SMSC stands for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development.

At Highcliffe Primary, we recognise that the personal development of pupils, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, plays a significant part in their ability to learn and achieve. We, therefore, aim to provide an education that provides children with opportunities to explore and develop their own values and beliefs, spiritual awareness, high standards of personal behaviour, a positive caring attitude towards other people, an understanding of  social and cultural traditions and an appreciation of the diversity and richness of other cultures.  

Spiritual Development

As a school community we aim to provide opportunities for pupils to:

·         Build self-esteem and non-material well-being;

·         Develop the capacity for critical and independent thought;

·         Express and discuss feelings,  beliefs, values and response to personal experiences;

·         Experience moments of stillness and reflection;

·         Form and maintain positive and satisfying relationships;

·         Reflect on, consider and celebrate the wonders and mysteries of life.

Moral Development

As a school community we aim to provide opportunities for pupils to:

·         Distinguish between right and wrong;

·         Take initiative and act responsibly, with consideration for others;

·         Listen and respond appropriately to the views of others;

·         Gain the confidence to cope with setbacks and to learn from mistakes;

·         Reflect on the consequences of their actions;

·         Apologise and to forgive - themselves and others;

·         Show respect for the environment.

Social Development

As a school community we aim to provide opportunities for pupils to:

·         Display a sense of belonging and an increasing willingness to participate;

·         Make an active contribution to democratic processes;

·         Develop an understanding of individual and group identity;

·         Begin to understand the place they have within society and the role they need to play;

·         Develop their compassion for others in society;

·         Take initiative on wider social issues and establish ways they can help on an individual, local, national and global scale.

Cultural Development

As a school community we aim to provide opportunities for pupils to:

·         Recognise the values and richness of cultural diversity in Britain and how this influences individuals and society;

·         Recognise and respect world faiths and beliefs, and understand the impact they have upon culture;

·         Develop an understanding of Britain’s local, national, European and global dimensions.


At Highcliffe, we offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities and opportunities for all children.

Morning and Lunchtime Clubs

We run morning football clubs twice a week and lunch time clubs every day – football with the coaches outside, and volley ball and basketball inside. Choir and Times Tables Rockstars clubs also take place each week during lunch. We run a family Book and Breakfast each Friday.

After School Clubs

After school we run clubs five nights a week.

For Key Stage 1 we run a Book and a Biscuit club which encourages a love of stories and reading.  We also run a Busy Builders club to encourage budding young builders and engineers to practise their construction skills.

For Key Stage 2 children we run French, Maths, Hockey, Performing Arts, Cricket and Netball Clubs.

Educational Visits and Awareness Days

Educational day trips linked to curriculum content are taken throughout the year for every year group.  We have strong links with our local church and visit different places of worship to support the understanding of different faiths and cultures. The school also supports a wide range of charities across the year, as well as taking part in awareness days, to ensure that our children are fully inclusive of the differences represented in our school. They know that we are all different, but all equal and that we celebrate this.

Sporting Trips

The children have also had the opportunity to go on trips to football, ice hockey and basket ball matches at weekends, run by staff over the past year.

Residential Trips

We offer residential trips for children from Year 4 to Y6 to Whitby, Carlton Outdoor Centre and Edinburgh respectively.

Representing Highcliffe

The children have been invited regularly to represent Highcliffe in our choir and in sporting teams. Our performing arts children have taken part in a recent dance festival and have performed for our wider school community.

School Council work in the local community

Our school council are active members of the community, with regular litter picking sessions. Last year, they lined a nearby street with bird boxes.

Through our Eco Schools initiative, the children are being taught to appreciate and take responsibility for their local environment and a group of children enjoyed their bird watching session recently.




Our early years setting follows the curriculum as outlined in the 2017 statutory framework of the EYFS.

The EYFS framework includes 7 areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected. However, 3 areas known as the prime areas are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.

The prime areas are:

Communication and language

Physical development

Personal, social and emotional development

The prime areas are strengthened and applied through 4 specific areas:



Understanding the world

Expressive arts and design

At Highcliffe we believe that children should be given the opportunity to be creative through all areas of learning. Adults support children’s thinking and help them make connections by showing interest, offering encouragement, clarifying ideas and asking open ended questions.


Characteristics of Effective Learning

We ensure that our environment and delivery of the curriculum incorporates the three characteristics of effective teaching and learning:

Playing and exploring - children will have opportunities to investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’. 

“Children’s play reflects their wide ranging and varied interests and preoccupations. In their play children learn at their highest level. Play with peers is important for children’s development.”

Through play, our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. They practise and build up ideas, learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems.

Active learning - children will have time and space to concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy their achievements.

“Children learn best through physical and mental challenges. Active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve children for sustained periods.”

Active learning occurs when children are motivated and interested. Children need some independence and control over their learning. As children develop their confidence, they learn to make decisions. It provides children with a sense of satisfaction as they take ownership of their learning.

Creating and thinking critically - we encourage and support children to have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

“When children have opportunities to play with ideas in different situations and with a variety of resources, they discover connections and come to new and better understandings and ways of doing things. Adult support in this process enhances their ability to think critically and ask questions.”

Children should be given the opportunity to be creative through all areas of learning. Adults can support children’s thinking and help them make connections by showing interest, offering encouragement, clarifying ideas and asking open ended questions.


Planning is carried out by teaching staff who hold weekly meetings to ensure consistency and progression across Nursery and Reception. It is important that we have a designated time to come together as a team to come up with next steps (not activities) and then theme them around current interests/topics.Staff plan activities and experiences for children that enable children to develop and learn effectively. In order to do this, practitioners working with the youngest children are expected to focus strongly on the 3 prime areas.

Staff also take into account the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience. Where a child may have a special educational need or disability, staff consider whether specialist support is required, linking with relevant services from other agencies, where appropriate.

In planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners reflect on the different ways that children learn and include these in their practice.


Teaching and Learning

 Babies and Young children are experiencing and learning in the here and now, not storing up their questions until tomorrow or next week. It is in that moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest – the ‘teachable moment’ – that the skillful adult makes a difference. By using this cycle on a moment by moment basis, the adult will always be alert to individual children (observation), always thinking about what it tells us about the child’s thinking (assessment), and always ready to respond by using appropriate strategies at the right moment to support children’s well-being and learning (planning for the next moment).

(Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2009:22-23)

An Enabling Indoor Environment –

The environment supports children to be fully engaged in purposeful play of their own choice and interest. The outdoor and indoor environments allow for learning in all areas of development, but the two environments do not mirror each other. The indoor environment is the ideal place for children to be calm (and we enforce this requirement firmly and consistently), engaging in activities which require small equipment and working with resources that will not survive the outdoor elements.

In the Nursery class, the children choose where to go and what to do from the moment they arrive – they initiate their own learning and adults join them and support them in their interests.

In the Reception class the children engage in fine and gross motor activities (based on their individual needs) upon their arrival at school.

Across EYFS in all areas, the resources are available and accessible to the children at all times. The areas are clear, stocked and tidy at the start of the day:-the tables and carpet areas are free of equipment but the resources are available next to these areas. We believe this allows children to be in control of their own learning. They are able to select the area in which to play, the resources to use in that area and what to do with them. Obviously their choices are limited by the areas and resources available and it is therefore crucial to have engaging, high-quality, and open ended resources. It is also a requirement to have areas that are well-stocked, tidy, clearly labelled (with picture/word or shadows) and arranged to allow optimum access. Shadowing and photographing resources supports our children to be independent when tidying up. The environment is constantly reviewed and reflected upon to see which areas are proving to be productive and which need altering. We review our provision in terms of levels of involvement. If an area or a resource is not engaging children in purposeful play, then we remove it or change it.

With regard to role play, we ensure that there is always a “home corner” (either indoors or outside) as this is what is familiar to the children - This is where they can practise being the adults that they know (and in doing so, develop the vital life skill of empathy).


When thinking about Teaching and Learning across EYFS, the mantra is PROCESS NOT END RESULT.


“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”  Fred Rogers


In Nursery we have adopted a ‘Planning in moment’ style of teaching which incorporates a strong focus on capturing the interest of the child or children in the present moment. We aim to offer an environment that enables enables child-initiated play in order to capture the moment of engagement. Careful observation by staff is key to utilising the approach. ‘Planning in the Moment’ is broken down into three stages:

The Child’s Spark – This is when the child first shows an interest in something. There should be an air of fascination around the object and concentration in what they are now doing.

The Teachable Moment – The teacher will notice this and approach the child. This is the opportunity to extend their interest, by asking open ended questions, engaging in sustained shared thinking and considering ways to apply this interest to other options within the environment.

The Documentation – At a later date, we document the observation. We include the spark, the teachable moment and what we did next. This helps us to map out each child’s interests, and plan an environment that works for them.



In Reception, each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play, and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Practitioners respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction.

As children grow older, and as their development allows, the balance gradually shifts towards more adult-led activities to help children prepare for more formal learning, ready for year 1.

Upon entering the Reception classes, the children’s needs and next steps are identified through discussion between Nursery and Reception staff as well as observations completed by the Reception team. Children are placed in groups according to their next steps.

Reception Staff are engaged in whole group ‘direct teaching’ at 4 different points across the school day. Communication, Language and Literacy- at the beginning of the morning session. Phonics- at the end of the morning session and Mathematics takes place at the end of the afternoon session. The fourth input takes place in the middle of the morning session before the children have opportunity to relax in to story time.

The children from both classes are split into 4 groups. These groups are named after colours. The groups are mixed ability and overseen by a different keyworker from Reception each week. The keyworker in charge of each group is responsible for ensuring that their group for the week complete their challenges within their challenge book and mark the book accordingly (using EYFS marking code- see Appendix 2). They are also responsible to work on the objective led plans within Reception with the children in areas and evidence when children have achieved their next steps, what activity was carried out or whether they required more support.

The challenge books are individualised for each child. They are kept as a running record of the children’s teaching and learning throughout Reception. The children’s challenges are set in various areas around the classroom.  The levels of challenge within each area are represented by three characters - Hungry Caterpillar (tricky), Elmer (trickier) and Gruffalo (trickiest) (example of challenge book format see Appendix 4). We believe this way of working increases the children’s independence and aids them in ‘taking control’ of their own learning. We believe this way of teaching and learning within Reception will 'hook' the children into their education and help them to see the opportunities for meaningful play and learning within all of the areas on offer within Reception as well as giving the adults in Reception further opportunity to observe, respond and assess and get more involved with play.

EYFS Curriculum


Maths at Highcliffe

We use White Rose maths and follow the national programme of study:

Our mastery approach is focused around teaching for depth rather than breadth; concepts are taught to the class until the majority have mastered them, whilst also being presented with opportunities to deepen understanding through looking for patterns, making connections through solving calculations in a variety of ways, and drawing upon number sense to make generalisations and solve problems.

Although in many cases, all children will have the opportunity to access the same task, children working at greater depth would be expected to show greater independence when using strategies such as trial and error, systematic working and checking strategies (for example using the inverse to check).

Teachers draw on a range of resources to create the best possible learning environment for our pupils. It is expected that there will be reasoning as part of every lesson, although much of this will be oral. Talk partners will be used to enable the children to verbalise and discuss their understanding and depth of understanding will be provided through encouraging children to make connections, teach a friend, solve or use in a different way.

Classes are taught as mixed ability groups. Although the majority of children are in a mixed ability class, some children will be targeted to work in a smaller group with an adult. Our aim is to help these children make connections and give them a solid foundation, so that they can move towards working at a level closer to that of their peers. They may spend time revisiting earlier number concepts using CPA (Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract) approaches.

Highcliffe Primary School

Hutton Lane, Guisborough. TS14 8AA