Values-based schooling and evidence of promoting SMSC

Rosemary Dewan

Rosemary Dewan is the CEO of the Human Values Foundation which promotes the importance of teaching human values in schools. Since 1995 it has been providing practical, cross-curricular programmes for personal development and behaviour management, integrating SMSC, PSHE education, Citizenship, PLTS and SEAL.

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We are constantly making decisions, some of which are pretty routine but several can have significant, far-reaching effects on our lives and the lives of many others. Sometimes there is plenty of time to think through a matter but there are also occasions when split-second decisions are required – and one of the factors affecting our choices are our VALUES.

The strapline of The Decision Education Foundation is “Better Decisions – Better Lives”.

Considering how our values play such an important part in guiding our thinking, decision-making and ultimately, our actions and behaviour - and even how we shape our life chances and those of our children - it is vital that children and young people are educated in uplifting values-filled environments in which they are given plenty of real-life learning opportunities that enable them to experience, understand and commit to living by values that will enhance all aspects of their existence.

Values-based schooling

Values-based schooling occurs when school leaders, other staff and the pupils actively endeavour to align all that takes place within the school, including decisions and actions, with authentic shared values. It is effective and enduring because the whole school community unites to create conditions for lasting success. The process fosters dialogue and trust and helps to build a common purpose and desired culture that benefit all who attend the school, with the added bonus of engaging parents and carers in their children’s progress and development.

Evidence of promoting SMSC

Under the new Ofsted inspection framework, the overall effectiveness of a school will be judged after taking account of four key components:

  • the achievement of pupils at the school
  • the quality of teaching and learning
  • the quality of leadership and management
  • the pupils’ behaviour and safety

together with the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of the pupils.

Experience shows that when the emotional, social, moral and spiritual aspects of the curriculum are developed in values-based schools, not only do standards progressively improve but all four of the above key judgement areas are positively impacted. With the promotion of the inner world of individuals’ emotions, feelings and thoughts, the whole school becomes increasingly supportive and harmonious, with a calmer, more reflective atmosphere. Feedback indicates that pupils find they have a greater sense of purpose and that they tend to take more responsibility for the decisions they make in respect of their learning and behaviour.

With the enthusiastic support gained from parents and the community, everyone can take pleasure in witnessing greater achievements and the development of attractive personal qualities and essential life skills in young citizens of the future.

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