'Good character is the foundation for improved attainment and human flourishing'
What is Character Education?
The goal of character education is the good life: one in which we can flourish as human beings, achieve our potential and live meaningfully and harmoniously in communities with others. The pathway to this is the acquisition and development of virtues and it is the virtues we have acquired which go to make up our character. A virtue is the ability to act in a particular way in a specific situation to bring about a good outcome and it can be broken down as follows:
Virtues such as courage, kindness, persistence, love of learning and self-discipline are all around us – to varying degrees – in us and in the lives of the people we know. When we have acquired a virtue, we become able to manage our emotions and give reasons for why we choose a particular course of action; we learn to deliberate and assume much more control over how we act in the circumstances we face.
Virtues can be divided usefully into five domains:
- Moral Virtue: the ability to make choices that uphold the good for ourselves and our communities;
- Civic Virtue: the virtues that enable us to live successfully and harmoniously in groups, communities and societies;
- Intellectual Virtue: the virtues that enable us to solve intellectual problems and become more technically skilful;
- Performance Virtue: virtues such as resilience that enable us to get things done;
- Spiritual Virtue: the virtues that encourage deep thinking and personal reflection
Each virtue has a clear place in our school, and each matters in particular circumstances. Children are introduced to (and revisit) our character virtues over a period of two years (one a month), and they are encouraged to consider what each virtue means to them, their families and friends, and how they see those virtues being demonstrated in the world around them. We hope that by promoting a reflective approach to personal qualities, children will develop an understanding of the importance of individual behaviour and how it helps to shape the community in which they live and work.
Below is the complete list of key character qualities identified by the DfE with an indication of whether they are performance (P), moral (M), intellectual (I), civic (C), spiritual (S) virtues: