At St James’ we support the development of all students as Global Catholic citizens through the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) aspects of our curriculum and enrichment programme.

SMSC is at the heart of St James’. The climate and ethos of any school can have a large impact on the development of young people. A positive climate and ethos will see young people develop effective relationships, high levels of tolerance and respect for others, regardless of their different cultures, faiths or races. Students receive many opportunities to experience a range of social settings that enables them to become confident, contribute positively and interact appropriately with others. Different viewpoints are welcomed, and our young people develop their understanding of the differences between right and wrong and consequences of their behaviour and actions. In a positive culture young people are encouraged to be creative and reflect on their own actions and those of others.

At St James’ Catholic High School, we pride ourselves on the opportunities that students have to extend their experiences and understanding of the different elements relating to SMSC.

Spiritual

Spiritual provision for our students forms an important part of our Catholic mission at St. James’. This is achieved by:

  • giving pupils the opportunity to explore values and beliefs, including religious beliefs, and the way in which they impact on peoples’ lives;
  • encouraging pupils to explore and develop what animates themselves and others;
  • giving pupils the opportunity to understand human feelings and emotions, the way they impact on people and how an understanding of them can be helpful;
  • developing a climate or ethos within which all pupils can grow and flourish, respect others and be respected;
  • accommodating difference and respecting the integrity of individuals;
  • promoting teaching styles which:
  • value pupils’ questions and give them space for their own thoughts, ideas and concerns;
  • enable pupils to make connections between aspects of their learning;
  • encourage pupils to relate their learning to a wider frame of reference – for example, asking ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘where’ as well as ‘what’; and
  • monitoring in simple, pragmatic ways, the success of what is provided.

The spiritual provision for students across the curriculum is strong, and there are a large number of extra-curricular opportunities that are open to all students, including retreats, Morning Prayer and participating in liturgies and services throughout the year. Retreats also provide opportunities for students to reflect on their faith and experiences. We are also proud of our Faith in Action project and wider community work.

At the same time, St. James’ is a community where students reflect on their beliefs and perspectives in form time and lessons to find out about other views and faiths. For students both in curricular and extra-curricular activities, St. James’ is a place where enjoyment, learning and creativity go hand in hand.

Here are some ways in which St. James’ students demonstrate their spiritual development:

  • Morning Prayer
  • Liturgies and services
  • Retreats
  • Charitable work – with local, national and international charities
  • Collective worship during assembly time
  • Creativity – Careers Day in CEW

Moral

At St. James’, we know that the moral development of students is at the heart of their learning. In the curriculum, provision is made for students to understand the difference between right and wrong. We encourage moral development by:

  • providing a clear moral code as a basis for behaviour which is promoted consistently through all aspects of the school;
  • promoting racial, religious and other forms of equality;
  • giving pupils opportunities across the curriculum to explore and develop moral concepts and values – for example, personal rights and responsibilities, truth, justice, equality of opportunity, right and wrong;
  • developing an open and safe learning environment in which pupils can express their views and practise moral decision-making;
  • rewarding expressions of moral insights and good behaviour;
  • making an issue of breaches of agreed moral codes where they arise – for example, in the press, on television and the internet as well as in school;
  • modelling, through the quality of relationships and interactions, the principles which they wish to promote – for example, fairness, integrity, respect for persons, pupils’ welfare, respect for minority interests, resolution of conflict, keeping promises and contracts;
  • recognising and respecting the codes and mores of the different cultures represented in the school and wider community;
  • encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their actions; for example, respect for property, care of the environment, and developing codes of behaviour;
  • providing models of moral virtue through literature, humanities, sciences, arts, assemblies and acts of worship;
  • reinforcing the school’s values through images, posters, classroom displays, screensavers, exhibitions, etc; and
  • monitoring in simple, pragmatic ways, the success of what is provided.

Students learn about the law and legal boundaries, and in PSHCE, RE and other subjects they learn about civil and criminal law and how it applies to British citizens. In particular, students are taught about the consequences of their actions, and how they have both rights and responsibilities. Our rewards system prepares students for this by equipping them with a good Attitude To Learning (ATL).  In lessons, and in other extra-curricular activities, students learn how to listen to and respect other people’s points of view.

Here are some ways in which St. James’ students demonstrate their moral development:

  • There is a comprehensive and well planned PSHCE programme that allows all students to develop an understanding of right and wrong in their school life and outside of school – through discussions, debates and education to make informed choices
  • Examples throughout the curriculum of activities where students investigate moral and ethical issues, for example in RE, Science, Geography, History and English
  • Assembly and form time – discussion of themes and issues
  • Rewards system and doing the right thing – half-termly awards, Lower School Presentation Evening, Presentation Evening, Year 11 Prom
  • Whole school Mock General Elections and Referendums
  • Alton Towers Rewards Trip for students who meet the ATL and attendance criteria
  • There is a wide range of extra-curricular activities provided to develop pupil understanding of right and wrong for example visitors and agencies in school during Curriculum Excellence week

Social

At St. James’, we enable students to develop a range of social skills that enable them to develop a lifelong love of learning by:

  • identifying key values and principles on which school and community life is based;
  • fostering a sense of community, with common, inclusive values;
  • promoting racial, religious and other forms of equality;
  • encouraging pupils to work co-operatively;
  • encouraging pupils to recognise and respect social differences and similarities;
  • providing positive corporate experiences – for example, through assemblies, team activities, residential experiences, school productions;
  • helping pupils develop personal qualities which are valued in a civilised society, for example, thoughtfulness, honesty, respect for difference, moral principles, independence, inter-dependence, self-respect;
  • helping pupils resolve tensions between their own aspirations and those of the group or wider society;
  • providing a conceptual and linguistic framework within which to understand and debate social issues;
  • providing opportunities for engaging in the democratic process and participating in community life;
  • providing opportunities for pupils to exercise leadership and responsibility;
  • providing positive and effective links with the world of work and the wider community; and
  • monitoring in simple, pragmatic ways, the success of what is provided

In lessons, students work individually, in pairs and in small groups to gain the ability to work independently and with others. During the year, students also have many opportunities to meet people from other backgrounds, to participate in extra-curricular trips, and to gain experience that will help them in the world of work and careers. Underpinning all of this, students are aware of the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance. Above all else, students become both confident learners and acquire the skills needed to thrive in modern Britain.

Here are some ways in which St. James’ students demonstrate their social development:

  • Working with others in lessons and extra-curricular activities over time
  • Careers education in Years 7-11 and work experience in Year 10
  • Careers Convention and Mock Interviews in Year 10
  • Charity work – St. Ann’s Hospice, the Wellspring, CAFOD
  • Curriculum Excellence week

Cultural

At St. James’, students will learn about the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped, and continue to shape, modern Britain. We do this by:

  • providing opportunities for pupils to explore their own cultural assumptions and values;
  • presenting authentic accounts of the attitudes, values and traditions of diverse cultures, addressing racism and promoting race equality;
  • extending pupils’ knowledge and use of cultural imagery and language;
  • recognising and nurturing particular gifts and talents;
  • providing opportunities for pupils to participate in literature, drama, music, art, crafts and other cultural events and encouraging pupils to reflect on their significance;
  • developing partnerships with outside agencies and individuals to extend pupils’ cultural awareness, for example, theatre, museum, concert and gallery visits, resident artists, foreign exchanges;
  • reinforcing the school’s cultural values through displays, posters, exhibitions, etc;
  • auditing the quality and nature of opportunities for pupils to extend their cultural development across the curriculum; and
  • monitoring in simple, pragmatic ways, the success of what is provided.

Through work in subjects, and a wide range of extra-curricular trips, visits and other activities, students gain an understanding of other faiths and cultures. In PSHCE, RE, Geography, History and other subjects, students learn about the parliamentary system in Britain, and the many people and groups who have fought to build and defend our British values. There is also a wide range of opportunities for students to participate in Art, Music and Drama, through which students come to appreciate the diversity of the world in which they live.

Here are some ways in which St. James’ students demonstrate their cultural development:

  • Many extra-curricular trips – Western Front trips, Iceland trip, ski trip, Manchester trips in History and Geography, Madrid football trip in PE, the Year 8 French and German trip
  • Theatre visits to local and national productions
  • School productions such as The Addams Family in 2020
  • International charity link
  • Choir and orchestra
  • European Day of Languages
  • World Book Day and Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day

“With God all things are possible”

Matthew 19:26

Jesus looked at them and said,
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”

Matthew 19:26