The Character Curriculum – Flourishing for Life: A taught course of character education for primary and secondary schools

Character Education in the UK Character education has received considerable attention within British educational debate over the last decade, most recently becoming a key objective in Ofsted’s new framework for schools. This recent inclusion in the Ofsted framework, under the personal development heading, requires schools to profile the activities and opportunities they are offering for... Continue Reading →


United Academy 92: Delivering education that is more than a qualification

“This idea that it can’t be taught as well – you can’t become tougher and have a better character and personality and more resilient – it can be.”Gary Neville The ‘Class of 92’ a term most English football fans have come to associate with the all-conquering Sir Alex Ferguson Manchester United team of the 1990s... Continue Reading →

Is Character Really Just a Matter of Moral Intuitions?

Jonathan Haidt’s Social Intuitionist Model (SIM) is an innovative, popular scientific theory of morality that challenges character-based understandings of moral behavior. The SIM suggests that morality is primarily an intuitive process. It follows the well-evidenced dual process model of psychology, which specifies that we process our circumstances in two modes: a fast, automatic, unreflective cognitive-emotional... Continue Reading →

Virtues in Time Travel

Photo: Scholars from the disciplines of education, psychology and religious studies examine fragments of the Genizah, Cambridge University Library, February 2019. Those acquainted with character education will know that it is, in essence, nothing new. Indeed, the earliest surviving texts in many world cultures often concern virtues and how they should be acquired by the... Continue Reading →

Traditions at Christmas

This weekend marks the beginning of Advent and, for many, the start of the Christmas season in earnest (though I may have already indulged in an early mince pie or two and the occasional Starbucks ‘seasonal’ drink). This weekend, I’ll be putting up the tree, starting my advent calendar and looking forward to the many... Continue Reading →

Is Character all in the Genes?

A potentially serious threat to the ideas of character development and character education seems to have materialised with the publication of Robert Plomin’s much-publicised book, Blueprint (London: Allen Lane, 2018). The author has featured on BBC’s HardTalk and in a special BBC programme on character education, arguing for an extreme form of genetic determinism regarding... Continue Reading →

Happiness is a Good Book

The mental health and well being of young people is increasingly becoming an educational priority. Recognising that there is now greater awareness of the importance of good mental health in educational settings, Damian Hinds stated in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference this month that mental health education would be introduced in schools ‘over... Continue Reading →

Gender Inequality and the Role of Character

The media storm surrounding the #MeToo campaign has been a catalyst for discussions on issues of sexual abuse, gender violence and pay inequality. In the mainstream media, feminism has moved out of the shadows and become a hot topic, triggering intense and often polarising debate. This has not come from nowhere; the #MeToo campaign is... Continue Reading →

Ofsted, Inspections, and the Turn to Character

The University of Birmingham School’s (UoBS) bespoke character education programme has been singled out for praise after the first Ofsted inspection (May, 2018). In the report, Ofsted highlighted the School’s focus on ‘character education’ and recognised that the programme ensures that leaders promote pupils’ personal development well. Ofsted go on to report that ‘the development... Continue Reading →

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