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A massive thanks to @jocotterillbook who is promoting the new parent resources for the brilliant book A Library of Lemons. If you are interested in engaging more deeply with your children about kindness and compassion,check out the resources here:... https://t.co/Mi9vO92Wgv

Quote of the week

The questions around us principally come down to character; the essential ability to withstand events that go against you.Gareth Southgate

Key Findings and Recommendations Highlighted in New Materials

16/07/18

The Jubilee Centre has launched new materials which consolidate its extensive research into key findings and recommendations across four thematic areas; Character Education, Gratitude, Virtues in the Professions and Youth Social Action. These documents are designed to provide an accessible and engaging introduction to the Centre’s key research to date. The materials are free to download from the website.    

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New Poll Sheds Light on Workplace Attitudes Towards Ethics and Values

13/07/18

As part of the research project Practical Wisdom and Professional Practice, the Jubilee Centre has conducted a UK-wide poll with Populus looking at workplace attitudes towards ethics and values. The poll painted a positive picture of employment in the UK, with over two-thirds (65%) of those in employment suggesting that their job contributes to the common good of society, and 58% stating that they feel there is an ethical dimension to their work. A clear distinction between those who work in the public and private sectors was evident in these results, with 81% of public sector employees feeling their work makes a positive contribution, compared with 59% of those in the private sector. On a less positive note, only 24% of respondents suggested that the work they do is valued by politicians and government, considerably lower than service-users (77%), colleagues (74%) and the general public (51%). Further analysis of the survey results, which included a total sample of over 2,300 participants, is being conducted in-house with a view to publish a cross-profession briefing paper later in the year.

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Jubilee Centre Supports the Launch of Catholic Character Education Report

28/06/18

On 28th June 2018 the Diocese of Leeds launched a report on Catholic Character Education, which was supported by the Jubilee Centre. In the forward, which was written by the Rt. Rev. Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds, the Jubilee centre was commended for the ‘generous sponsorship and support they have provided for this research project in partnership with the Diocese of Leeds’. At the launch, which took place in Wheeler Hall at Leeds Cathedral, the author, Dr. Chris Devanny presented the findings and recommendations of a research study that explored how character education is understood and taught in Catholic schools. The report was well received by head teachers and school leaders from the Diocese of Leeds seeking to progress beyond 'character caught' to the explicit teaching of the virtues through 'character taught'. This progression will be one of the matters discussed at the Diocese of Leeds Headteachers' Conference on 13th September 2018, which will be focussed on 'Practical Approaches to Character Education for Schools'. The Jubilee Centre's Director of Education, Dr. Tom Harrison will be presenting a keynote address at the same event.

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Director Meets Minister of Education in Buenos Aires

18/06/18

Director Professor James Arthur and Fiona Gatty from the Templeton World Charity Foundation met Gabriel Sanchez Zinny, Minister of Education in Buenos Aires, for dinner on Wednesday 12th June and discussed the potential for character education to be introduced into Argentinian schools. The following day, Professors Arthur and Deputy Director Kristján Kristjánsson, along with Research Fellows, Paul Watts and Michael Fullard met with the Minister’s officials from the Ministry of Education and explored in greater detail the opportunities for implementing character education. 

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Character Education in Argentina

13/06/18

Professors’ Arthur and Kristjánsson together with research fellows Michael Fullard and Paul Watts joined Fiona Gatty of the Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) on a visit to Buenos Aires to share ideas about researching character education in the context of schools within Latin America. The TWCF is to fund a number of character education projects in Latin America and has encouraged applications for the grants from an initial fund of £15 million. Whilst in Buenos Aires, Michael and Paul presented some of the Jubilee Centre research findings and methods to a mixture of academics and practitioners. The Jubilee Centre group also had the opportunity to visit a local school, the Colegio Buen Consejo, which already explicitly promotes the intellectual, moral and civic virtues that the Jubilee Centre champions and which will become a focus for character research and development, as well as a shanty town which helped the group understand something of the extremely challenging circumstances which some of the students face. 

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Jubilee Centre Staff Give #inno4edu Workshop in Macedonia

04/06/18

Jubilee Centre staff members Aidan Thompson and Joseph Ward spoke as expert guests at the #inno4edu SmartUp social innovation lab in Skopje, Macedonia. Building on the successful partnership with UNICEF in the country, Aidan and Joe gave a workshop to participants working on social innovation projects in education, looking to demystify character education. The workshop was framed around three ‘big questions’, looking at how and where a focus on character fits in the overall purpose of education, debating whether character can be taught, and discussing how character can be measured. Joe and Aidan gave advice to two groups developing projects to build web platforms that will provide character-based resources for teachers in Macedonia. Aidan and Joe’s workshop was live streamed via the SmartUp Facebook page.

 

During the visit, Aidan and Joe were also able to meet with the UNICEF Macedonia team to discuss the wider aims for implementing a character focus to the Macedonian pre-school curriculum, including Bobby Soobrayan, regional adviser for Education for UNICEF Europe and Central Asia. Aidan also met with Prof. Violeta Petroska-Beshka from the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University to discuss possible collaboration on a character-based research project, and with Elizabeth Fordham and colleagues from the OECD to discuss possible overlaps between Jubilee Centre and OECD approaches to attitudes and values in education.

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Ofsted Praise University of Birmingham School character education programme

25/05/18

In its first Ofsted inspection, the University of Birmingham School’s bespoke character education programme has been singled out for praise. In the report, Ofsted highlight the School’s focus on ‘character education’ and recognise that the programme ensures that leaders promote pupils’ personal development well. Ofsted go on to report that ‘the development of a ‘character education’ programme has rightly received national and international acclaim. Leaders promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and British values very well through the curriculum. This includes through ‘personal learning and development lessons.’

University of Birmingham School Principal Mike Roden said: “Having opened just three years ago, it is a real achievement for the University of Birmingham School to receive a ‘Good’ outcome in all categories.   

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff, governors, our wonderful pupils and students and our parents and carers, for all the contributions that have been made to secure this validation of our distinctive educational programme.”  

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Professor Sir David Eastwood, said: “When the University of Birmingham established the School, we wanted to ensure it was a place of opportunity, a place of inclusivity, and a place where pupils could frame and find their ambition.

“For these reasons, character education has been woven into everything the School does. Staff and pupils have worked tirelessly to create a vibrant learning community, inclusive for all, and I am pleased to see the value of this approach recognised and celebrated by the Ofsted inspection team.”

The Jubilee Centre worked with the School to create the Programme of Study when the School launched in 2015, and has recently conducted a lengthy case study of the School’s focus on character in its Schools of Virtue research report.

The Class of 2017 spoke about the impact that the School has had on their own character development in the LEAVERS film commissioned by the Centre last year (2017).

A press release is available here.

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Deputy Director Publishes New Book on Virtuous Emotions with Oxford University Press

22/05/18

Professor Kristján Kristjánsson’s Virtuous Emotions was published on 3rd May 2018. The aim of this book is to offer a revised ‘Aristotelian’ analysis and moral justification of a number of emotions that Aristotle either neglected (such as awe, grief, and jealousy), relegated, at best, to the level of the semi-virtuous (such as shame), made disparaging remarks about (such as gratitude) or rejected explicitly (such as pity, understood as pain at another person’s deserved bad fortune).

This latest addition to moral education literature presents a compelling vision of the role of the emotions in moral life. Using rich case-studies of six emotions: awe, grief, jealousy, shame, gratitude, and pity, the book explores how education can help us develop morally. The book is aimed at readers in philosophy, social sciences, and psychology. Virtuous Emotions can be purchased here

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Speakers at #CharacterEd2018 Conference Reference Jubilee Centre Framework

15/05/18

On Saturday 12th May 2018, the #CharacterEd2018 conference took place at Lichfield Cathedral School, Staffs. Dr. Catherine Darnell, Research Fellow, spoke at the conference and presented the attached presentation on ‘The Psychological Development of Character’, based on the ‘phronesis’ research project currently being undertaken at the Jubilee Centre.

Other speakers at the conference included Sean Harford, National Director, Education at Ofsted, who spoke about whether it is either possible or desirable to measure character development. In his speech, Mr Harford cited the Jubilee Centre ‘Building Blocks of Character’, calling it one of the most comprehensive definitions of character currently being used in education. Former Secretary of State for Education Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan MP gave the keynote lecture. 

The event was organised by Stephen Lane and Joanne Owens at Lichfield Cathedral School, and brought together those with an interest and passion for delivering character in schools.

Below are images of Mr Harford talking to the Centre’s definition of character, credit Rebecca Tigue (@UoBSCharacter), and of Dr. Darnell responding to Martin Robinson’s speech; credit Jo Owens/Lichfield Cathedral School (@joanneowens).

Above shows Dr. Darnell giving her presentation; credit Jo Owens/Lichfield Cathedral School.

 

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Dr. Tom Harrison Speaks at Conference Attended by the Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan MP

06/05/18

On 25th April, Dr. Tom Harrison gave a keynote address at the Culture and Values in Schools conference in Hertfordshire. The conference was organised by the Partnership of Dacorum Schools and was attended by senior leaders running schools in Hertfordshire. Other speakers included the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan and Dr. Karen Edge. Dr. Harrison gave a presentation entitled Life of Tests or the Tests of Life, focussing primarily on practical approaches to teaching character with a specific focus on cultivating cyber-wisdom in children and young people. The slides are available here.

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Professor James Arthur Receives OBE from Her Majesty The Queen

04/05/18

On Friday 4th May 2018, Professor James Arthur attended a ceremony at Buckingham Palace where he was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to education by Her Majesty The Queen. In accepting the honour, which was announced in the 2018 New Year Honours List, Professor Arthur said: ‘It is a great privilege to receive this honour from Her Majesty The Queen. To be awarded an OBE for my work in character education is also an acknowledgement of the incredible team in the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham.’ When speaking with Her Majesty during the ceremony, Professor Arthur expressed his gratitude for the commitment to character education demonstrated by members of the Royal family. 

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Professor Kristján Kristjánsson Visits National Taiwan Normal University

30/04/18

Deputy Director Professor Kristján Kristjánsson recently visited Taiwan, where he attended the annual conference of the Asia-Pacific Network for Moral Education in Kaohsiung and gave two presentations; One about Epiphanic Moral Conversions and the other in a Plenary Symposium on Cross-Cultural Approaches to Moral Education. Professor Kristjánsson also visited National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei where he met with the President of the University, Professor Wu (see picture). The President expressed interest in collaboration with the Jubilee Centre. During the visit, Professor Kristjánsson gave a presentation to postgraduate students at the university entitled The Research and Practice of Character Education in the UK: An Example of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. The visit emphasised the interest in character education in Taiwan and the synergies with the Jubilee Centre’s current research. The presentations slides are available here.

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New Poll Reveals Support for Character Education Among UK Teachers

13/04/18

A new survey of over 450 practising teachers across the UK has revealed that 80% feel that a greater focus on character education in schools would have a positive impact on pupil attainment. The poll, conducted by Populus and the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, asked teachers about current character education provision within their schools, and the potential impact a greater focus on character might have. Participants in the survey were representative of the diverse composition of British schools, and included those from local authority, academy, free, special, alternative provision and independent schools. Adapted from previous Jubilee Centre research, the poll defined character education as school provision focused on developing ‘positive strengths such as honesty, confidence, and critical thinking’, and teaching students to ‘understand what is ethically important in difficult situations and how to choose the right course of action’. The results show that whilst only 1 in 3 teachers are aware of their school having a specific character education policy in place, provision for character development is currently delivered through a combination of routes.  The poll has been conducted in connection with the Jubilee Centre’s current research project, Teacher Education: Character, Ethics and the Professional Development of Pre- and In-service Teachers.

An Insight Series paper by Prof. James Arthur and Lord James O'Shaughnessy exploring the research evidence for the link between character and attainment can be found here.

Sky News featured the story on its Sunrise programme. The results of the poll were also discussed on local radio station BBC WM's breakfast programme, where Dr. Tom Harrison spoke to host Alex Lester about the importance of character education in schools and what this means in practice. Listen to the interview at the link below (from 2:17):

Read more about the results of the poll in the full press release.

Read the Executive Summary of the full survey here.

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Registration Now Open For Free Two Week Course: Building Character Through Youth Social Action

12/04/18

The Centre's free online course Building Character through Youth Social Action will be taking place from 4th to 15th June 2018. The activities young people do to help others and the environment is becoming increasingly recognised as a way to improve communities and develop young people’s characters. This two week course provides an opportunity to learn about the historical and theoretical roots of youth social action, and learn how social action can be a journey for young people, helping them build their character and confidence. Anyone is eligible to register; find out more here.

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Director Visits West Point Military Academy as Senior Fellow

27/03/18

Professor James Arthur visited West Point Military Academy, New York between the 22nd and 25th March 2018. He was invited to participate as a Senior Fellow in the 6th Annual McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character. This conference brought together officer cadets and students from around the world, with Professor Arthur giving a keynote lecture on leadership and character, and facilitating a seminar group. The focus of the conference was on how society and institutions can leverage the powerful force that a character-based culture provides. The conference was addressed by the former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Bob McDonald, and the former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Below is the official photograph of the conference participants.

The above photograph, taken in Iraq, is of U.S. Army Major Mark Bieger, now Colonel and West Point Chief of Staff, carrying a young Iraqi girl named Farah, whom he attempted to save during a suicide attack in 2005. Professor Arthur had the opportunity to speak at length with Col. Bieger about the role of character in the military. This photo, called ‘Little Girl’, is seen as depicting the ideal character of a virtuous soldier. It is used with kind permission from photographer Michael Yon.

Professor Arthur remained at the West Point Military Academy after the conference to have discussions with members of the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic, along with Jim Rahn, President of the Kern Family Foundation, and Dr. Karen Bohlin, Head of Montrose School.

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Professor James Arthur and Aidan Thompson present at Launch of the Virtue Ethics Foundation

13/03/18

On Monday 12th March 2018, Professor James Arthur and Aidan Thompson spoke at the launch of the Virtue Ethics Foundation in the Kennedy Lecture Theatre at the University College London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. The event also launched the Virtue Ethics Foundation Handbook for ‘Parental Responsibility and Commitment towards Creating a More Ethical World’. This handbook draws heavily from the Jubilee Centre publication A Framework for Character Education in Schools.

Professor James Arthur and Aidan Thompson introduced the Framework to an audience of Muslim scholars and practitioners, and spoke about its application within different contexts and organisations as examples for how Muslim schools can use it for the development of their pupils. Their presentation is available to view here.

The Virtue Ethics Foundation is co-chaired by Mr. Ali Azam and Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain.  

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Director Meets Vatican Secretary of State

06/03/18

Professor James Arthur and Paul Watts had the privilege to be invited,  following their conference in Dubai, to be a part of Cardinal Parolin’s entourage at the Colosseum in Rome on the evening of Saturday 24th February. Professor Arthur had an opportunity to speak with the Cardinal, who is Secretary of State for the Vatican, its most senior official after the Pope and acts as his Prime Minister. The meeting was held to remember all the Christians who have been killed in the last year, marked by illuminating the Colosseum in red as a sign of solidarity with all those who are persecuted for their faith.

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Director and Research Fellow meet with Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dubai

22/02/18

Professor James Arthur and Paul Watts met with Dr. Bushra Al Mulla, Director of Education and Social Affairs Department in the Prime Minister’s Office of the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, on Wednesday 21st February 2018. At the meeting, Prof. Arthur and Mr. Watts discussed strategy and policy in regard to character and happiness initiatives in UAE. They also met with a number of research analysts and officials from the Ministry of State for Happiness team and had detailed discussions about how the Jubilee Centre could assist the government in the UAE further develop the character strengths it seeks to promote in schools and wider society.

Professor Arthur and Mr Watts gave the first public lecture at the new University of Birmingham Dubai campus on character education, to an audience of school leaders. This was followed the next morning by a visit to the prestigious Sunmarke School, which uses the Jubilee Centre's curriculum in its teaching. Professor Arthur gave a talk on character building to the senior students in the school. James and Paul met with officials from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority to discuss how the Jubilee Centre might assist the Authority in utilising research tools to measure and evaluate character and happiness initiatives in Dubai. There is a desire in Dubai to establish a research centre dedicated to the study of character and virtue. James and Paul finally met with the International Positive Education Network team in Dubai, where Professor Arthur is a board member.

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Two New Edited Volumes Published

13/02/18

The Theory and Practice of Virtue Education, which was co-edited by Director of Education, Dr. Tom Harrison, was published on 19th January 2018. This comprehensive and authoritative account of both the theoretical and practical complexities of cultivating virtue in education is compiled from the papers submitted to the Jubilee Centre’s 2017 annual conference. Cultivating Moral Character and Virtue in Professional Practice, which was edited by former Professor at the Jubilee Centre, David Carr, was published on 12th January 2018. This pioneering collection of essays by distinguished leaders in the application of virtue ethics focuses on the place of character and virtue in professional practice. The volume includes two chapters co-authored by Deputy Director, Professor Kristján Kristjánsson and is compiled from the papers submitted to the Jubilee Centre’s 2016 annual conference.  

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Jubilee Centre Appoints Professor Candace Vogler

15/01/18

The Jubilee Centre is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Candace Vogler as Chair in Virtue Theory.  The role is a joint appointment with the Royal Institute of Philosophy.  Professor Vogler is the Principal Investigator on ‘Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life’, a project funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

She has authored two books, John Stuart Mill's Deliberative Landscape: An essay in moral psychology (Routledge, 2001) and Reasonably Vicious (Harvard University Press, 2002), and essays in ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy and literature, cinema, psychoanalysis, gender studies, sexuality studies, and other areas. Her research interests are in practical philosophy (particularly the strand of work in moral philosophy indebted to Elizabeth Anscombe), practical reason, Kant's ethics, Marx, and neo-Aristotelian naturalism. Staff at the Jubilee Centre look forward to working with Candace in the near future.

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Deputy Director, Kristján Kristjánsson's Book Translated into Japanese

09/01/18

Professor Kristján Kristjánsson's book, Aristotelian Character Education (Routledge, 2015), which won a prize as the best Education Book of that year, has just come out in a Japanese translation, published by Reitaku University Press and translated by a team of scholars from that university.

The photograph to the left shows Professor Kristján Kristjánsson receiving the first copy of the Japanese translation from Professor Kazunobu Horiuchi at Oriel College during the Jubilee Centre’s 6th annual conference. The photograph to the right shows the new book cover. 

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Centre Hosts 6th Annual Conference 'Virtues in the Public Sphere'

09/01/18

The Jubilee Centre held its 6th annual conference at Oriel College, Oxford, January 4th -6th 2018, under the title Virtues in the Public Sphere. With four key note speeches, 48 seminar presentations and 102 delegates, the conference was highly successful and widely praised by the attendees for its content and organisation. The key note speeches by Professor John Milbank, Professor John Haldane, Professor Talbot Brewer, Lord James O'Shaughnessy and Professor Marvin Berkowitz were particularly well received. This year’s conference also saw the launch of the Centre’s Shaping the Future publication which documents the achievements of the Centre in terms of engagement, impact and influence. The conference delegates also had the pleasure of attending an outstanding performance of Schola Cantorum by The London Oratory School at Oriel College chapel. More information about the conference, including seminar papers, is available here.

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Professor James Arthur OBE

29/12/17
The Queen has, in the 2018 New Year Honours List (page N10),  bestowed upon Professor James Arthur the title of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to education.
 
In accepting the honour, James acknowledged the contribution of the Jubilee Centre team:
 
‘I am very honoured to be recognised in this New Year’s Honours List. To be awarded an OBE for my work in character education is also an acknowledgement of the incredible team in the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham.’
 
James will attend a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2018 to receive the award from the Queen.
 
 
 
 
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Key Findings and Recommendations Highlighted in New Materials

16/07/18

The Jubilee Centre has launched new materials which consolidate its extensive research into key findings and recommendations across four thematic areas; Character Education, Gratitude, Virtues in the Professions and Youth Social Action. These documents are designed to provide an accessible and engaging introduction to the Centre’s key research to date. The materials are free to download from the website.    

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New Poll Sheds Light on Workplace Attitudes Towards Ethics and Values

13/07/18

As part of the research project Practical Wisdom and Professional Practice, the Jubilee Centre has conducted a UK-wide poll with Populus looking at workplace attitudes towards ethics and values. The poll painted a positive picture of employment in the UK, with over two-thirds (65%) of those in employment suggesting that their job contributes to the common good of society, and 58% stating that they feel there is an ethical dimension to their work. A clear distinction between those who work in the public and private sectors was evident in these results, with 81% of public sector employees feeling their work makes a positive contribution, compared with 59% of those in the private sector. On a less positive note, only 24% of respondents suggested that the work they do is valued by politicians and government, considerably lower than service-users (77%), colleagues (74%) and the general public (51%). Further analysis of the survey results, which included a total sample of over 2,300 participants, is being conducted in-house with a view to publish a cross-profession briefing paper later in the year.

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Jubilee Centre Supports the Launch of Catholic Character Education Report

28/06/18

On 28th June 2018 the Diocese of Leeds launched a report on Catholic Character Education, which was supported by the Jubilee Centre. In the forward, which was written by the Rt. Rev. Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds, the Jubilee centre was commended for the ‘generous sponsorship and support they have provided for this research project in partnership with the Diocese of Leeds’. At the launch, which took place in Wheeler Hall at Leeds Cathedral, the author, Dr. Chris Devanny presented the findings and recommendations of a research study that explored how character education is understood and taught in Catholic schools. The report was well received by head teachers and school leaders from the Diocese of Leeds seeking to progress beyond 'character caught' to the explicit teaching of the virtues through 'character taught'. This progression will be one of the matters discussed at the Diocese of Leeds Headteachers' Conference on 13th September 2018, which will be focussed on 'Practical Approaches to Character Education for Schools'. The Jubilee Centre's Director of Education, Dr. Tom Harrison will be presenting a keynote address at the same event.

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Director Meets Minister of Education in Buenos Aires

18/06/18

Director Professor James Arthur and Fiona Gatty from the Templeton World Charity Foundation met Gabriel Sanchez Zinny, Minister of Education in Buenos Aires, for dinner on Wednesday 12th June and discussed the potential for character education to be introduced into Argentinian schools. The following day, Professors Arthur and Deputy Director Kristján Kristjánsson, along with Research Fellows, Paul Watts and Michael Fullard met with the Minister’s officials from the Ministry of Education and explored in greater detail the opportunities for implementing character education. 

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Character Education in Argentina

13/06/18

Professors’ Arthur and Kristjánsson together with research fellows Michael Fullard and Paul Watts joined Fiona Gatty of the Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) on a visit to Buenos Aires to share ideas about researching character education in the context of schools within Latin America. The TWCF is to fund a number of character education projects in Latin America and has encouraged applications for the grants from an initial fund of £15 million. Whilst in Buenos Aires, Michael and Paul presented some of the Jubilee Centre research findings and methods to a mixture of academics and practitioners. The Jubilee Centre group also had the opportunity to visit a local school, the Colegio Buen Consejo, which already explicitly promotes the intellectual, moral and civic virtues that the Jubilee Centre champions and which will become a focus for character research and development, as well as a shanty town which helped the group understand something of the extremely challenging circumstances which some of the students face. 

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Jubilee Centre Staff Give #inno4edu Workshop in Macedonia

04/06/18

Jubilee Centre staff members Aidan Thompson and Joseph Ward spoke as expert guests at the #inno4edu SmartUp social innovation lab in Skopje, Macedonia. Building on the successful partnership with UNICEF in the country, Aidan and Joe gave a workshop to participants working on social innovation projects in education, looking to demystify character education. The workshop was framed around three ‘big questions’, looking at how and where a focus on character fits in the overall purpose of education, debating whether character can be taught, and discussing how character can be measured. Joe and Aidan gave advice to two groups developing projects to build web platforms that will provide character-based resources for teachers in Macedonia. Aidan and Joe’s workshop was live streamed via the SmartUp Facebook page.

 

During the visit, Aidan and Joe were also able to meet with the UNICEF Macedonia team to discuss the wider aims for implementing a character focus to the Macedonian pre-school curriculum, including Bobby Soobrayan, regional adviser for Education for UNICEF Europe and Central Asia. Aidan also met with Prof. Violeta Petroska-Beshka from the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University to discuss possible collaboration on a character-based research project, and with Elizabeth Fordham and colleagues from the OECD to discuss possible overlaps between Jubilee Centre and OECD approaches to attitudes and values in education.

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Ofsted Praise University of Birmingham School character education programme

25/05/18

In its first Ofsted inspection, the University of Birmingham School’s bespoke character education programme has been singled out for praise. In the report, Ofsted highlight the School’s focus on ‘character education’ and recognise that the programme ensures that leaders promote pupils’ personal development well. Ofsted go on to report that ‘the development of a ‘character education’ programme has rightly received national and international acclaim. Leaders promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and British values very well through the curriculum. This includes through ‘personal learning and development lessons.’

University of Birmingham School Principal Mike Roden said: “Having opened just three years ago, it is a real achievement for the University of Birmingham School to receive a ‘Good’ outcome in all categories.   

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff, governors, our wonderful pupils and students and our parents and carers, for all the contributions that have been made to secure this validation of our distinctive educational programme.”  

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Professor Sir David Eastwood, said: “When the University of Birmingham established the School, we wanted to ensure it was a place of opportunity, a place of inclusivity, and a place where pupils could frame and find their ambition.

“For these reasons, character education has been woven into everything the School does. Staff and pupils have worked tirelessly to create a vibrant learning community, inclusive for all, and I am pleased to see the value of this approach recognised and celebrated by the Ofsted inspection team.”

The Jubilee Centre worked with the School to create the Programme of Study when the School launched in 2015, and has recently conducted a lengthy case study of the School’s focus on character in its Schools of Virtue research report.

The Class of 2017 spoke about the impact that the School has had on their own character development in the LEAVERS film commissioned by the Centre last year (2017).

A press release is available here.

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Deputy Director Publishes New Book on Virtuous Emotions with Oxford University Press

22/05/18

Professor Kristján Kristjánsson’s Virtuous Emotions was published on 3rd May 2018. The aim of this book is to offer a revised ‘Aristotelian’ analysis and moral justification of a number of emotions that Aristotle either neglected (such as awe, grief, and jealousy), relegated, at best, to the level of the semi-virtuous (such as shame), made disparaging remarks about (such as gratitude) or rejected explicitly (such as pity, understood as pain at another person’s deserved bad fortune).

This latest addition to moral education literature presents a compelling vision of the role of the emotions in moral life. Using rich case-studies of six emotions: awe, grief, jealousy, shame, gratitude, and pity, the book explores how education can help us develop morally. The book is aimed at readers in philosophy, social sciences, and psychology. Virtuous Emotions can be purchased here

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Speakers at #CharacterEd2018 Conference Reference Jubilee Centre Framework

15/05/18

On Saturday 12th May 2018, the #CharacterEd2018 conference took place at Lichfield Cathedral School, Staffs. Dr. Catherine Darnell, Research Fellow, spoke at the conference and presented the attached presentation on ‘The Psychological Development of Character’, based on the ‘phronesis’ research project currently being undertaken at the Jubilee Centre.

Other speakers at the conference included Sean Harford, National Director, Education at Ofsted, who spoke about whether it is either possible or desirable to measure character development. In his speech, Mr Harford cited the Jubilee Centre ‘Building Blocks of Character’, calling it one of the most comprehensive definitions of character currently being used in education. Former Secretary of State for Education Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan MP gave the keynote lecture. 

The event was organised by Stephen Lane and Joanne Owens at Lichfield Cathedral School, and brought together those with an interest and passion for delivering character in schools.

Below are images of Mr Harford talking to the Centre’s definition of character, credit Rebecca Tigue (@UoBSCharacter), and of Dr. Darnell responding to Martin Robinson’s speech; credit Jo Owens/Lichfield Cathedral School (@joanneowens).

Above shows Dr. Darnell giving her presentation; credit Jo Owens/Lichfield Cathedral School.

 

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Dr. Tom Harrison Speaks at Conference Attended by the Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan MP

06/05/18

On 25th April, Dr. Tom Harrison gave a keynote address at the Culture and Values in Schools conference in Hertfordshire. The conference was organised by the Partnership of Dacorum Schools and was attended by senior leaders running schools in Hertfordshire. Other speakers included the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan and Dr. Karen Edge. Dr. Harrison gave a presentation entitled Life of Tests or the Tests of Life, focussing primarily on practical approaches to teaching character with a specific focus on cultivating cyber-wisdom in children and young people. The slides are available here.

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Professor James Arthur Receives OBE from Her Majesty The Queen

04/05/18

On Friday 4th May 2018, Professor James Arthur attended a ceremony at Buckingham Palace where he was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to education by Her Majesty The Queen. In accepting the honour, which was announced in the 2018 New Year Honours List, Professor Arthur said: ‘It is a great privilege to receive this honour from Her Majesty The Queen. To be awarded an OBE for my work in character education is also an acknowledgement of the incredible team in the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham.’ When speaking with Her Majesty during the ceremony, Professor Arthur expressed his gratitude for the commitment to character education demonstrated by members of the Royal family. 

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Professor Kristján Kristjánsson Visits National Taiwan Normal University

30/04/18

Deputy Director Professor Kristján Kristjánsson recently visited Taiwan, where he attended the annual conference of the Asia-Pacific Network for Moral Education in Kaohsiung and gave two presentations; One about Epiphanic Moral Conversions and the other in a Plenary Symposium on Cross-Cultural Approaches to Moral Education. Professor Kristjánsson also visited National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei where he met with the President of the University, Professor Wu (see picture). The President expressed interest in collaboration with the Jubilee Centre. During the visit, Professor Kristjánsson gave a presentation to postgraduate students at the university entitled The Research and Practice of Character Education in the UK: An Example of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. The visit emphasised the interest in character education in Taiwan and the synergies with the Jubilee Centre’s current research. The presentations slides are available here.

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New Poll Reveals Support for Character Education Among UK Teachers

13/04/18

A new survey of over 450 practising teachers across the UK has revealed that 80% feel that a greater focus on character education in schools would have a positive impact on pupil attainment. The poll, conducted by Populus and the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, asked teachers about current character education provision within their schools, and the potential impact a greater focus on character might have. Participants in the survey were representative of the diverse composition of British schools, and included those from local authority, academy, free, special, alternative provision and independent schools. Adapted from previous Jubilee Centre research, the poll defined character education as school provision focused on developing ‘positive strengths such as honesty, confidence, and critical thinking’, and teaching students to ‘understand what is ethically important in difficult situations and how to choose the right course of action’. The results show that whilst only 1 in 3 teachers are aware of their school having a specific character education policy in place, provision for character development is currently delivered through a combination of routes.  The poll has been conducted in connection with the Jubilee Centre’s current research project, Teacher Education: Character, Ethics and the Professional Development of Pre- and In-service Teachers.

An Insight Series paper by Prof. James Arthur and Lord James O'Shaughnessy exploring the research evidence for the link between character and attainment can be found here.

Sky News featured the story on its Sunrise programme. The results of the poll were also discussed on local radio station BBC WM's breakfast programme, where Dr. Tom Harrison spoke to host Alex Lester about the importance of character education in schools and what this means in practice. Listen to the interview at the link below (from 2:17):

Read more about the results of the poll in the full press release.

Read the Executive Summary of the full survey here.

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Registration Now Open For Free Two Week Course: Building Character Through Youth Social Action

12/04/18

The Centre's free online course Building Character through Youth Social Action will be taking place from 4th to 15th June 2018. The activities young people do to help others and the environment is becoming increasingly recognised as a way to improve communities and develop young people’s characters. This two week course provides an opportunity to learn about the historical and theoretical roots of youth social action, and learn how social action can be a journey for young people, helping them build their character and confidence. Anyone is eligible to register; find out more here.

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Director Visits West Point Military Academy as Senior Fellow

27/03/18

Professor James Arthur visited West Point Military Academy, New York between the 22nd and 25th March 2018. He was invited to participate as a Senior Fellow in the 6th Annual McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character. This conference brought together officer cadets and students from around the world, with Professor Arthur giving a keynote lecture on leadership and character, and facilitating a seminar group. The focus of the conference was on how society and institutions can leverage the powerful force that a character-based culture provides. The conference was addressed by the former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Bob McDonald, and the former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Below is the official photograph of the conference participants.

The above photograph, taken in Iraq, is of U.S. Army Major Mark Bieger, now Colonel and West Point Chief of Staff, carrying a young Iraqi girl named Farah, whom he attempted to save during a suicide attack in 2005. Professor Arthur had the opportunity to speak at length with Col. Bieger about the role of character in the military. This photo, called ‘Little Girl’, is seen as depicting the ideal character of a virtuous soldier. It is used with kind permission from photographer Michael Yon.

Professor Arthur remained at the West Point Military Academy after the conference to have discussions with members of the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic, along with Jim Rahn, President of the Kern Family Foundation, and Dr. Karen Bohlin, Head of Montrose School.

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Professor James Arthur and Aidan Thompson present at Launch of the Virtue Ethics Foundation

13/03/18

On Monday 12th March 2018, Professor James Arthur and Aidan Thompson spoke at the launch of the Virtue Ethics Foundation in the Kennedy Lecture Theatre at the University College London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. The event also launched the Virtue Ethics Foundation Handbook for ‘Parental Responsibility and Commitment towards Creating a More Ethical World’. This handbook draws heavily from the Jubilee Centre publication A Framework for Character Education in Schools.

Professor James Arthur and Aidan Thompson introduced the Framework to an audience of Muslim scholars and practitioners, and spoke about its application within different contexts and organisations as examples for how Muslim schools can use it for the development of their pupils. Their presentation is available to view here.

The Virtue Ethics Foundation is co-chaired by Mr. Ali Azam and Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain.  

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Director Meets Vatican Secretary of State

06/03/18

Professor James Arthur and Paul Watts had the privilege to be invited,  following their conference in Dubai, to be a part of Cardinal Parolin’s entourage at the Colosseum in Rome on the evening of Saturday 24th February. Professor Arthur had an opportunity to speak with the Cardinal, who is Secretary of State for the Vatican, its most senior official after the Pope and acts as his Prime Minister. The meeting was held to remember all the Christians who have been killed in the last year, marked by illuminating the Colosseum in red as a sign of solidarity with all those who are persecuted for their faith.

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Director and Research Fellow meet with Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dubai

22/02/18

Professor James Arthur and Paul Watts met with Dr. Bushra Al Mulla, Director of Education and Social Affairs Department in the Prime Minister’s Office of the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, on Wednesday 21st February 2018. At the meeting, Prof. Arthur and Mr. Watts discussed strategy and policy in regard to character and happiness initiatives in UAE. They also met with a number of research analysts and officials from the Ministry of State for Happiness team and had detailed discussions about how the Jubilee Centre could assist the government in the UAE further develop the character strengths it seeks to promote in schools and wider society.

Professor Arthur and Mr Watts gave the first public lecture at the new University of Birmingham Dubai campus on character education, to an audience of school leaders. This was followed the next morning by a visit to the prestigious Sunmarke School, which uses the Jubilee Centre's curriculum in its teaching. Professor Arthur gave a talk on character building to the senior students in the school. James and Paul met with officials from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority to discuss how the Jubilee Centre might assist the Authority in utilising research tools to measure and evaluate character and happiness initiatives in Dubai. There is a desire in Dubai to establish a research centre dedicated to the study of character and virtue. James and Paul finally met with the International Positive Education Network team in Dubai, where Professor Arthur is a board member.

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Two New Edited Volumes Published

13/02/18

The Theory and Practice of Virtue Education, which was co-edited by Director of Education, Dr. Tom Harrison, was published on 19th January 2018. This comprehensive and authoritative account of both the theoretical and practical complexities of cultivating virtue in education is compiled from the papers submitted to the Jubilee Centre’s 2017 annual conference. Cultivating Moral Character and Virtue in Professional Practice, which was edited by former Professor at the Jubilee Centre, David Carr, was published on 12th January 2018. This pioneering collection of essays by distinguished leaders in the application of virtue ethics focuses on the place of character and virtue in professional practice. The volume includes two chapters co-authored by Deputy Director, Professor Kristján Kristjánsson and is compiled from the papers submitted to the Jubilee Centre’s 2016 annual conference.  

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Jubilee Centre Appoints Professor Candace Vogler

15/01/18

The Jubilee Centre is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Candace Vogler as Chair in Virtue Theory.  The role is a joint appointment with the Royal Institute of Philosophy.  Professor Vogler is the Principal Investigator on ‘Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life’, a project funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

She has authored two books, John Stuart Mill's Deliberative Landscape: An essay in moral psychology (Routledge, 2001) and Reasonably Vicious (Harvard University Press, 2002), and essays in ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy and literature, cinema, psychoanalysis, gender studies, sexuality studies, and other areas. Her research interests are in practical philosophy (particularly the strand of work in moral philosophy indebted to Elizabeth Anscombe), practical reason, Kant's ethics, Marx, and neo-Aristotelian naturalism. Staff at the Jubilee Centre look forward to working with Candace in the near future.

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Deputy Director, Kristján Kristjánsson's Book Translated into Japanese

09/01/18

Professor Kristján Kristjánsson's book, Aristotelian Character Education (Routledge, 2015), which won a prize as the best Education Book of that year, has just come out in a Japanese translation, published by Reitaku University Press and translated by a team of scholars from that university.

The photograph to the left shows Professor Kristján Kristjánsson receiving the first copy of the Japanese translation from Professor Kazunobu Horiuchi at Oriel College during the Jubilee Centre’s 6th annual conference. The photograph to the right shows the new book cover. 

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Centre Hosts 6th Annual Conference 'Virtues in the Public Sphere'

09/01/18

The Jubilee Centre held its 6th annual conference at Oriel College, Oxford, January 4th -6th 2018, under the title Virtues in the Public Sphere. With four key note speeches, 48 seminar presentations and 102 delegates, the conference was highly successful and widely praised by the attendees for its content and organisation. The key note speeches by Professor John Milbank, Professor John Haldane, Professor Talbot Brewer, Lord James O'Shaughnessy and Professor Marvin Berkowitz were particularly well received. This year’s conference also saw the launch of the Centre’s Shaping the Future publication which documents the achievements of the Centre in terms of engagement, impact and influence. The conference delegates also had the pleasure of attending an outstanding performance of Schola Cantorum by The London Oratory School at Oriel College chapel. More information about the conference, including seminar papers, is available here.

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Professor James Arthur OBE

29/12/17
The Queen has, in the 2018 New Year Honours List (page N10),  bestowed upon Professor James Arthur the title of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to education.
 
In accepting the honour, James acknowledged the contribution of the Jubilee Centre team:
 
‘I am very honoured to be recognised in this New Year’s Honours List. To be awarded an OBE for my work in character education is also an acknowledgement of the incredible team in the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham.’
 
James will attend a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2018 to receive the award from the Queen.
 
 
 
 
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