What is values based education?
Values based education is a recognised approach to teaching that works with values. It creates a strong learning environment that enhances academic attainment and develops pupils social and relationship skills that last throughout their lives.
Values based education underpins the school’s approach to British values; democracy, rule of law, respect and tolerance of other faiths and cultures and individual liberty.
VbE impacts behaviour, relationships, learning environment, personal wellbeing and attitudes to learning and learning diligence which lead to improvements in academic attainment.
Kings Hill School was awarded the Values Based Education Quality Mark in April 2017 for its effectiveness in this area and was the first primary school in Kent to achieve this accreditation.
There are many components in place at Kings Hill which make for a very strong values based ethos. It was joyful to see activities such as the 'Talking Point' assemblies in real time and to see such a rich values based environment.
Crucially, one feels that the vision and direction are firmly based on providing the very best care and education for the whole school community.
As well as the school's culture of core values being very strong, there is an exceptionally advanced promotion and understanding of British Values. A robust structure of initiatives, activities and common language ensures that consistency is key and even the youngest children are taught to understand and participate in active learning about British Values. Opportunities to take on responsibilities are encouraged and older pupils have a deep understanding of the value of their contribution to school and the community.
Impact of Values Based Education
A values based education is embedded through all our practices, environment and the way staff model behaviours to children. Children are given opportunities to develop their moral compass and develop wide ethical vocabulary. The impact of values based education is clearly evident in our pupil behaviour, attainment and ability of the children to think critically and grapple with philosophical thinking.
Values based education underpins the school’s policies including the behaviour and anti-bullying policies. Children are confident individuals inspired to believe in themselves and develop strong emotional resilience as exemplified in the school’s motto and ethos, “Inspired to believe, inspired to achieve.” Children cooperate with each other positively and are happy and motivated. Behaviour for learning is excellent and pupils show respect for each other, and for staff and visitors. The Values Based Assessor described pupil behaviour as exemplary and praised pupil understanding of the values culture at Kings Hill School.
How is a Values Based Education taught ?
Values are taught explicitly through our comprehensive assembly programme which is carefully planned, through PSHE learning, special events and challenges such as the ‘Make the Difference’ Go-Givers challenge. Time is allocated within the curriculum for this type of learning and for assemblies. A weekly assembly is held where children are given the opportunity to debate philosophical questions called ‘The Talking Point’ and Values Ambassadors play a key role in strengthening pupil understanding.
Children also teach each other about the values through assemblies to parents, again embedded in a whole school programme. A recent example is a Year 4 assembly about kindness where the children used the analogy of kindness buckets to teach others to be kind and a Year R assembly about courage. This is also reflected in the stimulating learning environment to reinforce the learning.
Our curriculum links closely to values and staff ensure that this is comprehensive with full coverage across all of the year groups. This is updated each year to reflect our curriculum.
The development of house families in 2016 is a whole school approach to embed pastoral support and develop positive relationships that help underpin healthy minds and mental health. This has had a tremendous impact on SMSC and values based education. During the termly house family meetings, pupils are given time to reflect on key questions aswell as in PSHE lessons and assemblies where reflection time is embedded. Reflective books have been introduced into every classroom. These are ‘PSHE’ files that promote friendships, anti-bullying, diversity etc. These books help pupils recognise that they are supported and values their individuality and self-help opportunities. These allow children the opportunity to reflect on the values and their experiences.
British values are deeply embedded and there is evidence of British values in action around the school. This is also evident at playtimes and through extra-curricular activities. In every classroom there is an area where questions are posed to children relating to Values and children are given the opportunity to respond to these questions. These are discussed in assemblies and in class and children are encouraged to develop a deeper understanding of values through this.
The key areas of the government’s strategy regarding British Values are fully embedded and actively promotes our values based education. Examples are children learning about democracy through decision making in class, in assembly e.g. ‘The Talking point’ and for the whole school, e.g. School Council, Charity Committee, Sports Council. Children are voted for and help run whole school decisions. For example the Charity Committee will decide on which charity the school will raise money for each term and will organise the fundraising activity. Democracy is also supported by regular use of ballot boxes which are used in all classrooms. Ballot boxes are also used in the weekly Talking Point assembly. The use of these boxes has helped to reinforce pupil understanding of democracy, fairness and the values of their contribution.
The Values Based Education Assessor described Kings Hill School as the strongest school she had seen in terms of its development of the government’s British Values agenda.
The school has six core values that were voted on by staff, pupils, parents and Governors in 2015. These six values represent the basis of values based education at Kings Hill School and all other values are linked to them throughout the year such as compassion, loyalty, happiness, humility and trust.
We respect our schools wild life habitats and the plants and animals that live there. Children help to build minibeast homes in Science lessons and Eco club providing safe places to shelter. Children respect the wild life by handling minibeasts with care when carrying out invertebrate investigations in Science. They always put them back where they were found.
During the summer months, groups of children are responsible for tending to the vegetables growing in the poly tunnel. They have to weed and water in their lunch breaks. Year 5 were responsible for running a vegetable stall, at the end of the school day, giving parents the opportunity to buy the produce harvested in the poly tunnel.
When year 4 had an out door day being "Outlaws", they made bows and arrows to compete in an archery contest. It was a difficult task to string a bow tightly enough for the arrow to fire. Children had to re-make their bows many times before they would work.
During Year 5 "Survivor" day children had to make small rafts out of twigs and string and float them. They had to persevere with tying difficult knots to join the twigs to hold the raft in place, frequently re-making it until it floated.
In Eco club a small group of year 5s and 6s worked as a team on "Project Pond". One cold winter’s day children had to work together to take the huge pond cover off and clear out the over grown weed and smelly mud from the bottom of the pond to make it a better habitat for the creatures living there.