Importance of being spiritual

3rd September 2004 at 01:00
As a former chairman of governors of a Church of England school I share Ceinwick Chick's concern that the teaching of values such as compassion, respect and responsibility has too often in the past been restricted to faith schools (TES, Letters, August 13).

It is therefore encouraging that in its guidance on promoting and evaluating pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development published earlier this year the Office for Standards in Education has acknowledged how crucial this is for individual pupils and for society as a whole.

Spiritual development is defined in the guidance as "the development of insights, principles, beliefs, attitudes and values which guide and motivate us", moral development as "about the building, by pupils, of a framework of moral values which regulates their personal behaviour", social development "about young people working effectively with each other and participating successfully in the community as a whole", and cultural development "about pupils understanding their own culture and other cultures".

As Ofsted's guidance makes clear, schools that are encouraging pupils'

spiritual development are likely to be "encouraging pupils to reflect and learn from reflection, developing a climate or ethos within which all pupils can grow and flourish, respect others and be respected". SMSC development is seen as distinct from religious education, and will require times for reflection as already regularly included in acts of collective worship.

Rev John D Brown

3 Manor Way

Middleton-on-Sea

West Sussex

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