Sunday, January 11, 2015

£15,000 for Lessons in 'Grit and Resilience'

Source
New award by The Department for Education will reward schools for excellent character education

It is not a typo: £15, 000. According to a Telegraph.co.uk article, the newly created award by The Department for Education will encourage more schools in England to develop the character of their students. The award is also designed to "recognise the nurturing of confidence, optimism, ambition and tolerance within a school environment". It is this kind of education which will apparently give students the chance to leave school as more "fully rounded" and resilient citizens, ready to take on future employment and life itself.

For the schools themselves, the outcome will be cash prizes of up to £15,000 for up to 27 schools across England. Not a bad sum to say the least. It is this money that will hopefully help give schools "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". The DfE hopes that character education will eventually be on the same level as academic learning, when it comes to pupils across the country.

It all sounds very progressive and productive. I like the focus on grit, perseverance and character development of students. The announcement only left me with one question to mull over: How will the DfE evaluate the level of each participating school's grit and resilience? The dictionary defines 'grit' as "courage and resolve; strength of character". While 'resilience' is best summed up as "the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness". Yet, how do we equate that to a particular school's long-term character-building program and lessons, or even style? Followed by deciding which school or community's bid will get a share of the £3.5m funding to "launch programmes that are designed to build pupils' character"?

A little clarity and more structured outline/parameters from the DfE would be very much appreciated. Especially for those schools and individuals who want to participate.

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