Neil Hawkes promotes the Educational Philosophy of Valuing, and its practical application, Values-based Education (VbE), which is transforming Society. He is the Founder of VbE. He currently works as an international educational consultant to promote VbE throughout the world.
Early Career (to 1993)
Neil Hawkes’s early career encompassed teaching in the UK, two headships, and educational leadership in county education authorities. He was the Chief Adviser (1989-1993) of the Isle of Wight Education Service. During his this period, he became aware of the need for values education and the potential impact it could have on schools and education in general.
1993-2000 : The Birth of VbE
Neil decided to investigate his new ideas, through a D.Phil at Oxford University, researching and developing an evidence-base for his developing theories. His research helped to mould his ideas into what was to become Values-based Education (VbE).
Concurrently with his academic work at Oxford he worked as Head of West Kidlington Primary School Primary School in Oxfordshire. Here, together with a highly supportive staff and governors, he introduced VbE for the first time. The impact was startling, exactly as predicted by his research. Within a few years, the school had embedded VbE, and the pupils had acquired the personal and social competences that VbE develops. West Kidlington School won national and international recognition for its outstanding work in Values-based Education and became the ‘gold standard’ for the development of values education in Australia.
2000-2008 : The spread of VbE
The impact was apparent to other schools in the area, and the local authority asked Neil to help develop VbE in other schools in Oxfordshire. As new schools developed VbE, their neighbours saw the impact and in turn introduced VbE. The work spread to other areas such as Bedfordshire and Herefordshire as VbE developed organically, through schools seeing the impact at neighbours’ schools and choosing to adopt it themselves. By 2016, we estimate that between 10-15% of schools in the UK will describe themselves as VbE schools. VbE has also spread abroad, and is practiced at schools throughout the world. It is a testament to Neil’s concepts and ideals that that this has all been achieved with no funding or outside support whatsoever.
Neil left West Kiddlington in 2000, and became Senior Adviser for Oxfordshire in the UK until 2005 when he became an international education consultant. He had responsibility for sustainable school improvement, based on his values philosophy. In October 2007, Neil was the keynote speaker at the 9th National Education Conference in the Seychelles. During December 2007 he supported the development of values-based schools by Bond Zonder Naam in Belgium.
2008-Present : IVET and the internationalisation of VbE
In 2008 Neil founded the UK charity International Values-based Education Trust (IVET), which he continues to lead today, whose objectives are the promotion of Values-based Education throughout the world. During recent years, Neil has worked in Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Cyprus, France, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Lebanon, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, The Seychelles, Sweden, Spain, UAE, USA and the UK. In 2006 and 2007, he was the keynote speaker at the Australian Government’s National Values Education Forum. He has briefed officials at 10 Downing Street and MPs at the House of Commons and Lords in the UK. In June 2007, he was invited to speak at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
In May 2008, Neil continued his support of the development of Values Education in Australia. That year he was the guest speaker at the International Conference on Values Education held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In March 2009, Neil was the Keynote Speaker at national conferences for New Zealand’s Secondary and Primary Principals. In April 2009, Neil was the Keynote Speaker at the National Parents’ Forum in Tasmania, Australia. In September 2010 Neil was invited to Darwin to inspire parents and teachers at a major education forum. In March 2011 he worked with educators in Iceland before returning for another working tour of Australia and New Zealand. In 2012 he worked in Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Holland and Singapore. In 2013 he supported the UAE’s initiative to be the world’s first values driven country. In 2014 he returned to Sweden and Iceland to further embed VbE. He also made his first visit to Central America working in El Salvador. Neil is one of the UK’s National Education Trust’s (NET) Leading Thinkers and a visiting Fellow of Bristol University. Neil’s has written a practical values book for educators called How to inspire and develop values in the classroom (LDA Cambridge). He was a major contributor to the International Research Handbook on Values Education and Student Wellbeing (2010) published by Springer. Neil’s inspirational book published in September 2013 is called, From My Heart: Transforming Lives through Values. It is becoming the seminal work on the impact and instruction on effective engagement with values for schools, local government, commercial entities and regional and national institutions seeking improved, sustainable and long-term benefits from their activities.
Neil is well known as an inspirational speaker and a leading thinker in education. He is an author, broadcaster and contributor to magazines, academic journals and periodicals. In 1996, he worked with a group of international educators at UNICEF headquarters in New York, USA, to found Living Values, which has been adopted by so many school and community systems affected by trauma.In April 2018 he gave a TEDx presentation about VbE which received popular acclaim.