England to become 'global leader' in teaching character and grit

Richard Vaughan

England is to become a “global leader” in teaching character, resilience and grit to students, education secretary Nicky Morgan is to announce today.

Under the plans, the government will make £3.5 million available to schools and other organisations that are already offering activities promoting character in young people.

It is hoped the move will place character education on a par with academic learning and comes just a week after shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt claimed research showed developing children’s resilience was more important than focusing “purely on good grades”.

It is also the second announcement around character education by Ms Morgan in just over a week. The education secretary has already pledged almost £4.8m in funding for eight projects that will instil a military ethos in students.

As part of today’s announcement, a further £1m is being made available for research to find the most effective ways that character can be taught, bringing the total funding for character education to nearly £10m.

Ms Morgan said that the policy would prepare young people for life in modern Britain “more than ever before”.

“The move is a landmark step for our education system,” she said. "It will cement our position as a global leader in teaching character and resilience and will send a clear signal that our young people are being better prepared than ever before to lead tomorrow’s Britain.”

The teaching of character, resilience and grit has been commonplace for some time in schools in Australia and in many US charter schools, most notably the Kipp (Knowledge is Power Program) charters.

The Education Endowment Foundation is to test the work of non-profit character education projects via school-based randomised control trials. According to the DfE, the evidence will be used to further develop approaches to character educations and “secure England’s place as a global leader” in character education.

Related stories:

Character and grit more important to success than grades, says Hunt - 8 December 2014

Tristram Hunt: Children should be taught 'grit and determination' in school - 12 February 2014

Former Number 10 policy guru to open chain of free schools based on 'knowledge and virtue' - 6 April 2014

'Mindfulness' courses for pupils being considered by government, minister reveals - 12 March 2014 


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Richard Vaughan

Richard has been writing about politics, policy and technology in education for nearly five years after joining TES in 2008. He joined TES from the building press having been a reporter and then later news editor at the Architects’ Journal. Before then he studied at Cardiff University’s school of journalism. Richard can be found tweeting at @richardvaughan1

Find me on Twitter @RichardVaughan1

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