Character Education: Special Report

Policymakers, educators and children's professionals are developing new ways to help young people learn and hone the positive character traits they need to overcome life's challenges and be good citizens.

Research shows the vast majority of school leaders and teachers see character development as a vital part of a child's education.

It is widely accepted there are many benefits to children developing good character traits, such as resilience, perseverance, honesty, dignity, integrity and respect, but how that is best taught is open to debate and interpretation.

Most primaries and secondaries have adopted whole-school approaches to developing the character of pupils through fostering a culture and ethos that embodies the positive traits they want to promote. Others have introduced character education lessons into the curriculum or created extra-curricular activities that provide opportunities for young people to develop new skills that are important for future success.

Youth organisations are also vital in offering young people access to activities, such as volunteering and social action, to build on and enhance what they learn in school. Many are now working in partnership with schools to develop bespoke character development programmes, as are specialist character education providers.

Character education is firmly on the agenda of government, with a raft of policy announcements made earlier in the year and the issue being given greater prominence in Ofsted's new education inspection framework.

CYP Now's special report on character education looks at latest research evidence, outlines key policy developments on the issue and profiles four examples of good practice of character education interventions.

Click on each link for more:

Policy context

Research Evidence:

Social Mobility, Chance or Choice?

Character Education in UK Schools

Leading Character Education in Schools

Achievement for All, Social Impact Assessment Report

Practice Examples:

Sea Cadets helps inner-city children overcome adversity

Ex-forces personnel support children to build character

School pledges to boost life skills through volunteering

Character development scheme targets those at Neet risk

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