The Character Conference: A one day event on how policy can build character

Demos and The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues are delighted to host a one-day conference on how to develop and build character through policy.

Speakers will include Tristram Hunt MP, Philip Collins, James O’Shaughnessy and Claudia Wood.

The conference is kindly supported by Cambridge Assessment, the Premier League and NCS.

‘Character’, understood as the skills and attributes that enable people to perform, overcome adversity and flourish, has received renewed attention from both Government and Opposition in recent months. Yet how to develop it, and what Government can do to encourage it, needs to be explored in greater detail.

The Character Conference brings together experts, policy makers and practitioners to discuss these questions and suggest ways forward for government.

This event is free to attend but spaces are limited so you must register your place by emailing [email protected] or calling 020 7367 6314.

Full Programme (subject to change) 

Registration from 8am.

08.30   WELCOME

  • Claudia Wood, Chief Executive of Demos
  • Professor James Arthur, Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues and
    Professor of Education and Civic Engagement, University of Birmingham

08.45   THE CHARACTER GAP

Opening keynote from Tristram Hunt MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Education

  • Q&A chaired by Philip Collins, chief leader writer for the Times and Chair of Demos’ Trustees

10.00   CHARACTER IN THE CLASSROOM: CAN CHARACTER BE TAUGHT?

 Supported by Cambridge Assessment 

  • Tristram Hunt MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education
  • Charlotte Bosworth, Director of Skills and Employment, OCR
  • Peter Cross, CEO, Skillforce
  • Michael Lynas, CEO, NCS  
  • James O’Shaughnessy, Managing Director, Floreat Education
  • Professor Kristjan Kristjansson, Professor of Character Education and Virtue Ethics at University of Birmingham and Deputy Director, The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues

11.45   PLAYING THE GAME: DOES SPORT, ART AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR                   ACTIVITY BUILD CHARACTER?

Supported by the Premier League

  • Lord Holmes, Paralympic Gold Medalist
  • Tarun Kapur CBE, Chief Executive and Academy Principal, the Dean Trust
  • Dan Wright, Associate Fellow, The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues
  • Ralph Scott, Senior Researcher, Demos (chair)



13.00 – 14.00: lunch and networking 

14.00   GENERATION CHARACTER: IS VOLUNTEERING AND SOCIAL ACTION                TRANSFORMING YOUNG PEOPLE?

 Supported by Premier League

  • Baroness Tyler, co-chair of the APPG on Social Mobility
  • Cabinet Office representative
  • Dr Tom Harrison, Deputy Director, The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues
  • George Henry, Graduate of the Kicks programme
  • Danny Kruger, Chief Executive of Only Connect
  • Jonathan Birdwell, Head of Citizenship and Participation at Demos (chair)

15.30  BUILDING CHARACTER: WHAT’S THE ROLE OF PARENTING?

  • Sam Gyimah MP, Minister for Childcare and Education
  • Professor James Arthur, Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues and Professor of Education and Civic Engagement, University of Birmingham
  • Sarah Darton, Director of Parent Programmes, Family Links
  • Leon Feinstein, Director of Evidence, Early Intervention Foundation
  • Claudia Wood, Chief Executive, Demos (chair)

16.30 CLOSING REMARKS

16.45 END