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.