Why Education Needs Values & Integrity

This blog comes from Founder of Values-Based Education and keynote speaker of “Education for the Soul” Conference 2017, Neil Hawkes

With many other people I am deeply concerned about the global turmoil that is destabilising our world. As someone I met recently in the US put it, ‘It seems as though human kind is going mad!”

We seem to be acting like lemmings about to rush over a cliff to our deaths. At a political, cultural and social level distress is clearly identifiable as the good of humanity and the world is set aside.

I notice that the level of unrest is increasing, as people feel that they do not have a voice that can be heard. Whether it is a presidential election or a referendum people of all persuasions seem discontent and have a tendency to vote from that basis.

My observation is that when individuals feel a sustained awareness of peacelessness, then this is translated into their behaviour, leading to the polarisation of political, religious, cultural and social identity.

The media is now often consumed with life-limiting messages, which encourage fear and distrust. Humanity is calling out for positive, altruistic leadership. However, where can this be found?

Although the problems seem intractable, I believe there is hope.  Many people seem to be waking up and saying, ‘enough is enough’.

To tackle this, we need schools that seek to enable children to have a moral compass based on positive human values that can form the foundations for transformational change.  We need to encourage adults and children alike to have a meaning and purpose in their lives, acting with integrity.

I have seen over the last few years how Values-based education encourages the development of self-leadership in adults and children – so I know what a difference it can make. Such dynamic, soul-led leadership looks to fill our existential vacuum with meaning and purpose driven by integrity, sourced from positive human values. It has been a picture of hope for me to see

Values really can transform the reality in our schools and encourage outstanding leadership within them and I live in hope that more schools follow their lead.

On the 19th October 2018, Neil Hawkes joined as we hosted Headteachers & School Leaders from across the country for this new “Education for the Soul” Conference designed to help leaders to explore and discuss what matters most to them (their values, hopes and passion) and locate ways of leading that are aligned to themselves and their hope for their schools.

It is fair to say, the day was a very special one and a huge success with so many School Leaders and education professionals joining us for this. It was so wonderful to watch these individuals drop their leadership masks and come together, in service of one another and in service of shared hopes, dreams and ambitions for our children and our schools.

Following the success of this conference, every year we now host Headteachers & School Leaders for this special conference.

The next Education for the Soul” Conference will take place in October 2020 and will feature a new selection of expert speakers and workshop hosts, who will be sharing their insights into how School Leaders can look after their own well-being, get the most out of those they lead and deliver the best outcomes for their pupils.

The conference will aim to build on the outcomes of our previous “Education for the Soul” conferences and seek to explore how School Leaders and teachers can learn to lead with integrity, depth and purpose.

As part of this, we will look into how individuals can stay connected to their “why” and their deepest values. Above all, “Education for the Soul” 2020 will aim to help School Leaders and teachers:

– Foster a deep sense of vocation and purpose amongst all staff
– Increase their understanding of the relationship between school development and personal development
– Keep hope, joy passion, commitment and creativity at the heart of their school and relationships with self and others


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