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Value Based Education

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Values-based Education complements and strengthens the teachings of faith-based schools very well.

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Values-based and Faith-based schools

Generally, schools that already engage deeply in values achieve the individual and school-wide benefits of Values-based Education quicker than other schools.

Many faith-based schools teach religious values and find that these dovetail with VbE's generally wider perspective that helps students and pupils embed religious values more comfortably within their lives.


Values-based Education succeeds not when pupils and students have learnt about values, but when those values start to influence their normal behaviour.

VbE schools model their chosen values throughout the whole school.

Faith-based schools often benefit from seeing where practice can be enhanced from reviewing the entirety of the school's procedures, processes and lessons through the lens of their chosen values.

Strong evidence shows that children's behaviour is far more influenced by the behaviour of the adults they interact with than by their words.


Faith-based Inspections


Most faith-based inspections have a very high regard for VbE. Inspectors regularly comment on the link between VbE, the impact on education in general, and on religious teachings in particular.

Below are extracts from a SIAMS (National Society Inspection of Anglican and Methodists School) Report of the VbE Quality Mark School

Eardisley CoE Primary, Herefordshire in 2014.


Effectiveness: Outstanding
The school’s commitment to the core Christian values of joy, friendship and determination ensures excellent personal development and well-being of learners


Meeting the Needs of Learners: Outstanding
The Christian character instils self-belief and enables staff and learners of all ages and abilities to be the best they can be. A range of stakeholders explained that joy, friendship and determination are the most important values to their school. These are clearly understood as reflecting the teaching and example of Jesus. The core values were chosen, after much debate, by the school council. Learners can explain how passages from the Bible help them understand how the values chosen affect them. One child explained:” If we didn’t have our values, we would not be who we are today or get on in life in the future.” Behaviour and relationships across ages are exemplary and learners articulate with maturity and confidence how the value chosen each month helps them to live and learn together. All members of staff, including volunteers, provide effective role models.


Effectiveness of the leadership and management: Outstanding
The headteacher is an outstanding role model of care for each member of the school community. Her commitment to a high quality education for all abilities, grounded on Christian principles, means there is an increased demand for places, a rising roll, and improving academic standards. Since her appointment in 2011, the school has achieved the Values Quality mark. The incumbent and governors rightly attribute the success of the school to the clarity of vision and purpose the headteacher has engendered among all members of the school community. Parents recognise the special qualities of the school and attribute this to the transformational impact of the shared vision and values. They express confidence that the school meets individual needs. One parent said that the children are: “Ambassadors for values.” Another described how: “Values enable my child to consider life’s big questions and make good choices.”


What Values Are
Values are principles that drive behaviour. They influence our actions and attitudes, and become our framework for living. They influence our relationship with ourselves and others.

The wide range of positive human values encouraged in schools include patience, respect, fairness, tolerance, respect, compassion and collaboration.

Like riding a bike, values are learned through a combination of practice and instruction. Students learn what values are, how to recognise them, and how people react to them, equipping them with invaluable social skills and emotional intelligence.

What Values Are Not
Values education is not additional curriculum. It is not something teachers have to bolt on to an already full agenda. It is an approach that makes teaching the very full agenda easier.

It is not a quick fix solution. Many people perceive values to be liberal and soft. In reality, they are exactly the opposite. They provide a clear awareness of acceptable behaviour, against which staff and students choices of behaviour are evaluated. Values help reduce the options for inappropriate behaviour.

It is not something expected only of students. Effective teaching of values is measured not by students' ability to define values, by its impact on their behaviour. For teaching of values to be effective, positive values need to be modelled by staff. A values-driven environment applies equally to staff and students alike. 

Values-based Education works through:

  • Values Consciousness20170317 112922
    Teachers think more deeply about their teaching and the values that they model both in and outside of the classroom. Students report how a values consciousness impact on their behaviour and actions, which become more altruistic.
  • Wellbeing
    In thinking about and enacting values, students develop self-worth, empathy and responsible personal behaviour. Evidence shows that Values Education has a very positive effect on students who are ‘at risk’, marginalised or disadvantaged. There is compelling evidence that wellbeing impacts are experienced by teachers, parents and families, and in classroom and across whole schools.
  • Agency
    Agency is the capacity of individuals to be self-led, to act independently, to make choices and act on them. The evidence shows that Values Education strengthens student agency when it involves various forms of giving, outreach and working in the community. For instance, through values action projects that allowed students to enact their values in a way that is personal, real and deeply engaging.
  • Connectedness
    Values-based Education builds positive and wide-ranging connections between teachers, students and parents. It supports student engagement in learning, improves parent engagement in their children’s learning and allows teachers to develop new relationships with their students, each other and the parents and families in their school community. This is done through shared goals and practices in Values Education, which leads to the development of mutual feelings of respect, trust and safety; and varied opportunities for collaboration. The research findings show that the values lead to improved behaviour in the classroom, school and home.
  • Transformation
    Change and transformation are at the heart of Values Education and is the result of teachers and students being urged to engage in continuous reflection on the actions they implemented in their schools. Key changes are seen in professional practice as well as personal attitudes, behaviours, relationships and group dynamics. Transformations are experienced and observed by teachers, students and parents alike. The data points to profound transformations in student learning. Students develop deeper understanding of complex issues and how these pertain to their own lives. Students and parents experience personal change and report changes seen in others.
  • Achievement
    As a result of the above, many schools report improvements in a wide range of individual achievement, and academic attainment. Students report a deeper engagement in and connection to their learning and demonstrate an understanding of the responsibilities this entails for themselves and others.

In a Values-based school, children develop a secure sense of self. The become more empowered to take responsibility for their own learning. Research shows that children develop academic diligence when they are involved with a Values-based school. They develop relational trust. They become articulate and able to talk freely and well. Through silence, quietness and reflectional techniques of the Values-based framework, children can understand much more deeply their work and their lives.

From the social perspective, Values-based Education promotes effective learning and underpins the continuous improvement of personal, social, moral and economic wellbeing. It is an investment in individual capability and self-responsibility and its product, therefore, promises significant value to society. 

Neil Balliston talks about the role of the Ethical Vocabulary

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