Renewed Focus on Virtuous Leadership in Government Policy

The Department for Education have published new guidance for school leadership which highlights the character and virtues of headteachers. The Headteachers’ Standards (2020) replace the National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers (2015) and emphasise ‘ethics and professional conduct’ in section 1 of the guidance. The guidance sets out the ‘Nolan Principles’ which form the basis of the ethical standards expected of public office holders: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership. The Teachers’ Standards guidance can be found in full, here.

There has also been a call for a focus on character and virtues within political leadership. MA Character Education student, Jonathan Mace, recently wrote a letter to the editor of The Times suggesting that dialogue should move away from “heroic” leadership “towards one that is centred on virtue”. Jonathan wrote that “the character of individual leaders cannot be underestimated” and highlighted the moral virtues of compassion, humility and courage. Jonathan’s letter can be see here.

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