“There are two educations. One should teach you how to make a living and the other how to live.” JT Adams
Our approach to all aspects of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development [SMSC] is central to the School’s core purpose of instilling, in all our students, an understanding of moral and social responsibility so that they are able to develop into empathetic, positive members of society. Our aim is, therefore, an education that provides our students with opportunities to explore and develop their own values, whilst recognising that those of others may differ; not just to follow the crowd, but to be able to make up their own minds and be ready to accept responsibility for their actions. Beliefs, spiritual awareness, high standards of personal behaviour, including a positive caring attitude towards other people, an understanding of others’ social and cultural traditions and an appreciation of the diversity and richness of other cultures are all critical skills and dispositions that we nurture, encourage and develop through SMSC and wider curriculum.
Students are encouraged to strive for academic excellence and cultivate a spirit of open and shared enquiry whilst developing individual potential and qualities of character, thus enabling them to make a positive contribution to the world. Our mission statement and the School’s focus on developing the Hestonian Values of respect, equality, resilience, ambition and honesty, highlight this commitment.
Religious belief is important to many members of our multi-faith School community and we promote an understanding of spiritual matters and respect for different faiths. All students study Religious Education, through which respect and tolerance for different faiths is promoted. In addition, the Assembly Programme provides students with an opportunity to reflect, according to their individual beliefs, on the weekly theme.
Visitors constantly comment on the respect and understanding students show for the range of spiritual beliefs represented within our community.
The Hestonian Values of respect, equality, resilience, ambition and honesty are the foundation values upon which our School community is built. Furthermore, through the Growth Mindset philosophy which underpins our approach to learning, students gain an understanding of the importance of being reflective about their behaviours, both in the classroom and in different contexts.
Our students are able to recognise the difference between right and wrong and apply this understanding in the choices they make. Restorative work with students, enables them to understand the consequences of their behaviour and actions.
Examples of our work in this area include Safe Drive, Stay Alive; assemblies on making the right moral choices, the First Give Project and the PSHE curriculum. In addition, all curriculum subjects provide a wealth of opportunities to explore moral choices.
Our students and staff join us from a wide range of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. We learn and work side by side in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect. British Values are at the centre of what is taught and learned. More specifically, our students’ social awareness is developed through the Assembly and Tutor Programmes; the PSHE curriculum which includes projects like First Give; the Debate Programme; the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, supporting various charitable causes; participation in the Jack Petchey Award Scheme and Speak Out Challenge and through participation in the National Citizenship Scheme.
The social cohesion and warm relationships between students, irrespective of ethnic or religious backgrounds, are regularly remarked upon by visitors to the School. Our recent Challenge Partner external review of the School commented:
‘Students and teachers enjoy very harmonious relationships in the classroom and there is a positive rapport established, adding to the high engagement. Students are treated as equals but there remains a high degree of mutual respect.’
The British Value of democracy is reinforced through a vibrant School Student Council and the Debate Programme.
Developing Cultural Capital in our students is evident in the wide range of activities and opportunities within our curriculum and extra-curricular provision. Our students demonstrate enthusiasm for the ‘Arts for All’ curriculum, Dance and Drama.
Special events, such as World Book Day, Super Learning Days, the annual Cultural Fusion Show and Heston’s Got Talent all contribute to creating a vibrant cultural life. In addition, a wide range of trips are offered annually, with visits to museums, art galleries, concerts, theatre and sports events.