John Bentley, chief executive officer of Inspiring Learning, believes that character education should be put on the national curriculum

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 should be put on the national curriculum – but with a proviso about its delivery. 

Put character education on the national curriculum

The time has come to step up and demand that character education is addressed through the national curriculum.  The idea that pupils should be more rounded and better equipped to overcome the stresses and challenges of school, employment and adult life must be applauded, encouraged and expanded upon.  



I’ve therefore been delighted to note the recent growing swell of opinion that ‘character education’ matters.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan have both made recent speeches[1] highlighting their belief that character traits such as persistence, resilience, self discipline and the ability to work with others, are key in preparing young people for success at school and in their adult life in the working world. 

Their conclusion is backed up by numerous studies that have shown that strong character attributes are correlated with educational attainment, school attendance and positive attitudes towards school, as referenced in the Demos report ‘Character Nation’ [2].

The Jubilee Centre, part of the School of Education at the University of Birmingham and a leading informant on policy and practice in this area, has also made key statements on the importance of character education. Their work includes a documentary about how developing a character-based school ethos can transform schools and students.


There’s a strong financial commitment too.  David Cameron has announced £1bn of government funding for the National Citizen Service (NCS) the voluntary personal and social development programme targeting 16-17 year olds in England and Northern Ireland, which uses a teambuilding residential trip to knit together young people from diverse social backgrounds.

But ideas and governments come and go.  Recognition by government is good but does not go far enough. 

If Ms Morgan and the government are serious and believe character education is important, they should make it part of the national curriculum.  It would be an excellent way of ensuring that our young people thrive, despite the pressures of the new high stake linear exams and the negative effects of 24/7 social media that they face. 

By putting character education on the curriculum, schools would produce more rounded individuals, the next generation of global citizens.

[2] The Demos report ‘Character Nation’: July 2015



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