Character Education and School Improvement


All schools should offer explicit and implicit educational activities that help pupils to develop positive personal character strengths called virtues. It is virtues that sustain a well-rounded life, are fundamental to human flourishing and ensure a thriving society. Schools should aim to develop confident and compassionate pupils, who are effective contributors to society, successful learners, and responsible citizens. This requires schools to have an intentional and planned approach to character education – ensuring that it is central to their vision and goals for school improvement. The aim of this publication is to help schools and teachers to learn about and understand the link between character education and school improvement.

In this publication, we show how character education underpins all four of the Ofsted inspection criteria: quality of education; behaviour and attitudes; personal development; and leadership and management. Schools often use the four criteria and Ofsted inspection guidance to inform their school’s improvement planning. Schools that adopt a longer-term view in their improvement planning will prioritise supporting pupils to develop the character and virtues that contribute to human flourishing. This requires staff to own and embrace character education and not view it as another thing on the plate – but as the plate itself.