Timpson to take on responsibility for ‘character and resilience'

By Jess Brown

| 02 June 2015

Children's minister Edward Timpson has been handed new responsibilities for boosting the ‘character and resilience' of young people and tackling bullying, the Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed.

Children's minister Edward Timpson is now responsible for improving "character and resilience" among children and young people. Picture: Alex Deverill

In addition to his previous responsibilities for child protection, the care system and special educational needs and disabilities, Timpson will take on responsibility for “character and resilience, including bullying, cadets and military ethos”, as well as school sport and personal, social and health education (PSHE).

Confirmation of ministerial portfolios for DfE ministers comes around three weeks after the general election delivered a Conservative majority in the House of Commons.

Details of Timpson’s new remit appears to confirm a new area of focus within the department.

At the weekend Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said that rugby coaches from premiership clubs will be drafted into schools to “instil character and resilience in disaffected children”, as part of the government’s “core mission to deliver real social justice”.

Morgan also announced that the PSHE Association will also receive £137,000 to develop and pilot a PSHE character curriculum to develop positive character traits in pupils.

Claude Knights, chief executive of anti-bullying charity Kidscape, says she welcomes Timpson’s new responsibilities, as “it shows that the DfE will be listening to the needs of pupils”.

She said “resilience” is an important area of work with young people because it can help put bullying “into a new perspective”.

“It’s about helping young people to build inner strength, and ways of coping with challenges,” she said.

“At the heart of the policy is ways of helping young people to develop confidence.”

Jon Boagey, acting chief executive at the National Youth Agency (NYA), said there needed to be co-ordination of policies relating to young people following the transfer of responsibility for youth work to the Cabinet Office.

“Government should establish a framework focused on the social and personal development of young people, which then co-ordinates with a range of departments over key policy issues,” he said.

“Young people need all departments to work together to support their development, not a piecemeal approach to policymaking.”

Childcare minister Sam Gyimah has been handed additional responsibilities for reducing child poverty, which previously sat with former Liberal Democrat schools minister David Laws under the previous coalition government, as well as responsibility for careers advice.

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