Values Ethos & Culture

What kind of school are we?

What are our expectations of behaviour towards each other?

How well do our curriculum and teaching develop resilience and confidence?

How good is our curriculum?

How well do we promote the value of volunteering and service to others?

How do we ensure that all our pupils benefit equally from what we offer?

About Us

Year 7 Link Evening

At Barking Abbey, we lead a distinctive learning community, and we purposefully and explicitly prioritise the development of student character and academic accomplishments in equal measure, so that our students flourish as socially aware, skilled citizens equipped to take their place on the world stage. We have 3 key aims at Barking Abbey. We want our pupils to Belong, to Aspire and to Succeed. Belonging is about being part of an inclusive community that celebrates all faiths, all interests.  We see character as being a key part of belonging; Learning to work together, to be kind, to help others, to never give up and to celebrate each other’s achievements. We talk a lot about character at Barking Abbey and it is the blood that runs through our veins.

Central to our ethos are the school’s 4-character strengths, they represent the core values that we are committed to developing at our school, Bravery, Excellence, Self-Discipline, and Teamwork, underpinned by our motto: To Give and Expect the Best. Our bespoke programme of character education provides students the space to practise these positive character habits alongside their academic study, balancing the two elements to create a full and rounded educational experience.  We believe that when we understand what a good life looks and feels like, when we value others enough to purposefully enable their own character development, then together, we’ll flourish. Students are taught to give and expect the best through our programme The BEST Habits which also underpin our core values and expectations.

To establish the highest possible standard of moral conduct at Barking Abbey School, we use our ethos and vision to develop moral reasoning, self-control, and respect for others, by encouraging students to see the values behind the rules with the emphasis being on following the rules because it’s the right thing to do. This encourages students to demonstrate the school’s character strengths actively thereby ensuring the school is a warm, caring, friendly and happy place where learning can flourish. We believe that student behaviour should be excellent and that every lesson should be characterised by a relentless focus on learning, free from distractions. Every student and every member of staff should be able to feel relaxed and happy, confident that their working environment is one where people are kind, courteous and respectful always.

 Aristotle wrote “We are what we habitually do.” The habits that children learn and practice when they are growing up follow them into adulthood. Just as a school can be a place where each student can flourish academically, we believe that a school can also be a place where a child practises habits of Bravery, Excellence, Self-Discipline, and Teamwork to enable them to make the right choice at the right time for the right reason. Our core purpose of developing character is planned and active, we have a purposeful pastoral and academic curriculum that seeks to ensure that our learners develop cultural capital and good habits so that they do the right thing at the right time, for the right reasons.

At Barking Abbey, we actively develop the character of our pupils, we ensure that it is caught, taught and sought. Our Pastoral and Academic curriculum acknowledges the importance of pupil wider personal development and their opportunities to grow as active, healthy and engaged citizens. The curriculum provided attempts to extend beyond the academic, technical or vocational to support pupils to develop in many diverse aspects of life.

On March 2022 Barking Abbey School was awarded the Character Kitemark+ for its Personal Development and Character Education Programme. We are the only school in East London to have received this. Barking Abbey is now officially a School of Character.

The Pastoral Curriculum at Barking Abbey

Our Pastoral Curriculum focuses on developing responsible, respectful and active citizens. It promotes equality of opportunity within an inclusive environment. It actively develops pupils’ character, giving them the qualities, they need to flourish in society. We seek to actively develop pupil confidence and resilience so that they can keep themselves mentally happy and we also teach modules that prepare pupils for the next phase of their education/life.

Our approach provides students with the assistance and structure for attaining long term success in all areas of their life, preparing them for their future roles as global citizens. Through the course of these teaching, we see improvements in wellbeing and mental health and in their academic performance.

Taught Modules:

  • Leadership – How to be a leader – Bespoke modules for each year group
  • My Life, my future – Bespoke careers programme for each year group
  • Mental Health is everyone’s business – Bespoke modules for each year group
  • Building Resilience – Bespoke modules for each year group
  • Why is Character important?
  • Speak well to write well – Bespoke modules for each year group

Character in the Pastoral Curriculum

Best Character Journal

Best Achievement Awards


The Academic Curriculum at Barking Abbey

Our aim at Barking Abbey is to enable students to achieve their best and to allow the widest range of career and further education opportunities to remain open, up to and beyond the school leaving age. Teaching and Learning is built around the “B.A. Way” (see Figure 1) and the BEST habits (see Figure 2) which drive our core values. Character Education is at the forefront of what we do, encouraging resilience that will help pupils to cope with choices and overcome the challenges they are likely to encounter in life. 

Figure 1

Figure 2


Character in the Academic Curriculum

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