Character education is essential for social mobility, says John Bentley, CEO of Inspiring Learning

John Bentley, chief executive officer of Inspiring Learning, the largest independent provider of out of classroom learning experiences in the UK, believes that character education is essential for social mobility.

Character education essential for social mobility

A recent report from the Sutton Trust [1] has looked at the link between personality and earnings and concluded that social skills are increasingly important in the labour market.  It seems that children from advantaged backgrounds are more likely to develop the necessary personality characteristics, so it’s vital that we ensure the same opportunity for less advantaged pupils and all pupils in the state system.  But schools can’t do it all - purely because the nature of schoolwork does not necessarily lend itself to the development of the character traits we need in our young people.

However I do believe that the desired attributes of resilience, persistence and the qualities necessary to develop great leaders and team players can be learned.  The answer is to teach them outside the classroom. The main reason for this is that taking teachers and pupils outside a classroom into a new setting can change and enhance the relationship between them. A residential trip away from school is like a sugar cube onto which you can apply activities and exercises that develop character.  Activities specially designed to foster problem solving, leadership and team-building will naturally encourage the qualities that character education seeks to build.  Most people remember what they did during the five days away on a school trip far longer than they remember the five years they spent in a classroom before or after!


[1] A winning personality: The effects of background on personality and earnings




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