Labour to urge schools to build pupils’ character and resilience
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt is to suggest that schools should focus on building pupils’ character and resilience.
At a conference run by the think-tank Demos, Mr Hunt is expected to say: “Winston Churchill was bang on when he said failure is not fatal and it is the courage to continue that counts […] As our young people face growing rivalry for jobs, high-status apprenticeships and the best university places, it becomes more and more important for schools to coach pupils about character.”
Demos has been running a number of pilot projects to find the most effective method for injecting the teaching of character into the curriculum, focusing in particular on white working-class pupils.
The programmes lay emphasis on activities such as sport, social action and volunteering and their impact on pupils’ resilience, claimed the chief executive of Demos, Claudia Wood.
Ms Wood commented: “People might call it grit, resilience or skills for the 21st century, but there is a growing consensus from all parties that character matters, and that policymakers can help develop it from childhood.”
However, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) claims that schools are already focusing on many of these areas.
Policy director Leora Cruddas argued: “Good character education involves a philosophy of teaching. Young people learn not only from what we tell them, but in more subtle and complex ways.”