Holistic Competence

Neil Hawkes on Personal Holistic Competence

Aureus Secondary School’s Inner Curriculum Suite, Oxfordshire

Values-based Education is a transformational approach to teaching and learning that works with positive human values chosen by the school’s community. It creates an ethos that enhances academic attainment, and develops pupils’ social and relational skills that last throughout their lives.

A calm and purposeful learning environment is achieved by values being consciously modelled by all teaching and support staff throughout the school. It liberates teachers and students from the stress of confrontational relationships, which frees up substantial teaching and learning time.

I have found that schools that are explicitly values-based, such as Aureus Secondary School in Didcot, Oxfordshire (photo above), develop what I have termed personal holistic competence (PHC). This transformative dimension is a person’s capacity to be at ease with themselves; be self-led, acting appropriately when meeting the daily multidimensional challenges, which are experienced in our complex world. This overarching personal competence cannot be measured, as can technical competencies (e.g. numeracy and literacy), but is demonstrated by people problem solving in complex situations in the real world. People with PHC tend to live their lives by behaving from a code of conduct based on human values such as respect, compassion and trust. Values-based schools develop this vital 21st century competence, which is so necessary for effective learning; personal well being and resilience.

Schools become places where pupils experience positive values in the context or real life experiences. They learn how to apply and talk about values appropriately becoming self-motivated and confident learners as they develop personal holistic competence.

For more information about how to develop PHC read: