"Listen to your instincts, then have the courage to do what they're telling you."
It is one thing for a school to talk about values. It's another for a school to make them a living, breathing part of every aspect of school life in a way that transforms the entire community.
Such is the power of Values-based Education (VbE for short), something that Julie Rees brings to life in the schools she leads and why so many people flock to visit her school to see for themselves. And come away entirely moved by the experience.
Julie is an experienced and successful primary school leader who fully embraced the concept of Values-based education when she first came across it several years ago in her previous school. It totally transformed that school – a small village primary school – and she was then keen to apply such an approach in a more challenging environment, a large market town primary school with many issues relating to rural poverty and deprivation.
And it worked, transforming everything almost overnight.
The process in many ways is quite simple and starts with identifying seven core components to be followed across the school:
- Authentic modelling by adults of positive values
- Developing an 'inner curriculum' of thoughts, feelings and emotions
- Ongoing reflective practice
- The creation of the Values-based Education environment
- Building the Values-based Education curriculum
- Developing quality leadership
- The development of an ethical vocabulary
These components are embedded by taking any of a number of values - from honesty and friendship to trust and responsibility – and exploring them in depth and across the whole school on a month-by-month basis.
In this way they become embedded not only in the school but in every member of the community, making that community all the richer as a result.
An excellent speaker. Passionate about what she does and believes in. An example to us all – she made me cry
Excellent. What brilliant ideas and leadership
An inspiration to us all. Made me remember about positivity and having fun – Learning should be fun
Excellent presentation. Felt empowered by her – so much so that I bought her book
But there is more to Julie’s remarkable work than simply the effective application of Values-based Education in a challenging setting.
What she has achieved is to weave together an astonishingly wide variety of different strands that go towards creating a rich, challenging, vibrant and exciting curriculum that makes school life a joy and each day something to treasure.
From the use of Philosophy for Children strategies and peer massage in the classroom to Forest School approaches and free play outside, school is a place of stretch and wonder for all. There's even Bailey the school dog who is just what is needed when it comes to helping socially and emotionally challenged and nervous children find their true voice.
And to witness a whole-school assembly there is to be part of something incredibly moving, an event that connects the children and staff in a way that is spiritual and authentic.
All in all, Julie's many approaches hit all the right inspection and SATs buttons and they do so without in any way attempting to hit all the buttons.
What's more, building on her passion for helping people develop and doing it the right way, Julie is now developing her reputation for coaching and employing her passion to help people find theirs, and then come together as an effective, resilient team.
For an approach to education that is as heartwarming as it is effective, and an outlook on leadership that is all about being brave and walking the talk, then Julie is the ideal speaker you are looking for.
Julie has been with Independent Thinking for over 15 years
- You'll find her in our Leadership, Teaching and Learning and Well-Being topic areas
- You might also want to consider Floyd Woodrow or Simon Cooper Hind
- Ask about Julie's prices and current availability
- Remember, if you're looking to book more than one Associate then we can offer special 'bulk buy' discounts.
Make a booking, ask a question or just say hello.
Give us a call on +44 (0)1267 211432, drop us a line at email@example.com or hit the button.
Our office in lovely West Wales will then get in touch before you can say 'meddylwyr annibynnol'.