The government has unveiled the winners of this year’s character education awards. Nine regional awards worth £15,000 and one national award with a £20,000 prize are handed out every year to schools, youth projects and pupil referral units which demonstrate commitment to the government’s character education aims. Here are this year’s winners…
Thorseby Primary School, Hull – national winner and regional winner for Yorkshire and the Humber
This inner-city primary academy has a mission statement of “children-first” and offers its 496 pupils an “extensive programme” of activities, trips and “wider community projects” – all linked to character-building.
Pupils also learn about enterprise through links with businesses across the city, and a week-long arts festival called Kaleidoscope is hosted by the school, with each individual pupil giving performances.
North Herts Education Support Centre – regional winner for the east of England
This pupil referral unit in Hitchin serves pupils with social, emotional, and mental health problems. It provides tailored vocational learning and qualifications for each pupil, to build up a “toolbox of invaluable practical life skills”.
The unit organises visits to the local college and food bank to encourage pupils to develop courage and confidence to play a part in their communities.
Team London – regional winner for greater London
Set up by then mayor of London Boris Johnson in 2012, this Southwark-based programme has engaged a million pupils in volunteering activities.
The scheme’s Young Ambassadors program provides workshops in communication, leadership, and organisational skills and encourages children to take on social action projects.
The organisation also hosts youth summits that bring together students from local schools to network and collaborate.
Archibald Primary School, Middlesbrough – regional winner for the north east of England
The school’s motto is “believe and achieve” and character education is embedded across the curriculum.
Archibald uses subjects like drama to build character. It is a local hub for the Royal Shakespeare Company and that partnership has allowed pupils to perform on stage at the company’s theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and at Downing Street.
Birtenshaw School, Bolton – regional winner for north west England
Birtenshaw, a special school for three to 19-year-olds with autistic spectrum conditions, communication difficulties, multi-sensory impairments and physical disabilities also have character education tailored to their individual needs.
The school’s stated aim is to “brighten lives and build futures”, and for every child, the starting point is to “build trust and confidence”.
Newlands Primary School, Yateley – regional winner for south east England
Newlands Primary started its mission to put character education at the heart of the school in 2007.
Working with partners The British Council and UNICEF, the school has spent the best part of a decade developing global partnerships with schools in Kenya, South Africa, Sweden and China and helped pupils understand that they can “make a difference in and out of school”.
Great Torrington School, Devon – regional winner for south west England
This mixed secondary school encourages pupils to take part in competitions at local, regional and national levels.
These have included the international Lego league, south west regional show jumping, Rotary Young Chef, Rotary Youth Speaks, Torrington Carnival, Teen Tech Awards, Maths Challenge and the Great Torrington School Spelling Bee.
Nottingham Girls Academy – regional winner for the east midlands
Ensuring pupils become “confident, compassionate and articulate young women” with the “skills to support them through the rest of their lives” is the main aim of the school.
Teachers use “6 R platform”, with “resilience, reflection, reasoning, respect, responsibility and resourcefulness” encouraged.
Character education is centred around a whole school programme called My Personal Best or “MyPB” and life skills including resilience, communication (speaking and listening), integrity and self-management are taught.
The Co-operative Academy, Stoke on Trent – regional winner for the west midlands
Character education at the academy is based on “self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity”, and the majority-disadvantaged pupils are encouraged to participate in student council, enrichment activities and competitive sports.
The school’s vision for pupils is for them to “be the best”, and a wide programme of character building activities including random acts of kindness, art therapy, current affairs and cross country running take place.