Ratton is a Values School

Gemma Bryden
Gemma Bryden

Ratton Academy has become the first school in East Sussex to be officially labelled a Values School.

It has been accredited by The International Values Education Trust, a charity whose aim is to help schools improve the quality of their education through values-based principles.

For Ratton Academy students and staff, there are six key values: respect; responsibility; integrity; participation; excellence and enjoyment.

Gemma Bryden, senior lead for values at Ratton, said, “Everyone can talk about values and their importance, but here at Ratton these six aspects are key to everything that goes on.

“It’s not just talk, it is action and can be seen every day here in school. It has made a real difference to life in the academy. The actions which follow on from these six values have consequences, and those consequences are improved behaviour and higher levels of achievement.

“Students are rewarded when they show these values, and we believe that this will prepare them well for adult life, especially in terms of integrity.”

Ratton’s drive for this project began when deputy headteacher Anne Wardle had seen Doctor Hawkes – a former head teacher turned values guru – speak to a group of headteachers. She was inspired by his words and invited him to Ratton to meet staff during an Inset day in 2009.

His book From My Heart, Transforming Lives Through Values was published last week and Ratton school is used as an example of good practice.

Gemma said, A values-based school seeks to promote an educational philosophy based on valuing yourself, others and the environment. It gives children an educational vocabulary which helps them develop ethical and emotional intelligence. It’s also about understanding what they do and impact this has on other people.

“It is now at the heart of everything we do here at Ratton, right from the starting point of when we recruit staff, through to our curriculum and our daily expectations relating to performance and behaviour.

At Ratton we believe in ‘Achieving Together’ and having a values approach allows parents, students and all our staff share in a common aim. We believe in equality, in respect and self-respect and on challenging without being confrontational. Our values program is delivered through our Tutor activities, assemblies and taught curriculum.

In this year’s GCSE results, a third of all students taking Ethics scored A star or A grade - something Gemma believes is a reflection of values-based education.