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Our pupils are not 'snowflakes', says Damian Hinds

Education secretary pledges drive on 'character education' in schools

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Education secretary pledges drive on 'character education' in schools

Today's pupils are not the fragile "snowflakes" they are often presented to be, the education secretary has said.

Damian Hinds said that he did not recognise the term, and that children today have "much more confidence, ambition and gumption" than when he was a child.

Mr Hinds was speaking at the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership conference in London this morning, where he set out a new drive to help schools in character building

“When I go to visit schools, I don’t recognise this word 'snowflakes', I don’t recognise that in the young people I meet," he said.

"The young people I meet on my visits to schools are compassionate, civic-minded and hardworking… when I compare you and your peers to who I was at your age, my classmates and I, you have so much more confidence, ambition and gumption than we ever did."

In his speech, Mr Hinds indicated that the Department for Education would be reviving the "character education" agenda pursued by his predecessor, Nicky Morgan. 

He said he would be assembling an "advisory group" on "how best we can support schools in their efforts to build character".

The group, which will be made up of "leaders and experts in the field", and people from "the arts, sports and the voluntary sector", would report their recommendations in September with a view to implementing them next year.

Mr Hinds said that the group would develop "a set of benchmarks for schools to use so they can deliver their own approach to developing character, to assess themselves on how they’re doing", modelled on the Gatsby benchmarks for careers guidance. 

He also said the group would look at whether schools can be "recognised or accredited" for the work they do in building character. 

And Mr Hinds said the DfE would "reintroduce the National Character Awards that were started by my colleague Nicky Morgan".

"These will celebrate school programmes that develop a wide range of character traits including conscientiousness, drive and perseverance... and actions like service to your community."



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