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27/01/2017

What exactly is ‘character education’?

You’ve probably come across the phrase ‘character education’ over the past couple of years, as it’s risen to become a top priority for the Department for Education in UK schools.

Character itself is hard enough to define. Does it mean having a tough personality? Being likeable? Or having the skills to get along with people?

It’s even harder to pinpoint what exactly character education means – especially as there are an infinite number of ways to try to teach it.

This academic year we’ve created a measurable framework for character education, launching our own Character Curriculum in schools.

Working with education specialists, we’ve created a programme to maximise character-building, based on our ‘RESPECT’ model:

Resilience
Empathy
Self-Awareness
Passion
Excellence
Communication
Teamwork

To us, a combination of these seven factors is the true meaning of character.

Our Character Curriculum includes modules for a full school year from Year 3 through to Year 6. Lessons cover the achievements of some amazing people like Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Ed Stafford and Kira Salak – explorers who demonstrated unrivalled resilience and passion to reach their goals.

By transforming the playground into the Amazon Rainforest, terrain of Mount Everest or even the Arctic Circle, we encourage pupils to explore some enormous feats of perseverance. We have developed outdoor challenges that require them to make hard decisions, accept responsibility for their actions and value one another as team mates.

But – and it’s a big but – how do we know if it’s working?

Character might be difficult to measure, but with schools already seeing improvements in behaviour and attainment – with the help of our unique online measurement tool and data dashboard – we’re certainly on the right track.

We’ll report back in the summer as pupils on our Character Curriculum reach the end of their first year.