Academic Research in Support of VbE
Around the world, countries are searching for ways to help schools to improve academic standards, positively affect student behaviour, and engage with parents and the community. The research shows that adopting the philosophy and practices of Values-based Education as a whole school initiative will have a positive impact on all these elements.
Since 1995, Dr. Neil Hawkes has been researching the central question that led to him founding VbE: Does teaching values improve the quality of education in primary schools? As a researcher and a teaching practitioner, Dr. Hawkes spent 10 years from 1995 to 2005 conducting qualitative research for an Oxford University doctoral thesis at West Kidlington Primary in Oxfordshire. For over 6 of these years, he was the head teacher of the school where, since 1993, the school and the community had methodically developed and nurtured the transformational qualities of VbE.
His work at West Kidlington led in 2000 to Frances Farrer, the journalist and author, writing the book The Quiet Revolution about the transformative effects of values education at the school.
Dr. Hawkes’ research was published in 2005 as a doctoral thesis. In summary, his research described how values-based schools give increasing curriculum and teaching emphasis to Values Education. As a consequence, students become more academically diligent, the school assumes a calmer, more peaceful ambience, better student-teacher relationships are forged, student and teacher wellbeing improves and parents are more engaged with the school. All the same, Dr. Hawkes acknowledged that large scale research was required to validate his research and observations.
This large-scale research confirming the positive impact of VbE came in 2009, when research on behalf of the Australian Government (Lovat et al, Newcastle University) led to the Values Action Based Schools Program (VASP) in schools across Australia.
Today VbE is a successful world-wide transformational movement for positive change. There are already over 100 VbE accredited schools on 3 continents, with many more schools across the globe adopting VbE.
If you want to read a summary of Dr. Hawkes’ original thesis or the full thesis:
External Research on VbE
If you want to read a summary or the real report on the Values in Action Schools Program (VASP) in Australia:
Other more current independent reports which concur with the original research through some of their findings and recommendations are:
- Teacher Wellbeing Index – Published by Education Support (2019)
- Improving Behaviour in Schools – Published by Education Endowment Fund (2021)
- Improving Social and Emotional Learning in Primary Schools – Published by Education Endowment Fund (2019)