As a values-led organisation identifying our values is an important part of defining our culture. Our values are key to our purpose and underpin all that we do.
At our first head teachers’ conference, under our current CEO, it was recognised by the collective leadership that bringing our two separate charities (UCST and ULT) under one name would further embed the unique nature of our Group of straddling the private and independent state sectors. The name that was agreed on was United Learning.
This decision presented a unique opportunity to revisit our Group values. So, it was in January 2012 that a working party (made up of head teachers and senior executives from Central Office) was set up to identify and define the values that brought the best of both charities together under United Learning.
The working party’s first task was to audit the existing values already in place across the Group. Some schools had deeply held values that had been in existence for a long time, some had recently developed their values engaging all staff and others had no explicit values at all. Once the working party had this information, they took all the school-based values and clustered these into key themes.
After circulating these themes and the associated words to all schools, colleagues were asked to vote on which words best defined the theme. This essentially produced a ‘shortlist’ of words that represented the themes.
Finally, every member of staff and every pupil was balloted on this shortlist to select the winning values. Hundreds of staff and thousands of pupils participated. Given the pupil population size, the selected words were strongly influenced by the collective pupil voice and tended to be simple, clear words that had strong meaning for them.
The resulting United Learning Values were confirmed later in 2012:
- Ambition – to achieve the best for ourselves and others;
- Confidence – to have the courage of our convictions and to take risks in the right cause;
- Creativity – to imagine possibilities and make them real;
- Respect – for ourselves and others in all that we do;
- Enthusiasm – to seek opportunity, find what is good and pursue talents and interests;
- Determination – to overcome obstacles and reach success.