I’m excited to have been invited to contribute to the development of a National Framework for Character Education being held at Windsor Castle in July in recognition of Kehelland School’s pioneering use of virtues education!

Here’s an overview of the National Framework Process:

If character virtues are considered to be good human qualities then the acquisition of these virtues ought to be a goal of education. Every educational institution by its relations between staff, staff and pupils, organisation and discipline unconsciously models a set of values to its pupils. Far better that this process should be a conscious one, rationally organised, so that it is possible to examine what the school is saying, how it says it, and hopefully to monitor the outcomes of the process. It is for this reason we propose the development of a new national framework for character education to be used in schools. The framework will detail how character education might be delivered in the classroom, curriculum, culture and community of a school.

Overview of the consultation
In 2013 the Jubilee Centre for Character and Values will run a eight month consultation with the aim of developing a new framework for character education in British schools. The framework will have clear links to the national curriculum and seek to inform all areas of school practice. Experts from a variety of fields, including education, policy, business and the voluntary sector, will be invited to join the consultation. The discussions, findings and recommendations of the consultation will be written up to create a new framework for character education in schools. The framework will be accompanied by as set of practical guidance on how best to implement it.

There seems to be a call for the renewal of public and private virtues. We appear to want to change people for the better and so improve the quality of public life. Yet in Britain today, we live in a pluralistic society in which our values appear to be constantly changing and in which children are presented with all kinds of models and exposed to all kinds of opinions about right and wrong.

For some, this appears to necessitate a content-based moral education curriculum that many others have rejected as too problematic. It is not surprising that most academic discussions of moral or character education have been rife with controversy, with constant disputes about definitions and methods. There is also a debate between those who say that government should promote virtue in its citizens, and those who say that the term is too pejorative to be used in a pluralist democratic society. The latter often neglect that government action, and in fact all public policy, is ultimately concerned with, and informed by, questions of how we should live our lives and the type of citizens we should be.

It is for this reason the Jubilee Centre for Character and Values propose the development of a new national framework for character education to be used in schools. Experts from a variety of fields, including education, policy, business and the voluntary sector, as well as young people themselves, will be invited to join a series of meetings exploring questions such as what is the case for a national framework for moral education and what should be in a national framework for character education?

The discussions, findings and recommendations of the consultation will be written up to create a National Framework for Character Education, which will have clear links to the national curriculum and will be accompanied by clear, practical guidelines on how character education might be delivered in the classroom, curriculum, culture and community of a school.

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