Here’s a snapshot of character education at Kehelland Primary School in Cornwall. We encourage children to lay the foundation of a good character by creating an arena in which the systematic teaching of virtues such as honesty, respect, perseverance and responsibility are accompanied by opportunities to practice and apply these skills at school, at home and in the community.
At the start of each term we choose the 6 character qualities or virtues that we will explore with the children over the 12 week term. Staff meetings often begin with a virtues pick so that the teachers have a chance to explore and reflect on the virtues themselves. As a result of this:
- Teachers plan and deliver a daily 15 minute class assembly with a character / virtue development focus.
- Children choose a virtue that they are strong in, and a virtue that they wish to grow in. These character targets are displayed at the beginning of each term in the class and shared with parents.
- Each child has a home school diary which records virtues acknowledgements as a written note or using child-designed character stickers like Kind Kangaroo, Flexible Friend, Crown of Courtesy etc.
- Character role-plays created by the children are often used in whole school assemblies.
- Each class is provided with a Virtue Box where children can post a Virtues Voucher as an acknowledgement of the virtues that they see in others. These are shared out in circle time as a form of peer assessment that also keeps the class teacher informed of the extent to which virtues are having an impact upon character and attitude traits.
- Lunchtime supervisors award a virtues-based acknowledgement card to at least 4 children per day; each child then presents their card to the class teacher, ensuring a positive start to the afternoon lessons.
- Teachers use character to set boundaries in the class and outside of school – for instance prior to a school trip the children will volunteer which virtues should be practised.
- The virtue of service is becoming integral to school life -recently our children have enhanced their understanding of service by visiting hospices and a memory clinic to perform as a school choir and ukulele orchestra.
- Increased levels of student wellbeing have led to our school having the highest attendance of any school in the area and our children routinely achieve 20-50% above the national average in literacy, maths and science.
- Our children seem to flourish when they move on to secondary school. Secondary staff report that our children are noted for their maturity, level of achievement and calm, friendly demeanour.
I hope this gives you a brief overview of the impact of character education and development at our school!