Spiritual and Moral Development (NCC 1993)

Spiritual and Moral Development (text)

See also:

RE: A Local Curriculum Framework (NCC 1991)


Spiritual and Moral Development
a discussion paper

National Curriculum Council
York: 1993


Background notes

Historical context

John Patten (pictured) was - unexpectedly - appointed education secretary in April 1992. A devout Roman Catholic, he wanted to see a greater emphasis in schools on moral and spiritual development.

This discussion paper was the National Curriculum Council's contribution to the debate about national morality and the part schools could play in developing it.

In his Foreword, NCC Chair David Pascall wrote:

The important role which education, in partnership with the home, can and should play in the spiritual and moral development of our children hardly needs emphasising. These dimensions are vital underpinnings of all aspects of school life and should provide a foundation for adulthood and our society in the future. This discussion paper is intended to help schools meet their challenging responsibilities in these areas and hope that you find it useful.
The National Curriculum Council and the School Examinations and Assessment Council were established by the 1988 Education Reform Act. They were abolished by the 1993 Education Act which combined their roles into the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

Some points from the paper

The paper concludes with some questions for discussion:

  • How would you describe the ethos of your school? In what ways, if any, would you like it to change?
  • Where in the curriculum are there opportunities for spiritual and moral development?
  • How does your school ensure that collective worship promotes the spiritual and moral development of pupils?
  • How does your school take into account the religious background of its pupils?
  • How can schools best go about defining and publicising their core values?
  • What are the strategies for answering pupils' questions which have spiritual and moral development implications?
  • How can governors and staff best involve parents in these issues?

The paper online

This brief paper (10 pages) was published as an A4-size booklet with two columns to a page. I have not reproduced this arrangement here.

The above notes were prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 16 August 2011; they were revised on 11 November 2012.