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Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL11758, tabled on 23 November 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to promote character education in schools.

Answered on

7 December 2018

World-class education is not only about having the highest standards in academic and technical education, it also means ensuring that education builds character. The government wants children and young people to believe that they can achieve; to have the tenacity to persevere with a task; to be able to recover from adversity; and to link their efforts with uncertain or distant rewards. Developing these character traits means children and young people are more likely to have positive education and labour market outcomes. The department supports young people to participate in a range of activities that can help develop character, such as the National Citizen Service, the Cadet Expansion Programme, and competitive sport.

Almost 500,000 young people have taken part in the National Citizen Service since it was launched in 2011 and we want all young people to have the opportunity to take part in this life changing programme. ​The Cadet Expansion Programme was launched in June 2012 with the aim to deliver 100 new Cadet units in English state‐funded schools by September 2015. This target was achieved ahead of schedule, with 100 approvals by March 2015, and led to a commitment to grow the total number of cadet units parading in schools to a total of 500 units across the UK by April 2020. We are on track to meet this target and there are currently 471 approved units.

Additionally, we are investing £22 million in an Essential Life Skills programme in the 12 Opportunity Areas to enable disadvantaged children and young people living in some of the most deprived parts of the country to participate in regular extra-curricular activities and develop their character and to further drive social mobility.

Ofsted is currently developing proposals for new education inspection arrangements, and plans to consult on these in January 2019. This will include a proposal for a graded judgement on pupils’ personal development. The department is engaging with Ofsted as it develops its proposals, including in relation to coverage of pupil character.