DfE announces judges for its Character Education Awards

Eight people have been selected to judge applications for the Department for Education’s (DfE) Character Awards which will see schools being able to win up to £35,000.

This month, the DfE launched the awards to celebrate “the excellence and diversity of provision existing within schools who use extra-curricular clubs, community service and other projects to develop character”.

In order to be in with a chance, schools must be able to explain how their character education projects develop 18 “character” traits in their pupils.

This morning, the DfE released a list of those who will be on the judging panel. Winners will be announced at the end of next month, with money awarded the next month.

Up to 27 schools can win the cash, each winner receiving £15,000 with an overall winner receiving an additional £20,000.

Earlier this month a Schools Week investigation challenged the rigour of the process and the DfE then confirmed information submitted as part of the process will be verified before awards are made.

Those on the panel are:

  • Chair: Victoria Beer CBE, Chair of the Teaching Schools Council and Executive Principal for the West Trafford Learning Partnership (Ashton on Mersey and Broadoak schools)
  • Maggie Alphonsi MBE, England Rugby player, Athlete Mentor Manager and Rugby World Cup 2015 Ambassador
  • Professor James Arthur, Head of the School of Education, University of Birmingham and Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues
  • Rob Wall, Head of Education and Employment Policy, CBI
  • Dr Kevan Collins, CEO of The Education Endowment Foundation, a research-based charity raising the educational attainment of disadvantaged pupils
  • Charlotte Hill, CEO of Step up to Serve, a charity that aims to increase the number of young people participating in meaningful social action
  • Jill Litchfield, Headteacher at Bournehall Primary School, Bushey, Hertfordshire and part of the national teaching schools network
  • Diane Reynard, Principal of the East Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre in Leeds and a member of the Teaching Schools Council

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “Delivering the best schools and skills is a key part of our long-term economic plan that is turning Britain around.

“As well as high academic standards, this means providing opportunities for all young people to develop the character and resilience they need to succeed in modern Britain.

“The new Character Awards will help give schools and organisations the tools and support they need to ensure they develop well-rounded pupils ready to go on to an apprenticeship, university or the world of work.”

Maggie Alphonsi MBE, England Rugby player, said: “My experience in rugby tells me that being resilient and ambitious is really important to success. The Character Awards are an exciting opportunity to recognise character as vital in helping young people step up to the challenges that they face, whether it be on the rugby pitch, at school or in work.”

Victoria Beer CBE, Chair of the National Teaching Schools Council, said: “Our expertise across primary and secondary phase education and special school settings has shown us that character building is core part of every child’s success, alongside academic excellence.

“The awards will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best schools and organisations that are making a real difference in this field.”

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