Tom Harrison, Deputy Jubilee Centre Director for Development, recently attended the Character and Resilience Summit hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility.
Speakers included Camila Batmanghelidj (Kids Company), Tony Little (Eton College), Jen Lexmond (Character Counts) as well as the Rt Hon Alan Milburn and Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP. The event was hosted by members of the all-party group on social mobility, including Baroness Tyler, Meg Hillier and Damien Hinds MP. The summit included a brief review of the evidence that ‘character matters’ as well as a discussion about what constitutes character, resilience and emotional wellbeing and how those attributes can be developed to aid young people’s social mobility.
The programme notes stated
‘Known variously as ‘personal resilience and emotional well-being’, ‘character and resilience’ or just plain ‘character’, most people can spot intuitively what it is all about: the ability to make the most of the opportunities that do present themselves, stick at things to complete the task in hand and bounce back from the knocks that life inevitably involves. Whatever GCSEs or GNVQs you might have, where you are on the character scale is clearly going to have a big impact on what you can achieve in life. So, is character just something you are born with or can it be shaped and developed? Many private school heads (among others) would tell you that developing character in young people is core business for them. Yet successive governments’ efforts to narrow the gap between rich and poor have focused all but exclusively on exam results. What is significant in public policy terms is that skills like resilience, self belief and persistence can be taught – not just in early years and in schools but also into adulthood – and that effective work in this area can make a real difference to educational attainment, employability and job success.’
During the event Alan Milburn talked about how character and reliance can be nurtured, Camila Batmanghelidj stated that young people must feel love and secure before being able to develop character and resilience and Tony Little talked about how government has become over obsessed with exam results at the expense of producing well-rounded individuals who succeed in life.
The event attracted the following press coverage