‘Developing children’s characters is an obligation on us all, not least on parents. Although parents are the primary educators of character, empirical research shows that they want all adults who have contact with their children to contribute to such education, especially their children’s teachers. The development of character is a process that requires the efforts of both the developing individual and the society and its schools. A society determined to enable its members to live well will treat character education as something to which every child has a right. Questions about the kinds of persons children will become, the contributions of good character to a flourishing life, and how to balance various virtues and values in this process are therefore salient concerns for all schools. Interest is now being shown in character across a variety of UK schools.

Human flourishing is the widely accepted goal of life. To flourish is not only to be happy, but to fulfil one’s potential. Flourishing is the aim of character education, which is critical to its achievement. Human flourishing requires moral, intellectual and civic virtues, excellence specific to diverse domains of practice or human endeavour, and generic virtues of self-management (known as enabling and performance virtues). All are necessary to achieve the highest potential in life. Character education is about the acquisition and strengthening of virtues: the traits that sustain a well-rounded life and a thriving society. Schools should aim to develop confident and compassionate students who are effective contributors to society, successful learners and responsible citizens.’

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues

‘I came that they might have life…life in all its fullness.’ John 10:10

As part of the renewal of the Church of England’s vision for education, The Diocese of Truro has initiated a Character Education project with a group of Church and Community schools to research the following questions:

What makes a truly ‘outstanding’ school outstanding in outcomes for all pupils and as a place where staff love to work? Once judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted how do you measure progress? What are the next challenges? The Aspire Multi Academy Trust are interested in a ‘curriculum charter.’

St Piran’s Cross Multi Academy Trust want to develop their wider curriculum to challenge higher attainers and vulnerable pupils to develop the character to flourish both academically and socially, emotionally and spiritually. If children are ‘immersed in a topic’ what difference does this make to their personal and academic development?

The Five Islands School, makes a virtue of its small co-horts to enrich the curriculum and make it immersive but how do they capitalise on this in terms of raising attainment across the 5 to 16 age-range?

Preparing children for the tests of life!

The aims of the project are to develop a curriculum that:

  • Prepares children for the tests of life NOT a life of tests!
  • Enables children to understand what it means to become a mature and reflective person
  • Teaches children the virtues that form a well-rounded life
  • Deliberately seeks to inspire disadvantaged children to persevere and succeed
  • Raises the aspirations of all pupils to make a difference to their local, national and international community in the future.

‘Education for life in all its fullness’

The First South West Dioceses Regional Conference exploring the impact of Character Education

The Character Education Project group will have a first opportunity to reflect on progress so far when they present at the regional conference in Exeter on 24th March. The keynote speakers will be Dr Tom Harrison of the Jubilee Centre and Rev’d Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer for the Church of England.

There are still places available at a cost of £50

Email Fran Bradley