Professor James Arthur has recently co-authored a book on character education with four leading public figures in British life. Titled Educating for a Characterful Society: Responsibility and the Public Good, the publication is the product of collaboration alongside Dame Julia Cleverdon, Baroness Nicky Morgan, Lord James O’Shaughnessy and Sir Anthony Seldon. As Nicky Morgan, former Secretary of State for Education, says: ‘In early 2020 I gave the after-dinner speech at a Jubilee Centre conference on character education. After dinner speeches are never easy to get right. There has to be some (appropriate) humour but also something for the audience to take away. At least this was an audience who already understood the importance of the development of character and individual flourishing. What could I say that took these issues in a new direction? So, I called for the 2020s to be a ‘Decade of Character’ and somehow, in the course of my speech, the subject of this book took shape’. The Commonwealth Future have organised a webinar on Thursday 17th September at 2pm to discuss the book, it is free to register. Registration is accessible here. The full publication is available here.

About the Authors

Professor James Arthur, OBE, is the founder and director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues in the University of Birmingham. He was previously Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Staffing) 2015–2019 and Head of the School of Education 2010–2015.

Dame Julia Cleverdon served for 16 years as Chief Executive of Business in the Community, and then as Special Advisor to The Prince’s Charities from 2007 to 2013. She co-founded Step Up To Serve and the #iwill campaign, following a review she and Amanda Jordan completed for the Prime Minister. She has held voluntary roles chairing Teach First, the Transform Society, the National Literacy Trust, Vice Chair of the Fair Education Alliance and Board member of NCS Trust and the Careers & Enterprise Company.

Baroness Nicky Morgan of Cotes is a British politician who served as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from 2019 to 2020. A member of the Conservative Party, she was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Loughborough from 2010 until 2019. She served as Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities from 2014 until 2016.

Lord James O’Shaughnessy is a former Downing Street aide. He was Director of Policy to Prime Minister David Cameron from May 2010 to October 2011 and was created a life peer in 2015 before being appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care in December 2016. He founded the charity Floreat Education, dedicated to building character and the virtues in schools.

Sir Anthony Seldon, British educator and contemporary historian, is Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham. As an author, he is known in part for his political biographies of John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May. He was Head of Brighton College and headmaster of Wellington College, one of Britain’s coeducational independent boarding schools. He is the co-founder of Action for Happiness and Chair of the National Archives Trust.


Character Strengths for the Working World is an essential event for PSHE Leads, Careers Leads, and Character Education Leads within UK educational institutions. Join us on Thursday, 13th July 2023, from 9am to 5pm at the beautiful Botanical Gardens, Birmingham.


This one-day conference, organised byThe Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham, aims to provide insights, knowledge, and networking opportunities for professionals committed to enhancing character development and employability skills in their students.


Our speakers will share their expertise and perspectives on educational policy and best practices for empowering students to excel in the working world through harnessing their character strengths. The event will include keynote speeches, policy and practitioner panels, interactive sessions, and opportunities to connect with a wide range of professionals and experts in the field.


Our line-up of distinguished speakers includes:

• Rt. Hon. Baroness Nicky Morgan (former Secretary of State for Education)

• Bec Tigue (Character Lead at the University of Birmingham School)

• David Harkin (CEO at 8 Billion Ideas)

• Adrian McLean (Character Ambassador and Multi-academy Trust Lead at Severn Academies)

• The Careers and Enterprise Company


Food and refreshments:

Morning coffee and pastries, lunch, afternoon tea, and a drinks reception will be provided as part of registration for you to enjoy.


Free resources:

There will be multiple free resources available for you to take away at this event. We will be launching a new workbook, based on research funded by the Society for Educational Studies, for use by careers guidance professionals and character educators to help students consider who they are, the character traits they aspire towards, and to align their career choices with this. We will also have multiple other free resources that educators can use within their practice based on over a decade of research at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues.


Attendance is free, but spaces are limited. It is essential to reserve your place in advance to avoid disappointment. Don't miss out on this opportunity to elevate your institution's approach to character education and student employability. Register now to secure your spot at Character Strengths for the Working World.


Register here.