National SMSC Gold Quality Mark Award

We are extremely proud to have been awarded the National SMSC Gold Quality Mark Award, this was confirmed by the Quality Assurance Panel on the 7July 2023.

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development allows for the students to incorporate self-growth across the whole curriculum. This award acknowledges the raise in profile of QEHS in the community. We are so pleased to have achieved this great award! We knew we were making a difference to our students and now we have been recognised at a national level by being awarded the Gold Level of achievement.

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development is the over-arching umbrella that encompasses personal development across the whole curriculum. SMSC is essential to the academic progress of pupils. It doesn’t happen in isolation – it saturates through the school and is linked to everything the school does, its ethos (Tradition, Achievement and Opportunity)and attitude (Learning to Learn, Behaviour for Learning and Leadership for Learning). It needs to be supported and articulated by school leaders and governors and should be visible in all day-to-day decisions and relationships.

The report highlighted the following when speaking with parents and Governors:

The parents and Governors to whom I spoke were also effusive in their praise for the quality of education and opportunities that the school provides. The governors clearly have a strong, strategic perspective on the importance of SMSC in terms of the school, culture, and outcomes for pupils. Parents also commented on the excellent communication and compassionate support that the school has provided in moments of distress and success. They are justifiably proud of their children, but also excited about the opportunities that the school provides for learning within, and personal development beyond the classroom. One suggested that: “The staff are excellent, nothing is ever too much trouble” and another “They get the balance between educational attainment wider personal, pastoral support just right”.  

All areas of the curriculum contribute to SMSC development. Some of this will occur as a result of informal, opportunistic or accidental occurrences, but it cannot be left to chance – it needs to be the foundation of well-planned learning, supported by the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of staff, enabling students and the adults who work with them, to flourish.

The quality assurance panel and verification visit highlighted a number of strengths of our school's SMSC development:

  • The school’s clear vision for SMSC is reflected in the aims and core values, which are prominently displayed around the school, but also, more importantly, understood, and reflected by staff and students.
  • A significant amount of work has been done to map SMSC across all aspects of the curriculum and beyond. This has resulted in an ‘underground map’, which helps staff and students alike, identify where SMSC is happening and how different aspects of provision interlink and contribute to support each other.
  • The PSHE curriculum has been updated to provide even better support for the statutory components of RSHE and an adapted provision tailored to meet the needs of QEHS students. The good work that has been done here has been recognised by the Local Authority in the most recent ‘core visit report’ (June 2023).
  • The school has also made a significant investment in the ‘Leadership for Learning’ and the ‘Learner Standards’ which gives students responsibility for behaviour, leadership, learning, and mental health and well-being which also supports initiatives, including subject ambassadors, student counsellors, and sports leaders.
  • This is supported by a strong ‘house’ system which provides opportunities for a very diverse program of extracurricular activities. This creates, for most students, a strong sense of belonging, but also enables them to become confident and resilient citizens as part of the character education provision.