The importance of developing good moral ‘character’ has historically been considered one of the core purposes of education. Much of this attention has been driven by research showing that character attributes like self-regulation (the ability to control one’s emotions), application (the ability to commit to and complete a task) and empathy (the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes) – to name a few – are correlated with higher educational attainment as well as good mental well being, good health and better outcomes in the labour market. There has also been increased attention on developing moral and civic virtues among young people.
With the election of a new Conservative Government, and the reappointment of Nicky Morgan MP as education secretary, developing character will very likely be a key priority in the Department for Education (DfE) over the next parliament. In this report we provide a series of policy recommendations for the new government to ensure that character development is embedded across the education system.