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Character Education

Character education is more than a subject: it’s learning to be a good person and a positive contributor to society.

Character education is not a standalone National Curriculum subject, and there’s no fixed way in which it can be delivered. At Oaklands we promote children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. This falls under the umbrella of ‘Character Education’.

The principles of character

Character education can be defined as ‘the implicit and explicit activities that help young people to develop positive personal strengths, called virtues.’ Examples of positive personal character strengths or virtues include honesty, resilience, courage, perseverance and compassion. The aim of Character Education is to equip children and young people to lead flourishing lives, by supporting them to develop these traits.

The key principles are:

  • A good life is one in which a person develops and practises virtues.
  • Character can be caught, taught and sought.
  • Character traits develop through habits.

How character education benefits children

It goes without saying that all children benefit from developing strong character virtues. Put simply, it helps children decide on the kind of person they wish to become. Character education is intended to furnish children with certain qualities, skills and traits. These include self-belief, motivation, persistence, self-control, and coping skills, which help them bounce back after a disappointment or setback, along with virtues like compassion, curiosity, civility and determination.

As well as giving them a good foundation for their future lives, character education can improve children’s school experience.

Children who receive character education have been shown to have fewer absences from school, and show greater emotional wellbeing and lower levels of distress.

The Education Secretary set out five key areas that help children develop good character:

  • Sport
  • Creativity
  • Performing
  • Volunteering and membership
  • The world of work

Character education is also delivered through activities such as circle time, assemblies, school councils, buddy schemes, community projects, and lunchtime or after-school clubs.

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