Skip to content ↓

Copleston High School

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Ethos

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) Ethos


The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students underpins all our aims. We make sure that we do all we can to help our students develop into self-assured, confident, happy, positive young people that are ready to be confident citizens ready for the wider world. Students need opportunities to talk about their feelings and justify them in both informal and formal settings. They need to be given responsibility and trust to develop their confidence. Pupils are encouraged to question things and to balance right and wrong. At Copleston, we develop these traits by celebrating achievement and encouraging pupils to have the confidence to undertake difficult tasks and enjoy a wide range of experiences.

This dimension to every student’s learning is promoted, both within lessons and in extra-curricular activities. The school has a bespoke enrichment form time programme- The Base and The Apex (in Sixth Form) that addresses various themes from climate change to personal finance, gender, self-esteem, wellbeing and beyond. 

In addition, our year 9 Copleston Culture lessons encourage students to read a variety of topical novels that are disucssed and the complex themes such as migration, discrimination, stereotyping and class systems are debated. 

Please see below some of the activities that have helped informed and develop our students in recent years or as part of our current curriculum:


  • Year 7 students study the world’s six major religions and the Holy Books Torah, Quran and the Bible
  • PSE lessons in Year 7 explore healthy lifestyles. Students are encouraged to reflect on what the world will look like if obesity and global warming continue
  • Religious diversity is explored in PSE, RE, Art, Maths and Music lessons and celebrated on the vast array of posters around the school
  • Pupils have opportunities to reflect on learning experiences both in and out of lessons. For example, team talks following sports matches to reflect on how the game was played and agree the next steps; a reflective log in music lessons where students assess what they have done well and identify the next steps to make progress; audio blogging in History to create a speech on life expectancy and how this has changed over time- an opportunity to listen back, make changes and re- record.
  • In Science lessons, students study various topics that contribute to their perspective on life

A hand in front of a light, representing spirituality


  • Looking at right and wrong: Year 8 students working on a Holocaust project investigating “How forgiving are we?”
  • In Year 9 Religious Studies lesson, students study the sensitive topic of euthanasia
  • Students show an interest in and respect for other people's feelings and values. For example in Science lessons where students may not wish to watch a dissection of the heart, they can discuss how this impacts on others. We would expect all feelings to be appreciated, and accepted, in a mature manner.
  • Within lessons, students investigate and offer reasoned views about moral and ethical issues. For example in a Year 10 morning registration session, students respond to “Be healthy – say no to smoking”.
  • In Sociology, students learn about ethnicity stereotypical behaviours and self-fulfilling prophecies
  • In History, students study the impact of how the Germans treated different sections of society
  • Looking at the Jamie Bulger case in Sociology helps students empathise with parental grief and the psychological effects of child bereavement
  • Fundraising activities always have a high profile within the school. Sixth Form students were recently involved with a “mayonnaise project” where students and teachers bought a jar of mayonnaise and then returned the jars full of loose change, this was a project set up in conjunction with the local Rotary club in support of their “End Polio Now” worldwide campaign. Regularly students throughout the school have been involved in raising money for Comic Relief including: cake sales, car washes, sponsored sporting events, Harlem Shake to name but a few.
  • Assemblies have raised topics such as: eSafety, anti-bullying led by the Senior Student Leaders in the Sixth Form, and other areas such as gender equality, harmful sexual behaviours, race, diversity and cyber bullying..

A sign with arrow pointing one way for right and the other for wrong


  • In Year 9 History, students study the topic of Nazi rule during WWII. Students work collaboratively with one another to explore the issues raised. 
  • There is a willingness to participate in a variety of social settings. In Year 7 English for example, classes have the opportunity to learn in a variety of settings. Expectations for learning are carefully transferred from classroom, to ICT suite, to the Learning Resource Centre.
  • A willingness also to participate in lessons in different ways. In a recent pupil feedback session, many explained how random name generators and hands down questioning, as seen in our Learning Journey, encourages all students to put forward ideas and helps everyone to participate. 
  • Speed dating in Maths lessons allows students to talk and work with those they may not normally share ideas with
  • In History, projects around the Native Americans allow independent study as well as a collaborative approach where outcomes include Minecraft games, a life-size tepee, Native American food cooked with traditional ingredients, Barbie dolls dressed in traditional costumes
  • Team work in PE lessons helps to develop leadership skills as well as a team work ethic
  • The warm relationships enjoyed by students with their teachers is commented on by all visitors to the school
  • Students talk about group work overwhelmingly positively:
  • There are lots of opportunities for self and peer assessment which help students to be resourceful and resilient. ‘Brain, Book, Buddy and Boss’ used in Humanities to encourage self-reliance and resilience.
  • The Christmas Carol Concert sees Year 7 invite the Year 6 feeder primary and students from the local support school.

A scrabble board with social words such as people and connection


  • The cultural environment of the school is a warm and caring one created so that students may thrive
  • Students' successes are celebrated in as many ways as possible; posters around the school, achievement assemblies and celebration evenings all help to show students how they are valued as individuals. It is always heart-warming to see students celebrating the achievements of their peers.
  • Displays celebrate and value both academic and extra-curricular achievements throughout the school.
  • What’s On Wednesdays (WoW) activities, sporting, musical, creative, academic pursuits give students an element of personal choice in their learning and extra-curricular activities
  • The Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) Department participates annually in the “Have Your Say” Competition where students communicate with other local schools
  • The PE Department encourage opportunities for girls in what may be perceived as typically male dominated sports for example football and rugby.
  • Students from Copleston have been successful in winning the local heats of the Rotary Club Debating competition 'Youth Speaks'. This has given groups of year 8 and 9 students the opportunity to debate against other schools (both state and public). Students giving feedback talked of the benefits for them personally as including: building confidence in presenting in front of their peers and adults; and how this directly impacted on their ability to present in learning situations back at school. 
  • Every year trips are offered to students across the school. Some of our trips are residential, with trips to the First World War Battlefields in Belgium, water sports activities in France and other residential trips. Theatre trips, museums, concerts and visits to places of interest were also offered. (For more information, please see the Trips web page)
  • Assemblies will regularly cover themes that share cultural differences- every year we celebrate languages in the European Day of Languages Day held on 26th September.

A globe held in a child's hands