In December 2014, the Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan MP announced a programme of work intending to make Britain a world leader in character education. The programme included support for new projects to increase participation in character-building activities and improve the evidence base, with £3.5 million in grants allocated.

The Scout Association and Demos were successful in their joint bid to design, deliver and evaluate a pilot intervention as part of the grants programme, with Demos’s role being to undertake the independent evaluation. This report presents the findings of that evaluation of the Character by Doing programme, consisting of a full process and impact evaluation, including an impact analysis of participants using data from pre- and post-surveys and school data, as well as qualitative fieldwork with students, staff and parents, and session observations at each of the participating schools.

The report outlines the design of the programme and evaluation, the quantitative analysis of the impact on participants, and process findings relating to the experience of the programme, and draws conclusions on implementation based on the feedback of schools and local delivery partners. Given some difficulties with fidelity to the delivery model in two schools (leading to their exclusion from the impact analysis), it provides more useful lessons on process and implementation than on impact: why it worked for some schools, and did not for others.

The full evaluation report can be downloaded here.

This evaluation was supported by the Scout Association, following the award of a grant from the Department for Education’s Character Education fund.