Back in 2014 the Department for Education introduced a statutory duty for schools to promote British Values and SMSC more actively, and to ensure they are taught in schools. This is not something new at Hillcrest Academy. This falls under a greater and even more significant umbrella of SMSC, Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural aspects of life and learning. SMSC and British values are promoted in everything that we do, it is who we are. At our last inspection, SMSC was commended. We are not in fact a school that adopts every contemporary Modern British Value, we consciously refuse to use the value of tolerance and the negative connotations it carries; we do not tolerate, we celebrate and embrace. Our lead Ofsted inspector said: Pupils’ exemplary behaviour contributes substantially to the rapid progress that they make. Respect and tolerance are golden threads that permeate school life. Pupils have a deep understanding of their role in a diverse community. Pupils are confident, resilient and self-motivated. Their highly positive attitude to their learning helps them to achieve very well. Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding is developed very well through the rich curriculum. Pupils are exceptionally well prepared for life in modern Britain.

We feel strongly and are passionate about each and every aspect:

Spirituality is not simply being interested in different faiths or even understanding their individual traits. Religion and faith are at the core of so many of our children’s lives, but spirituality comes from within. We keep pupils’ well-being, mental health and happiness, and that of staff, parents and other stakeholders as a central part of our work.

Moral integrity is crucial to our success, academically and pastorally. Our pupils clearly understand and respect Golden Rules and Positive Discipline, a behaviour approach which above all else promotes and delivers rewards and praise for pupils making the right choices each and every day.

Social skills are critical to our rapid and sustained movement towards a world of relentless ambition and aspiration; we will stop at nothing for the success of our pupils, regardless of their background, perceived social status and international mobility.

C represents Culture, but equally for all at Hillcrest, Community. We are our children and our families, we have been a core part of our community for over a century, and generations have passed through our doors. In the last four years, it is safe to say, that pupils leaving our gates at the end of every day, week, term and year have received the most enriching life experiences, have overcome social barriers, and made us proud by tackling cultural and social stereotypes head-on.

Schemes of curriculum work are carefully planned to create regular opportunities for discussions and study, encompassing all aspects of SMSC and MBV. The values are integral to our long-standing inclusive ethos. Taught parents groups have grown to include mindfulness and well-being, parenting classes and healthy lifestyles-including Pilates.

As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views. Diversity is what we are as a school, it is what makes Hillcrest special. We are immensely proud to be multi-faith, multi-ethnic and multilingual. But, for all that is multiplied, we are proud to be one community.

We recognise the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of our community and the United Kingdom.  We also understand the vital role we have in ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly, or illegally, influence them.

We follow equal opportunities guidance which guarantees that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar. The whole of Hillcrest  is dedicated to preparing pupils for their adult life beyond the formal, examined curriculum and ensuring that it promotes and reinforces SMSC and British values to all its pupils.

We are proud to be an SMSC Quality Mark Silver Award Winner. SMSC is indeed that Golden Thread that runs through all of our work.