A discussion paper published by the Church of England today suggests that the development of intellectual, spiritual, and moral attributes in schools is essential.
Written in partnership with the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at Birmingham University, the publication aims to offer perspectives on what character development may look like in schools and how this might be received by Christians and those of other faiths and none.
The paper, which states that there is no such thing as a neutral education, suggests that development of character must extend beyond traditional virtues of grit and resilience. It concludes that education is not only about producing increasingly efficient economic units - it is also about developing people who can flourish in all areas of their lives.
The release of the publication follows the issuing of a Character Education grant to the Church of England by the Department for Education. This has funded the pilot of a 'What If Learning' character education project in schools, which aims to equip teachers in promoting the development of positive virtues and character traits in the classroom. It is thought to lead to success in learning and to increase community engagement.
Speaking today at a CofE conference on character education, Bishop of Ely, Stephen Conway, Chair of the Board of Education said: “We need an expanded and expansive vision which does not restrict our hard-won freedoms but which invites us to be committed fellow citizens of developed character and loving purpose.”