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Values Challenge for Schools
The Values Challenge for Schools
One Hour, One Value, One Change
Many schools now have official values, which in most cases are likely to be well-aligned with the individual values of their staff and students, but as with any organisation a gap can grow between the values we aspire to and the reality of what happens as everyday pressures take their toll. It can be good to take a step back and reconsider how the staff and students are really living their own and the school’s values, and find a way to get everyone re-engaged and re-energised.
The best way to do this is to involve both staff and students in the Values Challenge – on a “whole school” basis.
What is the Values Challenge?
This one-hour workshop was developed in 2017 by the UK Values Alliance, in collaboration with the Forward Institute, the RSA (the Royal Society of Arts) and PwC as a simple, effective and practical way for schools and other organisations around the world to focus on their organisation’s values for just one hour.
This year the main theme for World Values Day on 17th October 2019 is putting values into action to enhance wellbeing, and so this year the Values Challenge looks at how organisations can support the wellbeing of its employees and stakeholders, and the wellbeing of the organisation itself, by improving the practice of values in the organisation.
Why are values so important to schools?
The evidence shows that when organisations have strong values embedded in their culture they perform better and have higher levels of stakeholder engagement and satisfaction. There is also ample evidence that schools with strong values practised on a “whole school” basis by the staff and students, forming an integral part of the academic and extra-curricular life of the school, perform better both academically and in terms of students’ personal development and motivation.
Please download the Values Guide for Schools to find out more about what values are, why they are important to schools, and how to choose your values if you haven’t done so already.
Values and Wellbeing
Staff, students and other stakeholders in a school as in any other organisation need to feel that their individual values are aligned to the values of the school and also with what they do and experience in the school. When these are in line, their wellbeing will be supported and they will be able to engage productively and effectively. This will have a knock-on effect on the wellbeing and effectiveness of those around them and thus on the wellbeing of the whole school community.
However, if their own values are not in line with the values and their experience of the school, it will have a negative impact on their wellbeing – they are likely to feel anxiety, stress and unhappiness. This “values distress” will have any impact on their own and other people’s motivation, productivity and retention, and so have a negative impact on the wellbeing of the whole school community.
The connection between values and wellbeing is beginning to become a hot topic in many different areas of employment. For instance in the hospital/healthcare sector where junior doctors and nurses report high levels of stress arising from situations where they are unable for one reason or another to give patients urgently needed treatment. The doctors and nurses feel great stress at not being able to express their strongly held values of caring and compassion. Such “values distress” is of course not confined to doctors and nurses. Teachers, other school staff, and students are all prone suffer similar kinds of stress. Work or study environments become stressful when there is a mismatch between how our values tell us how we should behave, and pressures on us that make us behave in a different way.
How the Values Challenge workshop addresses this year’s World Values Day theme of Values and Wellbeing
The Values Challenge is a one-hour workshop designed to highlight the importance of values to your school and to help bring those values to life. The Values Challenge is designed to be easy to organise, highly motivating and effective. We hope you will find it useful, inspiring and enriching.
This year, the Values Challenge focuses on the importance of putting values into action at work to support and enhance the individual wellbeing of staff, students and other stakeholders and also the collective wellbeing of the school community. It does this by focusing first on the individual values of the workshop participants, and then looking at how those values might be better practised in the school environment (of course, our personal values also need to be in alignment with our school’s official values; this is an important but separate issue which has been addressed by the Values Challenge in previous years but is not being specifically addressed this year). We are challenged to ask:
- To what extent are we really living our values at our school every day, and what issues are we encountering in doing so?
- What personal value could we put more effectively into action at school?
- What specific action can we take with others that will strengthen the practice of that value and so enhance our wellbeing?
- Can we commit to doing this on World Values Day and beyond?
It is good if as many of the staff as possible take part in the one-hour Values Challenge session, and also if representative students and parents are included in the workshop too. The best timing for the workshop is (if possible) a week or two before World Values Day (which is on 17th October) so that the actions agreed at the workshop can be carried out on World Values day itself, and hopefully continued thereafter.
Click the “Take The Challenge” button below to register and receive the free resource pack with simple instructions which will enable you to run that session yourselves, in the way best suited to your school.
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World Values Day is co-ordinated by volunteers passionate about putting values at the heart of society, we really need your donations to enable us to raise awareness through the creation of animations, videos and marketing campaigns, so please give generously to allow us to continue this valuable work. Your support is very much appreciated. Thank you.