Knightly Virtues

Project Overview

The Knightly Virtues programme was inspired by the idea that stories of literary significance might be used in primary schools for teaching and learning about qualities of virtuous character. Devised by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, the programme was designed for 9 to 11 year olds and drew on selected classic stories to help teach moral character in schools. The impact of the programme was tested using several rigorous research methods which are detailed in this report, along with the findings which provide substantial empirical evidence for the effectiveness of using stories to develop virtue literacy.

The Knightly Virtues resources are freely available for schools to use here.

Summary of Key Findings

  • Significantly increases pupils’ ability to apply virtue language and concepts in personal contexts
  • Improves the behaviour of certain pupils, as observed by parents, teachers and the participants themselves
  • Closes the gap between pupils in faith and non-faith schools in their grasp of virtue language and concepts in personal contexts

Many schools have been so impressed by results that they have already embedded the programme into their curriculum and whole school ethos.

Summary of Key Recommendations

These recommendations include:

  • Advocating that all primary schools ‘teach’ character education through literacy-based programmes
  • Encouraging opportunities to involve parents in character education programmes to improve home-school partnerships on virtue development
  • All new character-education interventions should be rigorously evaluated using a mixture of research methods to enable a better understanding of ‘what works’