Vale Values is a subject that embodies all statutory elements of Citizenship, PSHE, RSE and Fundamental British Values, helping students develop into mature, healthy, responsible citizens in a well-balanced way. Students develop skills to become effective individuals, motivated learners and active members of their local/global community. Taught three times a week during form time, Vale Values nurtures a love of learning, resilience, integrity, critical thinking and independence. It prepares students for the world of work and supports them in developing entrepreneurial skills and financial awareness. Vale Values heavily promotes literacy too, offering numerous opportunities to read, write and express oneself orally.
The department is led by Mr Wilson whose Vale Values colleagues include the whole pastoral team of form tutors, harnessing their experience, youthful spirit and impressive professional qualifications in a friendly, ambitious collective. The Vale Values curriculum evolves and adapts to flux, reflecting our ever-changing, dynamic social and political climate.
The Vale Values team receives resources well in advance of their designated Vale Values form times. In this way, Vale Values provides a platform for engaging, challenging lessons with supportive feedback. Regular half-termly assessments aim to support and motivate our students to achieve their full potential.
The bespoke programme of study for Darwen Vale High School is based on three core themes. All year groups study the same theme at exactly the same time, although the level of sophistication and challenge increases with each successive year. As form tutors get to know their form groups, they are able to differentiate even further, tailoring Vale Values for specific individuals within their cohorts according to their individual learning needs. The three core PSHE themes reflect the PSHE Association Curriculum guidelines and are as follows:
Core theme 1. Health and Wellbeing
This core theme includes:
1. how to maintain excellent mental and physical health.
2. The dangers associated with drugs, alcohol and smoking.
3. CPR, medical emergencies and first aid.
4. road safety, firework safety, internet safety.
5. age-related physical and mental issues associated with puberty.
6. dangers of open water.
7. how to identify and access appropriate advice and support.
8. cancer, AIDS, obesity, self-harming, addiction and other medical conditions.
Core theme 2. Relationships
This core theme focuses on:
1. how to develop and maintain a variety of healthy relationships within a range of social/cultural contexts and to develop parenting skills.
2. how to recognise and manage emotions within a range of relationships.
3. how to deal with risky or negative relationships including all forms of bullying (including the distinct challenges posed by online bullying) and abuse, sexual and other violence and online encounters.
4. reinforcing the idea of consent in a variety of contexts (including in sexual relationships).
5. managing loss including bereavement, separation and divorce.
6. reinforcing respect for each other, equality and being a productive member of a diverse community.
7. how to identify and access appropriate advice and support about the above.
Core theme 3. Living in the Wider World
This core theme includes:
1. rights and responsibilities as members of diverse communities, as active citizens and participants in the local and national economy.
2. how to make informed choices and nurture enterprise and ambition.
3. how to develop employability, teamwork and leadership skills and develop flexibility and resilience.
4. learning about the economic and business environment.
5. how personal financial choices can affect oneself and others and about rights and responsibilities as consumers.
The PSHE Association states on its website: “As the world changes, each new edition of this programme of study identifies new or emerging issues.” With this in mind, the Vale Values programme of study is updated and amended frequently, especially with regard to political issues and digital developments. Coronavirus has been particularly influential in this regard, resulting in amendments such as extra mental well-being resources and personal hygiene presentations.
Finally, Vale Values aims to cover national and world events in a timely, cohesive way. Key messages are reinforced as a result and cross-curricular links are made, especially with History and English. For example:
Vale Values firework safety resources are provided the week before bonfire night. These messages are reiterated in school assemblies.
Armistice week is accompanied by the relevant Vale Values power points too, again reinforced during assemblies that week.
LGBTQ+ week in February is covered by two Vale Values lessons across all year groups.
Year 10 study human rights during Human Rights Week.
Vale Values Careers resources for all year groups accompany National Careers Week in March.
Extra Careers provision is given to year 9 when choosing their options.