The Values Challenge For Schools


The Values Challenge

One Hour, One Value, One Change

Most 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 seven years ago by the UK Values Alliance, in collaboration with the Forward Institute, the RSA (the Royal Society for Arts) and the international consultancy 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. It is simple to run it and does not require any specialised facilitator.

Since then, we have had very positive feedback from many different kinds of organisations, including many schools, telling us that the one-hour session had been highly effective for them and they would recommend it for others.

Why are values so important to schools?

The evidence shows that when an organisation has strong values embedded in its culture it performs better and has 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 our Values Guide for Schools from this page if you want 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.

What is the values gap and how to address it?

Most schools have a clear statement of their values. But so often great-sounding values can get trampled on in everyday life. It happens everywhere. There is a gap that grows between how we could live those values and how we actually behave every day – this is the ‘values gap’.

Printing out a school’s values and putting them up at reception is never enough. The chosen values need to be brought to life and turned into daily habits and behaviours. These habits and behaviours need to extend to all the school’s stakeholders, including parents, governors, and local communities. This needs consistent effort, constant encouragement, and ownership of the values throughout the whole school.

What is the Values Challenge workshop?

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, reflecting the World Values Day 2024 theme of Bringing Values to Life, it challenges us to ask:

  • To what extent are we really living our school’s values every day?
  • What practical change – small or large – can we make that would help bring just one of those values to life in a more meaningful way?
  •  How we can do that in a way that will make a difference to us and really bring our values to life across the whole school every day?

The Values Challenge is designed to be easy to organise, highly motivating and effective. We hope you will find it useful, inspiring and enriching.

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 this year is on Thursday, 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.

Please share what you have done

Please don’t forget to share your experience of the Values Challenge with us and with the world – the value you chose, what action you all decided to take, and how the action went by posting on Facebook, X/Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, TikTok or Instagram pages using #WorldValuesDay and @ValuesDay or by emailing us at Use words, photos, video clips. Whatever works best for you. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tiktok and YouTube.

To help you do this you can download the ‘We Value’ template below and fill in your chosen value and the action taken, and then use it in a group selfie.