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Welcome and thanks to our guests from North Macedonia who have been with us this week discussing #charactereducation theory and practice, and exploring opportunities for future collaborations @unibirmingham @UoBSCharacter @UoBSchool @UNICEFMK @BenjaminPerks https://t.co/0hITRHtUWU

Quote of the week

Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.R. J. Palacio

Centre Hosts Macedonian Ministerial Delegation and UNICEF Macedonia

14/06/19

On the 12th - 14th June 2019, the Jubilee Centre hosted a three-day knowledge sharing event for a delegation of Macedonian ministers, including the Minister of Education and Science, Arber Ademi, and the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Mila Carovska. The delegation included staff from UNICEF Macedonia, teachers and academics interested in implementing character education in their practice. Discussions across the three days focussed on the Jubilee Centre’s approach to character education and its current research, methods for evaluating character education and impacting policy. The delegation were also able to see a school dedicated to character with a visit to the University of Birmingham School. The Minister of Education and Science and the Minister of Labor and Social Policy met with Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor of the University, along with Jubilee Centre Director Professor James Arthur and Director of Strategic Initiatives Aidan Thompson, on the morning of Friday 14th June; the Vice Chancellor was particularly interested to hear about the work on character education in Macedonia. This visit represents a continuation of the Centre’s partnership with UNICEF in Macedonia, with Jubilee Centre staff having previously visited Skopje to deliver workshops on character education to teachers and pupils

From left: Benjamin Perks, Jubilee Centre Senior Fellow; Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham; Mila Carovska, Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Macedonia; Arber Ademi, Minister of Education and Science, Macedonia; Professor James Arthur, Director of the Jubilee Centre

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Professor Randall Curren Presents Jubilee Centre Seminar

03/06/19

Professor Randall Curren, Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rochester and Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Jubilee Centre, delivered a Jubilee Centre seminar entitled ‘Civic Virtue and Friendship in Aristotle’s Politics’ on 3rd May 2019. Professor Curren discussed the necessity of Politics in formulating Aristotle’s conception of civic virtue and friendship, highlighting its value in providing knowledge about cultivating the virtues essential to members of a society living well together. The handout from Professor Curren's presentation is available to view here.

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Character - Call for Evidence

28/05/19

In his speech on 7 February, Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, made a number of commitments including the establishment of an advisory group to make recommendations on the best ways schools and others can build character in children and young people.

Ian Bauckham CBE, the Chair of the Character Advisory Group, issued a call for evidence on 27th May on behalf of the advisory group. The group is seeking views on the development of character and resilience, the nature of different character-building activities provided to children and young people and what works best to improve outcomes.

The call for evidence is accessible on the DfE online system at www.education.gov.uk/consultations. This will be an important opportunity for you to share your views and inform the recommendations the advisory group will be making to the Secretary of State. The call for evidence will close on Friday, 5 July.

If you have an enquiry about the call for evidence, please contact the secretariat to the character advisory group at Character.CONSULTATION@education.gov.uk.

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Jubilee Centre Hosts Student and Teacher Workshop in Berlin

23/05/19

On Thursday 23rd May 2019, the Jubilee Centre hosted a one day workshop at Canisius College, Berlin in collaboration with the College and the Centre for Ignatian Pedagogy. Jubilee Centre staff delivered a series of lectures and lessons for attending sixth form students and their teachers from Canisius College and partner schools from Mainz, Bonn and Hamburg. The workshop introduced the A Framework for Character Education in Schools and illustrated how the concept of character can be taught and discussed explicitly within students’ lessons.

Teachers and students attended lectures and took part in discussions concerning the aims of education, how character can be caught, taught and sought in schools, as well as the importance of Cyber-Wisdom. During the lessons, students developed their understanding of virtue, responded to moral dilemmas and were provided with opportunities to relate their learning to their own lives. Teachers had the opportunity to attend the lessons alongside students in order to further their understanding of taught character education.

 

Photo: Director of Education, Dr. Tom Harrison, poses the question: 'Whose responsibility is it to ensure people act morally online?

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Director Gives Key Talk at Dinner in Government Offices in Berlin

23/05/19

Professor James Arthur was invited to give a talk on character education and policy at a dinner in Berlin attended by the Director General of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as well as important figures from the Federal Chancellery, business, publishing and the voluntary sector. The participants discussed character education with Professor Arthur and expressed considerable interest in the various dimensions of the subject. Voluntary bodies attending included the Director of the Herts Foundation and a senior representative of Porticus in Europe.

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Senior Fellow Tells Earl of Wessex about Character Education in Skopje

17/05/19

Jubilee Centre Senior Fellow Benjamin Perks accompanied The Earl of Wessex HRH Prince Edward on a visit to schools in Skopje, Macedonia on 16th May 2019. During the visit, organised by the UK Embassy to Macedonia and the North Macedonian Government, Prince Edward was shown first-hand how the UK Embassy and UNICEF are supporting preschool reform on access, character development and social and emotional learning in Macedonia. The Jubilee Centre are in partnership with UNICEF in the country and will welcome a delegation of ministers, UNICEF colleagues, teachers and academics to the University of Birmingham in June 2019. This follows visits to Skopje by the Centre's team to deliver workshops on character education to teachers and pupils.

Photo credit: UNICEF Macedonia

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Director Attends Step Up To Serve Advisory Council

16/05/19

Centre Director Professor James Arthur attended the annual Advisory Council meeting of Step Up To Serve on 15th May 2019 at St James’s Palace. Convened and chaired by the charity’s Royal Patron HRH The Prince of Wales, the Council heard the progress of the #iwill campaign to date and plans for its final 20 months; members shared their own commitments to embedding social action across society both during and after the campaign. Professor Arthur was able to discuss the most recent work of the Centre in character education with HRH The Prince of Wales.

 

Photo: Prof. James Arthur introduces #iwill Ambassador Usman Ahmed to HRH Prince Charles at the Advisory Council meeting at St James’s Palace on 15thMay 2019.

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Consultation on Civic Virtue in the Public Domain Held at Windsor Castle

16/05/19

The Jubilee Centre held a consultation on 15th and 16th May 2019, at St George’s House, Windsor Castle. The consultation considered the importance of civic virtue and included reflections from philosophy, volunteering and philanthropy, and education. Under the title ‘Civic virtues in the public domain’, 26 delegates from universities, schools, charities and other educational and civil society organisations attended the event and were invited to discuss and reflect on the role of civic virtues in the public domain today. You can view the programme from the consultation here.

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Centre Hosts One-Day Conference on New Ofsted Framework

13/05/19

On Friday 10th May, the Jubilee Centre hosted ‘Implementing the New Ofsted Framework: Character Education Policy and Practice’ at the University of Birmingham. The one-day conference included talks delivered by the Centre’s Director and Director of Education, Professor James Arthur and Dr. Tom Harrison, Ofsted’s National Lead for PSHE and Citizenship, Roary Pownall. The conference also featured a panel discussion with a number of school leaders at the forefront of implementing character education across the country, including Bec Tigue of the University of Birmingham School, Carole Jones of Yeading Junior School, Damien Kearns of Nishkam High School and Gary Lewis of Kings Langley School. The event gathered together over 200 teachers and practitioners to shed light on the policy and practice of character education in advance of the new Ofsted Framework being implemented in September. Professor James Arthur and Dr. Tom Harrison's presentation is available to view here, and Roary Pownall's here.

On 14th May 2019, Ofsted published the final version of its new education inspection framework for 2019 and this is available to view here

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Insight Series: 'To What Extent Can Religious Education Help Shape Pupils' Practical Wisdom?'

13/05/19

Research Associate Jason Metcalfe recently published the Insight Series paper ‘To What Extent Can Religious Education Help Shape Pupils’ Practical Wisdom?’ on 13th May 2019. This paper, the second in a series of five for the Life of the Religious Education Teacher project, explores the contribution that Religious Education can potentially make to the development of pupils’ phronesis within the context of UK schooling. The paper is available to view in full here.

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Director and Professor Candace Vogler Speak at Forum in Rome

30/04/19

Professors Candace Vogler and James Arthur attended a forum on human flourishing in the Angelicum University, Rome on Saturday and Sunday 27th -28th April 2019. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the writing of a White Paper for the upcoming Conference in the Vatican on 10th May 2019. Both contributed papers and were involved in intense discussions about character formation and the virtues that constitute it. A great deal of preparatory work was completed and character formation was highlighted as a priority for www.humanity2.0.org, which organised both the forum and Conference. Participating organisations in the Conference will include Google, SAP, Amazon, Salesforce, IBM, Cisco, The Coca-Cola Company, Forbes Impact, HSBC, Virgin, The Wharton School, Harvard Business School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the John Templeton Foundation.  

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Research Fellow Attends ‘The Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Morality’ Committee

17/04/19

On the 15th and 16th of April, Dr Catherine Darnell attended the first steering group committee meeting of 'The Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Morality' at The University of Miami in Florida. Founded by Professors Blaine Fowers and Kenneth Goodman, the initiative aims to 'promote the open-minded and open-hearted scholarly exploration of moral questions that are at the centre of human societies and systematic inquiry'. A key focus of this initiative is to promote the theoretical, empirical and practical exploration of moral questions and ensure this is underpinned by multiple disciplines and perspectives. The hope of the initiative is that it can become a hub for dialogue and mutual learning about morality.

 

The steering group meeting was followed by a moral symposium on the topic 'Is there a Role for Morality in Science?' The symposium was introduced by the president of the University of Miami, Julio Frenk and attended by students and staff across the University. Dr Catherine Darnell presented a talk on the 'Psychological Contributions to a Science of Morality' followed by talks from Professors David Walker and Kenneth Goodman, who explored the philosophical and sociological contributions. Professors Barry Schwartz, Blaine Fowers and Joseph Michalski then addressed the question 'What is Moral about Science?'

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Insight Series: 'A Content Analysis of Professional Regulatory Documents and Codes of Conduct'

08/04/19

Dr. Stephen Earl and Dr. Maria Moulin-Stożek have authored the discussion paper Moving Towards Virtuous Professional Practice: A Summary of a Content Analysis of Professional Regulatory Documents and Codes of Conduct’, which features as a Jubilee Centre Insight Series paper. The paper provides an overview of new research which compares codes of conduct and regulatory documents across the five professions explored as part of the Integrating Practical Wisdom in the Professions project. The research identifies that professional codes generally emphasise conformity to the rules among members rather than developing an autonomous interest in ethical professional practice. You can read the full paper here.

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Jubilee Centre Hosts Delegates from UAE Crown Prince Court

08/04/19

On 28th March 2019, the Jubilee Centre hosted a delegation from the Crown Prince Court in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, including Mohamed Khaleefa Alnuaimi, Director at the Education Affairs Office (pictured centre left), Ahmed Mahmoud Fikri, Associate at the Office of Strategic Affairs (pictured far right) and Dr. Hanine Salem, Vice President at BBJ Consulting (pictured centre right). This was an opportunity to discuss how the UAE Moral Education Programme could be informed by the ongoing research of the Jubilee Centre in the field of character and teacher education. After discussing the work of the Centre and its application to schools both in the UK and internationally, Director of Strategic Partnerships Aidan Thompson, and Director Prof. James Arthur took the group to the University of Birmingham School, where they were given a tour by Head of School Rebecca Tigue, as well as introduced to how the School came to be created, and how character is embedded across the curriculum. 

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Jubilee Centre Celebrates Social Action at WE Day UK 2019

15/03/19

On Wednesday 6th March 2019, Aidan Thompson, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Jubilee Centre, attended WE Day UK 2019, a celebratory event organised by WE.org to showcase young people who bring about change in their communities through social action. The event included a speech by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, who emphasised the importance of values for meaningful social change and called for the 12,000 young people in the audience to ‘Be braver. Be stronger. Be kind to each other. Be kind to yourselves…Exceed expectations…Keep empathy alive…Be honest.’ The Jubilee Centre is delighted to have been able to share in the celebration of young people who are developing their own character through social action, as well as contributing to helping the communities they are a part of to flourish. The Jubilee Centre looks forward to continuing to support and celebrate such work in the future, with WE Schools and the #iwill campaign, and continuing to bring the language of character to the forefront of such discussions. Read Aidan Thompson's reflections on the event in this blog.

Sophie Richardson, Director of WE Schools, said: ‘WE Day is the culmination of young people earning their tickets through social action as part of the WE Schools programme. Through WE Schools young people learn about local and global issues and the causes behind them, as well as developing their own skills and building out action plans that will empower them to take action on the issues they are most passionate about. WE Schools is based on three main learning outcomes which all tie into character education through our Learning Framework.’

WE Schools has achieved significant impact through its work with young people in the UK: when rating the impact of WE Schools on increasing academic engagement, 89% agreed that young people ask more critical questions to reflect on and understand, and 91% agreed that young people are now more capable of effectively voicing their own opinions. Further, 83% of teachers felt better equipped to teach about social justice issues through active citizenship-based learning thanks to WE Schools. To find out more about how to get involved see this page.

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Research Fellows Discuss Character Education Initiatives with Partners in Boston

15/03/19

In February 2019, Research Fellows Ben Miller and Rachael Hunter met with Dr. Karen Bohlin, Head of Montrose School, in Boston, USA to discuss curriculum materials for character education. They observed character education initiatives at Montrose School and spent time talking to members of staff who plan for, and teach, character education. They also visited the Center for Character and Social Responsibility at Boston University, which seeks to expand institutions’ and individuals’ awareness, knowledge, and skills in the areas of character development and social responsibility. The Centre looks forward to continuing its collaborations with Montrose School and the Center for Character and Social Responsibility.

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Jubilee Centre Engages with Schools of Character

15/02/19

In association with Teacher Education project, the Jubilee Centre has been visiting schools in England that have been recognised for their successful approaches to character development. This engagement will inform a new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course that will be designed to ensure that teachers are prepared and supported to meet the moral and ethical demands of their roles. This is particularly important considering the recent attention paid to character development in schools by Ofsted and the Secretary of State for Education.

Research Fellows Paul Watts and Michael Fullard  (pictured above with Harleen Assi, Director of Virtues at Ark Boulton Academy) have been meeting with senior leaders, practitioners and pupils in schools to discuss the approaches employed within primary and secondary education settings. So far, three main characteristics of successful approaches have stood out: First, the approaches used are unique to schools, their pupils and particular contexts; Second, school staff work towards a shared school vision through the adaptation and development of their provision in order to find “what works” for them. Third, staff cohesion and strong school leadership have been essential in their success.

Jubilee Centre staff are continuing to engage with schools as part of ongoing projects related to character education. If you are a teacher and are interested in taking part please contact Michael Fullard

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The Dangers of Oversimplifying Explanations of Moral Behavior

12/02/19

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Professor Blaine Fowers of the University of Miami has written the article titled, The Dangers of Oversimplifying Explanations of Moral Behavior: Robert Plomin’s and Jonathan Haidt’s Excesses, which was published as an Insight Series piece on 11th February 2019. The article emphasizes the fundamental role of intentionality in human behaviour and stresses how important it is that moral theories continue to recognise its significance. This, Fowers argues is particularly important, when considering recent social and political trends. Furthermore, Fowers attests that essentialist arguments which degrade human rationality, such as those offered by Plomin and Haidt, offer little in the way of moral guidance and inspiration. Fowers, therefore, explores a selection of alternative theories which take inspiration from Aristotle and the many contemporary theorists who are appropriating and expanding his ethical theory. You can read the full article here.

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Secretary of State for Education Uses the Language of Virtue

08/02/19

The Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, delivered a major speech on character education at the Rethinking Resilience National Conference in London on 7th February 2019, in which he spoke for the first time about the virtues of character detailing them as including honesty, humility, kindness and courage. The speech took place at the annual Church of England conference.  The Secretary of State talked about virtues several times in the speech stating that they should be cultivated in schools to build character; 'We want you to use strength of character to be good in the world and that is where virtues and values come in. So character must be grounded in virtues'. This is a major step forward in government thinking on character and dovetails with the work of the Jubilee Centre. We welcome this development.  The full speech can be read here

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Secretary of State for Education Establishes Advisory Committee on Character

07/02/19

The Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, today (7th February 2019) announced the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Character which will report to him in September with practical proposals for character and virtues in schools. He said 'I am going to be assembling an advisory group on how we can best support schools in their work to build character. This group will be made up of leaders and experts in their field. One key area that I want the group to focus on will be developing a set of benchmarks for schools to use so that they can deliver their own approach to developing character and assess themselves on how they are doing.  We already have something similar for careers guidance called the Gatsby Benchmarks. I want the advisory group to work up something similar for character.'  Membership of the advisory group will be announced soon. Damian Hinds also praised the work that the Association for Character Education was already doing in this area.  ACE, have established a Kitemark for Schools of Character, the development of which was led by Dr. Tom Harrison of the Jubilee Centre.   

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Open Call for Annual Jubilee Centre Conference

04/02/19

The Jubilee Centre is delighted to announce an Open Call for Papers for its 8th annual conference, ‘Virtues and the Flourishing Life’, which will take place at Oriel College, Oxford, 3rd-5th January 2020. This conference will explore what it really means to live a flourishing life as a professional, student or a member of the public. The aim of the conference is to encourage discussion amongst experts from a range of disciplines in an attempt to answer numerous questions regarding the often misconstrued concept of flourishing. Professors Sarah Banks, Jennifer Frey, Dan Haybron and Kristján Kristjánsson will be presenting keynote lectures. More information about the conference, as well as details about how to submit an abstract, can be found here.

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Character Education Prioritised by Ofsted

16/01/19

Schools will not be rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ in Personal Development without evidence of building character

The new Ofsted Framework for Inspection of Schools was published today for consultation and contains what the Jubilee Centre has been advocating since its launch in 2012 – namely that schools have a duty to support the character development of their pupils. The new Framework, underneath the heading of ‘Personal Development’, states that inspectors’ judgements in this area will take into account how schools are ‘developing pupils’ character, the set of positive personal traits, dispositions and virtues that informs their motivation and guides their conduct, so that they reflect wisely, learn eagerly, behave with integrity and cooperate consistently well with others’. This is a major turning point for character education in England; all of England’s 22,000 schools will be asked to explicitly demonstrate how they develop the character of their pupils.You can read former teacher’s reactions to the Framework in this blog.

The language of character in the new Framework (see below) echoes the work of the Jubilee Centre more broadly, as well as the Jubilee Centre’s consultations with OFSTED in the development stages of the Framework.

 

The Education Inspection Framework

Personal development

27. Inspectors will make a judgement on the personal development of learners by evaluating the extent to which:

The curriculum and the provider’s wider work support learners to develop their character – including their resilience, confidence and independence – and help them know how to keep physically and mentally healthy

 

School inspection handbook for inspecting schools in England under section 5 of the Education Act

Personal development

This judgement focuses on the dimensions of the personal development of pupils that our education system has agreed, either by consensus or statute, are the most significant:

  • developing pupils’ character, the set of positive personal traits, dispositions and virtues that informs their motivation and guides their conduct so that they reflect wisely, learn eagerly, behave with integrity and cooperate consistently well with others. This gives pupils the qualities they need to flourish in our society

Grade descriptors for personal development

Outstanding (1)

  • The way the school goes about developing pupils’ character is exemplary and is worthy of being shared with others.

Good (2)

  • The curriculum and the school’s wider work support pupils to develop character.

 

Early years inspection handbook Handbook for inspecting early years in England

Personal Development criteria –

  • The curriculum promotes and supports children’s emotional security and development of their character. Children are gaining a good understanding of what makes them unique. P37

 

Further education and skills inspection handbook Handbook for inspecting further education and skills providers

Personal Development –

  • Providers can take effective action to extend learners’ experiences, but the impact may not be seen for many years. Inspectors will not make judgements about the impact of the personal development of learners. Their judgements about learners’ personal development are concerned with the opportunities that learners get to help them develop their character, confidence and resilience. These include opportunities and support to keep themselves healthy, Further education and skills inspection handbook January 2019, No. 180042 49 both physically and mentally. Inspectors will consider the support learners get to develop their plans for their next steps, including to employment. P48
  • The curriculum and the provider’s wider work support learners to develop their character – including their resilience, confidence and independence and, where relevant, help them know how to keep physically and mentally healthy. P50

 

Education inspection framework Overview of research

However, intentionally investing in character education using a whole-school approach, modelling desired behaviours at both school and teacher level, integrating character development with a strong curriculum rather than doing this as a standalone separate activity, developing pupils’ intrinsic motivation, shared core values and positive relationships have been posited as key ways in which schools can develop pupils’ character (Lickona et al, 2002; Berkowitz et al, 2016). P30

 

 

 

 

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‘Together We’ll Flourish’: The University of Birmingham School Features in The Guardian

15/01/19

The University of Birmingham School features in a recent article in The Guardian for its approach to promoting equality by accepting students from across four city boroughs. The article, ‘Together, We'll Flourish’ discusses how the school’s catchment system, which is rare in the UK, is a key part of the school’s vision for diversity and inclusion. Another part of this vision is the school’s focus on character education, as founded by Director of the Jubilee Centre Professor James Arthur. Head of School Rebecca Tigue was quoted in the article saying that ‘It’s [/character education is] our way of inspiring and teaching children to lead more flourishing lives by increasing their standards of what virtuous behaviour might look like. We encourage them to show courage, compassion, empathy, justice, honesty, on a day to day basis’. You can read the full report here. There is also a Podcast which can be found here.

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Centre Hosts Macedonian Ministerial Delegation and UNICEF Macedonia

14/06/19

On the 12th - 14th June 2019, the Jubilee Centre hosted a three-day knowledge sharing event for a delegation of Macedonian ministers, including the Minister of Education and Science, Arber Ademi, and the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Mila Carovska. The delegation included staff from UNICEF Macedonia, teachers and academics interested in implementing character education in their practice. Discussions across the three days focussed on the Jubilee Centre’s approach to character education and its current research, methods for evaluating character education and impacting policy. The delegation were also able to see a school dedicated to character with a visit to the University of Birmingham School. The Minister of Education and Science and the Minister of Labor and Social Policy met with Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor of the University, along with Jubilee Centre Director Professor James Arthur and Director of Strategic Initiatives Aidan Thompson, on the morning of Friday 14th June; the Vice Chancellor was particularly interested to hear about the work on character education in Macedonia. This visit represents a continuation of the Centre’s partnership with UNICEF in Macedonia, with Jubilee Centre staff having previously visited Skopje to deliver workshops on character education to teachers and pupils

From left: Benjamin Perks, Jubilee Centre Senior Fellow; Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham; Mila Carovska, Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Macedonia; Arber Ademi, Minister of Education and Science, Macedonia; Professor James Arthur, Director of the Jubilee Centre

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Professor Randall Curren Presents Jubilee Centre Seminar

03/06/19

Professor Randall Curren, Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rochester and Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Jubilee Centre, delivered a Jubilee Centre seminar entitled ‘Civic Virtue and Friendship in Aristotle’s Politics’ on 3rd May 2019. Professor Curren discussed the necessity of Politics in formulating Aristotle’s conception of civic virtue and friendship, highlighting its value in providing knowledge about cultivating the virtues essential to members of a society living well together. The handout from Professor Curren's presentation is available to view here.

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Character - Call for Evidence

28/05/19

In his speech on 7 February, Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, made a number of commitments including the establishment of an advisory group to make recommendations on the best ways schools and others can build character in children and young people.

Ian Bauckham CBE, the Chair of the Character Advisory Group, issued a call for evidence on 27th May on behalf of the advisory group. The group is seeking views on the development of character and resilience, the nature of different character-building activities provided to children and young people and what works best to improve outcomes.

The call for evidence is accessible on the DfE online system at www.education.gov.uk/consultations. This will be an important opportunity for you to share your views and inform the recommendations the advisory group will be making to the Secretary of State. The call for evidence will close on Friday, 5 July.

If you have an enquiry about the call for evidence, please contact the secretariat to the character advisory group at Character.CONSULTATION@education.gov.uk.

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Jubilee Centre Hosts Student and Teacher Workshop in Berlin

23/05/19

On Thursday 23rd May 2019, the Jubilee Centre hosted a one day workshop at Canisius College, Berlin in collaboration with the College and the Centre for Ignatian Pedagogy. Jubilee Centre staff delivered a series of lectures and lessons for attending sixth form students and their teachers from Canisius College and partner schools from Mainz, Bonn and Hamburg. The workshop introduced the A Framework for Character Education in Schools and illustrated how the concept of character can be taught and discussed explicitly within students’ lessons.

Teachers and students attended lectures and took part in discussions concerning the aims of education, how character can be caught, taught and sought in schools, as well as the importance of Cyber-Wisdom. During the lessons, students developed their understanding of virtue, responded to moral dilemmas and were provided with opportunities to relate their learning to their own lives. Teachers had the opportunity to attend the lessons alongside students in order to further their understanding of taught character education.

 

Photo: Director of Education, Dr. Tom Harrison, poses the question: 'Whose responsibility is it to ensure people act morally online?

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Director Gives Key Talk at Dinner in Government Offices in Berlin

23/05/19

Professor James Arthur was invited to give a talk on character education and policy at a dinner in Berlin attended by the Director General of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as well as important figures from the Federal Chancellery, business, publishing and the voluntary sector. The participants discussed character education with Professor Arthur and expressed considerable interest in the various dimensions of the subject. Voluntary bodies attending included the Director of the Herts Foundation and a senior representative of Porticus in Europe.

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Senior Fellow Tells Earl of Wessex about Character Education in Skopje

17/05/19

Jubilee Centre Senior Fellow Benjamin Perks accompanied The Earl of Wessex HRH Prince Edward on a visit to schools in Skopje, Macedonia on 16th May 2019. During the visit, organised by the UK Embassy to Macedonia and the North Macedonian Government, Prince Edward was shown first-hand how the UK Embassy and UNICEF are supporting preschool reform on access, character development and social and emotional learning in Macedonia. The Jubilee Centre are in partnership with UNICEF in the country and will welcome a delegation of ministers, UNICEF colleagues, teachers and academics to the University of Birmingham in June 2019. This follows visits to Skopje by the Centre's team to deliver workshops on character education to teachers and pupils.

Photo credit: UNICEF Macedonia

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Director Attends Step Up To Serve Advisory Council

16/05/19

Centre Director Professor James Arthur attended the annual Advisory Council meeting of Step Up To Serve on 15th May 2019 at St James’s Palace. Convened and chaired by the charity’s Royal Patron HRH The Prince of Wales, the Council heard the progress of the #iwill campaign to date and plans for its final 20 months; members shared their own commitments to embedding social action across society both during and after the campaign. Professor Arthur was able to discuss the most recent work of the Centre in character education with HRH The Prince of Wales.

 

Photo: Prof. James Arthur introduces #iwill Ambassador Usman Ahmed to HRH Prince Charles at the Advisory Council meeting at St James’s Palace on 15thMay 2019.

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Consultation on Civic Virtue in the Public Domain Held at Windsor Castle

16/05/19

The Jubilee Centre held a consultation on 15th and 16th May 2019, at St George’s House, Windsor Castle. The consultation considered the importance of civic virtue and included reflections from philosophy, volunteering and philanthropy, and education. Under the title ‘Civic virtues in the public domain’, 26 delegates from universities, schools, charities and other educational and civil society organisations attended the event and were invited to discuss and reflect on the role of civic virtues in the public domain today. You can view the programme from the consultation here.

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Centre Hosts One-Day Conference on New Ofsted Framework

13/05/19

On Friday 10th May, the Jubilee Centre hosted ‘Implementing the New Ofsted Framework: Character Education Policy and Practice’ at the University of Birmingham. The one-day conference included talks delivered by the Centre’s Director and Director of Education, Professor James Arthur and Dr. Tom Harrison, Ofsted’s National Lead for PSHE and Citizenship, Roary Pownall. The conference also featured a panel discussion with a number of school leaders at the forefront of implementing character education across the country, including Bec Tigue of the University of Birmingham School, Carole Jones of Yeading Junior School, Damien Kearns of Nishkam High School and Gary Lewis of Kings Langley School. The event gathered together over 200 teachers and practitioners to shed light on the policy and practice of character education in advance of the new Ofsted Framework being implemented in September. Professor James Arthur and Dr. Tom Harrison's presentation is available to view here, and Roary Pownall's here.

On 14th May 2019, Ofsted published the final version of its new education inspection framework for 2019 and this is available to view here

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Insight Series: 'To What Extent Can Religious Education Help Shape Pupils' Practical Wisdom?'

13/05/19

Research Associate Jason Metcalfe recently published the Insight Series paper ‘To What Extent Can Religious Education Help Shape Pupils’ Practical Wisdom?’ on 13th May 2019. This paper, the second in a series of five for the Life of the Religious Education Teacher project, explores the contribution that Religious Education can potentially make to the development of pupils’ phronesis within the context of UK schooling. The paper is available to view in full here.

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Director and Professor Candace Vogler Speak at Forum in Rome

30/04/19

Professors Candace Vogler and James Arthur attended a forum on human flourishing in the Angelicum University, Rome on Saturday and Sunday 27th -28th April 2019. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the writing of a White Paper for the upcoming Conference in the Vatican on 10th May 2019. Both contributed papers and were involved in intense discussions about character formation and the virtues that constitute it. A great deal of preparatory work was completed and character formation was highlighted as a priority for www.humanity2.0.org, which organised both the forum and Conference. Participating organisations in the Conference will include Google, SAP, Amazon, Salesforce, IBM, Cisco, The Coca-Cola Company, Forbes Impact, HSBC, Virgin, The Wharton School, Harvard Business School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the John Templeton Foundation.  

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Research Fellow Attends ‘The Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Morality’ Committee

17/04/19

On the 15th and 16th of April, Dr Catherine Darnell attended the first steering group committee meeting of 'The Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Morality' at The University of Miami in Florida. Founded by Professors Blaine Fowers and Kenneth Goodman, the initiative aims to 'promote the open-minded and open-hearted scholarly exploration of moral questions that are at the centre of human societies and systematic inquiry'. A key focus of this initiative is to promote the theoretical, empirical and practical exploration of moral questions and ensure this is underpinned by multiple disciplines and perspectives. The hope of the initiative is that it can become a hub for dialogue and mutual learning about morality.

 

The steering group meeting was followed by a moral symposium on the topic 'Is there a Role for Morality in Science?' The symposium was introduced by the president of the University of Miami, Julio Frenk and attended by students and staff across the University. Dr Catherine Darnell presented a talk on the 'Psychological Contributions to a Science of Morality' followed by talks from Professors David Walker and Kenneth Goodman, who explored the philosophical and sociological contributions. Professors Barry Schwartz, Blaine Fowers and Joseph Michalski then addressed the question 'What is Moral about Science?'

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Insight Series: 'A Content Analysis of Professional Regulatory Documents and Codes of Conduct'

08/04/19

Dr. Stephen Earl and Dr. Maria Moulin-Stożek have authored the discussion paper Moving Towards Virtuous Professional Practice: A Summary of a Content Analysis of Professional Regulatory Documents and Codes of Conduct’, which features as a Jubilee Centre Insight Series paper. The paper provides an overview of new research which compares codes of conduct and regulatory documents across the five professions explored as part of the Integrating Practical Wisdom in the Professions project. The research identifies that professional codes generally emphasise conformity to the rules among members rather than developing an autonomous interest in ethical professional practice. You can read the full paper here.

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Jubilee Centre Hosts Delegates from UAE Crown Prince Court

08/04/19

On 28th March 2019, the Jubilee Centre hosted a delegation from the Crown Prince Court in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, including Mohamed Khaleefa Alnuaimi, Director at the Education Affairs Office (pictured centre left), Ahmed Mahmoud Fikri, Associate at the Office of Strategic Affairs (pictured far right) and Dr. Hanine Salem, Vice President at BBJ Consulting (pictured centre right). This was an opportunity to discuss how the UAE Moral Education Programme could be informed by the ongoing research of the Jubilee Centre in the field of character and teacher education. After discussing the work of the Centre and its application to schools both in the UK and internationally, Director of Strategic Partnerships Aidan Thompson, and Director Prof. James Arthur took the group to the University of Birmingham School, where they were given a tour by Head of School Rebecca Tigue, as well as introduced to how the School came to be created, and how character is embedded across the curriculum. 

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Jubilee Centre Celebrates Social Action at WE Day UK 2019

15/03/19

On Wednesday 6th March 2019, Aidan Thompson, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Jubilee Centre, attended WE Day UK 2019, a celebratory event organised by WE.org to showcase young people who bring about change in their communities through social action. The event included a speech by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, who emphasised the importance of values for meaningful social change and called for the 12,000 young people in the audience to ‘Be braver. Be stronger. Be kind to each other. Be kind to yourselves…Exceed expectations…Keep empathy alive…Be honest.’ The Jubilee Centre is delighted to have been able to share in the celebration of young people who are developing their own character through social action, as well as contributing to helping the communities they are a part of to flourish. The Jubilee Centre looks forward to continuing to support and celebrate such work in the future, with WE Schools and the #iwill campaign, and continuing to bring the language of character to the forefront of such discussions. Read Aidan Thompson's reflections on the event in this blog.

Sophie Richardson, Director of WE Schools, said: ‘WE Day is the culmination of young people earning their tickets through social action as part of the WE Schools programme. Through WE Schools young people learn about local and global issues and the causes behind them, as well as developing their own skills and building out action plans that will empower them to take action on the issues they are most passionate about. WE Schools is based on three main learning outcomes which all tie into character education through our Learning Framework.’

WE Schools has achieved significant impact through its work with young people in the UK: when rating the impact of WE Schools on increasing academic engagement, 89% agreed that young people ask more critical questions to reflect on and understand, and 91% agreed that young people are now more capable of effectively voicing their own opinions. Further, 83% of teachers felt better equipped to teach about social justice issues through active citizenship-based learning thanks to WE Schools. To find out more about how to get involved see this page.

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Research Fellows Discuss Character Education Initiatives with Partners in Boston

15/03/19

In February 2019, Research Fellows Ben Miller and Rachael Hunter met with Dr. Karen Bohlin, Head of Montrose School, in Boston, USA to discuss curriculum materials for character education. They observed character education initiatives at Montrose School and spent time talking to members of staff who plan for, and teach, character education. They also visited the Center for Character and Social Responsibility at Boston University, which seeks to expand institutions’ and individuals’ awareness, knowledge, and skills in the areas of character development and social responsibility. The Centre looks forward to continuing its collaborations with Montrose School and the Center for Character and Social Responsibility.

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Jubilee Centre Engages with Schools of Character

15/02/19

In association with Teacher Education project, the Jubilee Centre has been visiting schools in England that have been recognised for their successful approaches to character development. This engagement will inform a new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course that will be designed to ensure that teachers are prepared and supported to meet the moral and ethical demands of their roles. This is particularly important considering the recent attention paid to character development in schools by Ofsted and the Secretary of State for Education.

Research Fellows Paul Watts and Michael Fullard  (pictured above with Harleen Assi, Director of Virtues at Ark Boulton Academy) have been meeting with senior leaders, practitioners and pupils in schools to discuss the approaches employed within primary and secondary education settings. So far, three main characteristics of successful approaches have stood out: First, the approaches used are unique to schools, their pupils and particular contexts; Second, school staff work towards a shared school vision through the adaptation and development of their provision in order to find “what works” for them. Third, staff cohesion and strong school leadership have been essential in their success.

Jubilee Centre staff are continuing to engage with schools as part of ongoing projects related to character education. If you are a teacher and are interested in taking part please contact Michael Fullard

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The Dangers of Oversimplifying Explanations of Moral Behavior

12/02/19

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Professor Blaine Fowers of the University of Miami has written the article titled, The Dangers of Oversimplifying Explanations of Moral Behavior: Robert Plomin’s and Jonathan Haidt’s Excesses, which was published as an Insight Series piece on 11th February 2019. The article emphasizes the fundamental role of intentionality in human behaviour and stresses how important it is that moral theories continue to recognise its significance. This, Fowers argues is particularly important, when considering recent social and political trends. Furthermore, Fowers attests that essentialist arguments which degrade human rationality, such as those offered by Plomin and Haidt, offer little in the way of moral guidance and inspiration. Fowers, therefore, explores a selection of alternative theories which take inspiration from Aristotle and the many contemporary theorists who are appropriating and expanding his ethical theory. You can read the full article here.

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Secretary of State for Education Uses the Language of Virtue

08/02/19

The Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, delivered a major speech on character education at the Rethinking Resilience National Conference in London on 7th February 2019, in which he spoke for the first time about the virtues of character detailing them as including honesty, humility, kindness and courage. The speech took place at the annual Church of England conference.  The Secretary of State talked about virtues several times in the speech stating that they should be cultivated in schools to build character; 'We want you to use strength of character to be good in the world and that is where virtues and values come in. So character must be grounded in virtues'. This is a major step forward in government thinking on character and dovetails with the work of the Jubilee Centre. We welcome this development.  The full speech can be read here

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Secretary of State for Education Establishes Advisory Committee on Character

07/02/19

The Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, today (7th February 2019) announced the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Character which will report to him in September with practical proposals for character and virtues in schools. He said 'I am going to be assembling an advisory group on how we can best support schools in their work to build character. This group will be made up of leaders and experts in their field. One key area that I want the group to focus on will be developing a set of benchmarks for schools to use so that they can deliver their own approach to developing character and assess themselves on how they are doing.  We already have something similar for careers guidance called the Gatsby Benchmarks. I want the advisory group to work up something similar for character.'  Membership of the advisory group will be announced soon. Damian Hinds also praised the work that the Association for Character Education was already doing in this area.  ACE, have established a Kitemark for Schools of Character, the development of which was led by Dr. Tom Harrison of the Jubilee Centre.   

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Open Call for Annual Jubilee Centre Conference

04/02/19

The Jubilee Centre is delighted to announce an Open Call for Papers for its 8th annual conference, ‘Virtues and the Flourishing Life’, which will take place at Oriel College, Oxford, 3rd-5th January 2020. This conference will explore what it really means to live a flourishing life as a professional, student or a member of the public. The aim of the conference is to encourage discussion amongst experts from a range of disciplines in an attempt to answer numerous questions regarding the often misconstrued concept of flourishing. Professors Sarah Banks, Jennifer Frey, Dan Haybron and Kristján Kristjánsson will be presenting keynote lectures. More information about the conference, as well as details about how to submit an abstract, can be found here.

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Character Education Prioritised by Ofsted

16/01/19

Schools will not be rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ in Personal Development without evidence of building character

The new Ofsted Framework for Inspection of Schools was published today for consultation and contains what the Jubilee Centre has been advocating since its launch in 2012 – namely that schools have a duty to support the character development of their pupils. The new Framework, underneath the heading of ‘Personal Development’, states that inspectors’ judgements in this area will take into account how schools are ‘developing pupils’ character, the set of positive personal traits, dispositions and virtues that informs their motivation and guides their conduct, so that they reflect wisely, learn eagerly, behave with integrity and cooperate consistently well with others’. This is a major turning point for character education in England; all of England’s 22,000 schools will be asked to explicitly demonstrate how they develop the character of their pupils.You can read former teacher’s reactions to the Framework in this blog.

The language of character in the new Framework (see below) echoes the work of the Jubilee Centre more broadly, as well as the Jubilee Centre’s consultations with OFSTED in the development stages of the Framework.

 

The Education Inspection Framework

Personal development

27. Inspectors will make a judgement on the personal development of learners by evaluating the extent to which:

The curriculum and the provider’s wider work support learners to develop their character – including their resilience, confidence and independence – and help them know how to keep physically and mentally healthy

 

School inspection handbook for inspecting schools in England under section 5 of the Education Act

Personal development

This judgement focuses on the dimensions of the personal development of pupils that our education system has agreed, either by consensus or statute, are the most significant:

  • developing pupils’ character, the set of positive personal traits, dispositions and virtues that informs their motivation and guides their conduct so that they reflect wisely, learn eagerly, behave with integrity and cooperate consistently well with others. This gives pupils the qualities they need to flourish in our society

Grade descriptors for personal development

Outstanding (1)

  • The way the school goes about developing pupils’ character is exemplary and is worthy of being shared with others.

Good (2)

  • The curriculum and the school’s wider work support pupils to develop character.

 

Early years inspection handbook Handbook for inspecting early years in England

Personal Development criteria –

  • The curriculum promotes and supports children’s emotional security and development of their character. Children are gaining a good understanding of what makes them unique. P37

 

Further education and skills inspection handbook Handbook for inspecting further education and skills providers

Personal Development –

  • Providers can take effective action to extend learners’ experiences, but the impact may not be seen for many years. Inspectors will not make judgements about the impact of the personal development of learners. Their judgements about learners’ personal development are concerned with the opportunities that learners get to help them develop their character, confidence and resilience. These include opportunities and support to keep themselves healthy, Further education and skills inspection handbook January 2019, No. 180042 49 both physically and mentally. Inspectors will consider the support learners get to develop their plans for their next steps, including to employment. P48
  • The curriculum and the provider’s wider work support learners to develop their character – including their resilience, confidence and independence and, where relevant, help them know how to keep physically and mentally healthy. P50

 

Education inspection framework Overview of research

However, intentionally investing in character education using a whole-school approach, modelling desired behaviours at both school and teacher level, integrating character development with a strong curriculum rather than doing this as a standalone separate activity, developing pupils’ intrinsic motivation, shared core values and positive relationships have been posited as key ways in which schools can develop pupils’ character (Lickona et al, 2002; Berkowitz et al, 2016). P30

 

 

 

 

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‘Together We’ll Flourish’: The University of Birmingham School Features in The Guardian

15/01/19

The University of Birmingham School features in a recent article in The Guardian for its approach to promoting equality by accepting students from across four city boroughs. The article, ‘Together, We'll Flourish’ discusses how the school’s catchment system, which is rare in the UK, is a key part of the school’s vision for diversity and inclusion. Another part of this vision is the school’s focus on character education, as founded by Director of the Jubilee Centre Professor James Arthur. Head of School Rebecca Tigue was quoted in the article saying that ‘It’s [/character education is] our way of inspiring and teaching children to lead more flourishing lives by increasing their standards of what virtuous behaviour might look like. We encourage them to show courage, compassion, empathy, justice, honesty, on a day to day basis’. You can read the full report here. There is also a Podcast which can be found here.

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