Cold War, Impact of War on the public (DORA), British Domestic Issues 1918-1951-how governments dealt with economic and social issues in the inter war years and after World War. Two Germany Study- dictatorship under Nazi rule.

Individual Liberty

Comparison of life for different social groups, Impact of Black Death on life. Role of religion and power of Church and State. (Year 7). The Slave Trade and abolition. (Year 8). Arguments for and against female suffrage, WWI and WWII – conscientious objectors, war time executions, discussion of Political Compass. Impact of wars on society – extension of government control. (Year 9). Case Studies from League of Nations, Cuba, Vietnam, Afghanistan, The Holocaust and the Cold War. (GCSE)

Mutual Respect and Tolerance

The Crusades (Year 7), moral/economic arguments for/against slavery, abolition (Year 8), treatment of Jews by the Nazis, mechanics of Holocaust and why it was allowed to develop. (Year 9). Germany Depth Study, The Cold War. Fukuyama’s view on the Post-Cold War World (GCSE)


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Newsletter Subscription