Dr. Neil Hawkes
Founder of the International Values-based Education Trust (IVET)
Eardisley CE Primary School has created a tool that helps schools to set out their values statement, gather evidence and identify impact. The article below provides some further context for schools looking for support in how to teach British Values. To visit the resources section where the Eardisley tool is available for download, click here
"Increasingly I am being invited to help UK schools understand how they should respond to the Government's requirement that they should teach about British Values. As you will be aware, it is a part of the prevent strategy to counter the radicalisation of young people. For instance, I am helping Nottinghamshire headteachers address this important topic at conferences on the 14 and 15th of July. In some ways this will echo my active support (between 2005-2009) of the Australian Government's introduction of Australian values through a program of values education. The positive impact of the program was thoroughly researched at Newcastle University (Australia) by Professor Terrence Lovat et al (2010) (see www.valuesbasededucation for details).
What are the main tenets of my advice to British Schools as they explore how to make British values an integral part of the curriculum and not merely an add-on to cover legal requirements? 1. Vision and values
The best schools that I visit are those that have a clearly articulated vision about what the purpose of education is and how it will be achieved. It's vision incorporates a mission statement about how each pupil will be inspired to discover their meaning and purpose and make an active contribution to society. Such schools explore with their community the values that will support such a vision. A community forum is often held to determine the values that parents and other community stakeholders would like to see developed in local children. As described in the process of introducing Values-based Education (VbE), they focus on universal positive human values, such as respect, tolerance, honesty, trust, humility, perseverance and justice. All the major religions and those who do not ascribe to a particular faith commonly hold such values. The values potentially unite communities as they form a common narrative. 2. British Values
Within the above list are found the underlying values that support the understanding and adoption of British values:
- Democracy: a system of government in which power is invested in the people, who rule either directly or through freely elected representatives. Freedom, equality, resilience, trust, peace and compassion support democracy.
- The rule of law: the legal principle that law should govern a nation as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials. The values of honesty, justice, fairness, respect and responsibility underpin the rule of law.
- Individual liberty: exercise freely those rights generally accepted as being outside governmental control. Values such as equality, freedom, respect, empathy and happiness are key to individual liberty.
- The mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs: honouring of difference and differing belief systems in religious and non-religious communities. The values of equality, freedom, empathy, unity and care support the development of tolerance and respect.
By incorporating these British values into the larger framework of values-based education (VbE) young people gain a deep and profound understanding about how these values (principles that guide our thinking and behaviour) can be lived and seen by others as active parts of their character, which promote the well being of themselves and society.3. Teaching about values
During assemblies and in lessons the school will enable pupils to explicitly think about and model the school's core values, which will incorporate British values. 4. Values for learning
Besides being the mainstay of character development, values are considered by the school community as values for learning. Pupils asking themselves such questions as, which values will help me get the most from this activity or lesson? For example, using the value of quality to ensure that we give our very best to our school work.
Values-based Education (VbE) therefore has multifunctional dimensions and impactful outcomes, enabling young people to gain control of themselves, make humane choices, learn effectively and gain the ability to choose a life style that is in harmony with mainstream society. They do this through the accumulation of a deep understanding and application of positive human values. This, I believe, is the context for the effective development of British values in schools."