Reflections of a VbE School

A values based school underpins everything it does with values

"I think all schools should learn about values because they can improve their work, and they can be more respectful and thoughtful with other people"

Bridget Knight is a Trustee of IVET (the International Values Education Trust). In May 2010, she summarised the impact of Values-based Education in Herefordshire.

Impact of VbE on Schools in Herefordshire

Since 2002 Herefordshire has been on a pioneering journey, exploring how the holistic approach to learning that is Values Education can bring benefits for all children, regardless of age, ability, background or need. Values-based education is a beautiful thing. it is about the possibility of life itself, opening roads of discovery and helping people to understand themselves, others and how they may live good lives, making a positive difference through who and how they are.

There is a growing recognition that increasingly children will come to school from families that are in a state of huge flux, if not in actual disarray, and that the influence on children outside school – from television and the internet, to drugs and sex – can have a huge and detrimental bearing on their attitudes to learning. Research by the Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman shows that non-cognitive skills are as important as technical skills in determining employability, earnings and career success. All this makes it more vital than ever that our schools are havens where individuals can come and truly flourish.

Schools all over the country are grappling with these issues, and doing so valiantly. What sets values-based schools apart is unique and distinct: these schools have leaders who operate from the deeply held principles of loving, enabling and engaging.

Primary, secondary, and special schools and early years’ settings across Herefordshire have taken a deliberate decision to nurture each and every individual. Their school leaders understand that children and their own staff need relationships that provide them with recognition, that they need to be recognised for who they are, where they come from, their goals, contributions and achievements. In so doing, they create climates of regard, respect and delight - places where people can build their own identity, gain a reputation for their achievements, and work productively together to achieve even more. These gains are realised in OFSTED findings, which rate personal development and wellbeing, and its contribution to the curriculum, as exceptionally high, but also – and perhaps most importantly- in the heartfelt comments from the school community, such as the School Administrator who said that ' I had never thought about values before but since seeing how it works in school it has had a deep effect on my life and on that of my family', and the year 5 boy who said 'Values makes me feel safe. It gives you something to lean back on and remember forever'.

What a Values-based approach to education offers is borne out in many of the schools and settings in Herefordshire: this deeply practical approach offers a route to a more socially inclusive, engaging, motivating and rewarding school experience, helping all of us to open our minds and be alive to our own endless possibilities.

From My Heart
Neil Hawkes

This is a book that guides readers on how to bring values into their consciousness, thereby improving their well being and that of their family, community and working environment.