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12 January, 2015

'British values'? The citizenship curriculum has it covered

The Department for Education has told all schools to teach about 'British values' and has produced advice for doing so through SMSC. But what it's forgotten to tell them is that it has already given them purpose-built tools for the job.

Ofsted will assess ‘British values' both through the curriculum and through SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural development). And Ofsted now pays a lot of attention to SMSC when deciding whether a school is 'outstanding', 'inadequate' or somewhere in between.

But while teaching 'British values' may seem a tall order, never fear: schools have the tools to cover much of it already.

School leaders often overlook the citizenship curriculum because the Government does too, but it's still there for you.

Citizenship has been on the statutory secondary curriculum since 2002; there's even a GCSE and A level in it. And it was purpose-built for exactly this sort of exploration and learning.

Citizenship is perfect for underpinning SMSC. For example, exploring human rights and our political and legal systems through the taught citizenship curriculum goes a long way to learning 'the difference between right and wrong' and 'the consequences of behaviour'.

So, if schools dust down their citizenship curriculum, their provision for SMSC and British values could really take off.

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