What are the options and costs?

A payment of £115 + VAT will enable the access to the online self-review tool. The self-review tool will determine your school’s overall level.

You may then apply for a verifier to come to your school to validate your review and discuss ways to further strengthen, improve and celebrate your SMSC provision. The cost of a verification visit is £550* + VAT.

We also provide a consultation and verification option- Verification Plus, which allows the school to benefit from a 90 minute support meeting with a verifier, using their completed self-review tool. This consultation option is aimed to support schools in preparation for verification and to provide the SMSC lead with the opportunity to discuss certain areas in more depth and compile an action plan. The cost of the consultation and verification visit is £750* + VAT. The consultation visit should be conducted at least 2 months prior to the verification visit.

*We ask schools to contribute to the verifier’s travel costs as this is reimbursed directly to the verifier. This amount will be discussed at the time of booking a verification.


Is the self-review tool available to all schools/academies?

Self-review tool is used by all phases in education from nursery to secondary, mainstream and private; including pupil referral units and schools providing education for young people with special educational needs. It was updated in the summer of 2019 to align it to the current Ofsted Framework. The importance and necessity of SMSC is also confirmed in the current Independent School Standards.


Do I need to compile folders of evidence?

We do not ask schools to compile folders of evidence. However, you must use the references and reflections section to show your thoughts concerning each criteria. The more information that you can give your verifier about why you feel your provision is emerging, bronze, silver or gold in each section really supports the preparation for your verification and/or action plan. Use this space to tell the verifier everything your school does to highlight each section of the criteria- this is your opportunity to let all the work that goes into your SMSC provision really shine.


Who should complete the self-review tool?

It is advised that the self-review tool is not completed by one person, as that would represent the opinion of SMSC in your school from one source. We suggest that sections of the self-review tool are printed off and shared with other members of staff, perhaps in a staff meeting to try and encourage input from other colleagues and SLT. Below we reference certain sections that can be shared with SLT and the governors.


How long will it take to complete the self-review tool?

Once you have access to the online self-review tool, you will need to read all 87 sets of criteria descriptions and decide which one suits your school best. This can take a varied amount of time. However, you will then need to print off your answers to discuss your responses with your colleagues and ideally, governors.

Alternatively, you may like to complete the form as a group to ensure that you are getting a more rounded school perspective. This collaborative approach may take a little longer.


Does the self-review tool need to be completed in one sitting?

It is an editable document and therefore we would encourage it to be completed in a number of sessions to gain the most accurate information. The self-review tool can be added to and edited at any point prior to submission. You should click ‘Save Progress’ after making any amendments. In order to keep your information secure, the contents will only save when you hit ‘save progress’. If the self-review tool is left idle for more than one hour you will be logged out and any unsaved information will not save automatically and so would be lost. Therefore please ensure you can save your progress as you work though the self-review tool.


Does the self-review tool require input from particular stakeholders?

We recommend that you discuss certain criteria (1.4, 1.5a, 1.5b, 1.6a, 1.6b, 1.7, 1.11b, 1.11c, 2.2b, 4.8b, 4.8d) in your school’s Senior Leadership meetings. We also advise that your Governors contribute towards certain criteria too (1.4, 1.5a, 1.5b, 1.7, 4.3b, 4.8d, 4.9a)

Once you have completed the self-review tool and gained agreement from colleagues/governors, you click on ‘Submit’. You will then receive an email confirming that your self-review has been completed and you will no longer be able to edit.


What happens when you complete the self-review tool?

Once you have completed your self-review tool and submitted your responses a result of Emerging, Bronze, Silver or Gold will be calculated showing your result in percentages.
In order to have this self-review validated you will need to request a verification visit. This visit has been praised by teachers as an invaluable experience.

Once you have been independently verified we will supply a printed certificate, a verification report and an electronic logo to digitally promote your achievement.


Is there a time limit between completing the self-review tool and applying for a Verification visit?

Things are changing all the time in busy schools; the Verification visit should ideally be applied for within 6-12 months of completing the self-review.


Do we have to have a verification visit?

In order to obtain the SMSC Quality Mark award, the school will need to apply for a verification visit. This visit is your opportunity to have fresh expert eyes on everything in your school from a SMSC point of view. The self-review tool alone is not a verified result and can only be used for guidance and to support your action plan.


My school is not in England can I apply for a verification visit?

Yes, we have developed a virtual model of verification and so are able to verify schools anywhere in the world.

How much time will the verifier spend at school?

Verification visits will last half a day (3.5 hours). Please see our suggested time table below which can be edited to suit your school day.


08.55                       Verifier arrives at school

09.00– 09.15           Meeting Headteacher & SMSC Lead

09.15 – 09.45          Brief tour of the School – led by pupils / SMSC lead. NB 30 mins max

09.45– 10.35           Meeting pupils (group of 8-10 pupils) from a variety of year groups. Preferably not all School Councillors

10.35 – 10.55          Meeting with Governors

10.55-11.15             Meeting with Parents

11.15– 12.15           Discuss self-review tool to probe evidence, agree strengths and suggest areas for improvement with SMSC Lead

12.15– 12.30          Meeting with Headteacher / SLT / SMSC Lead to conclude findings, strengths and any areas for development and to discuss the proposed final level (The final level will then be agreed and confirmed by the SMSC Quality Mark Manager. The SMSC Co-ordinator/Headteacher will be notified within 5 working days of the visit date by the SMSC Quality Mark Manager)

12.30                      Depart


Who will the verifier need to speak to during the visit?

If possible the verifier should be greeted by the SMSC lead, and or the Headteacher. They will also need to speak to a group of children, governors and a few parents in order to get a complete picture of the school. Whilst we encourage all schools to try and organise a group of parents and governors together for the visit, we understand that in some cases this is not possible due to work or other commitments. If face to face meetings are not possible we do ask for some written statements to give a SMSC voice to the parent and governing body.


Will we receive guidance before or during the verification visit?

Prior to the verification visit, a school can opt for a consultation visit at the cost of £200. This is a more in depth guide tailored to each school to prepare for the verification visit.

During the verification visit, the verifier will make suggestions for improvement/development.

You are also welcome to contact smsc@youngcitizens.org if you have any questions regarding the self-review tool or the verification process.


What additional benefit does the verification visit give us?

The self-review tool provides schools with an invaluable opportunity to review their SMSC provision. It will indicate opportunities to enhance provision. The verification visit provides an independent, expert triangulation of the self-review and ensures that the school’s self-review is in line with national guidance and with other schools across the country.

It also allows schools to use the National SMSC Quality Mark logo to acknowledge and celebrate their SMSC provision and highlight the importance the school places on SMSC education for their young people.


What will we receive to show the level we have achieved?

You will receive a certificate, a verification report and an electronic Bronze, Silver or Gold logo according to the level awarded to your school. Schools who that are verified as Emerging do not receive a logo.


Once we have been verified, how long will the award last for?

The award will last for 3 years from the day of your verification visit. All awarded schools will need to seek re-verification once their accreditation has lapsed.


How soon can my school be re-verified if we think we are ready to move up a level?

If schools feel they are ready to move up to a new level they can re-apply for verification by contacting the SMSC support team at smsc@youngcitizens.org. We do not advise schools to apply for re-verification until at least 12 months have passed, as new developments take time to be fully embed. The process for re-verification is the same as before, starting with updating your self-review.