“Practical wisdom – the right way to do the right thing”
Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe
Character is a set of personal traits that produce specific moral emotions, inform motivation and guide conduct. Character education includes all explicit and implicit educational activities that help students to develop positive personal strengths called virtues. Character education is a place in the culture and functions of families, classrooms, schools and other institutions. It is about helping students grasp what is ethically important in situations and how to act for the right reasons. Students need to decide wisely the kind of person they wish to become and to learn to choose between already existing alternatives or to find new ones. In this process, the ultimate aim of character education is the development of good sense, or practical wisdom; the capacity to choose intelligently between alternatives. This capacity involves knowing how to choose the right course of action in difficult situations and it arises gradually out of the experience of making choices and the growth of ethical insight (Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues 2017).
Our vision at Kings Langley School is to enable students to flourish in all areas of their lives, by supporting their development into well-rounded, empathetic beings who are able to contribute and shape society and the wider world, whilst respecting and supporting those who live in it, though the teaching and modelling of good character.
Character education at Kings Langley School is all-encompassing and is uniquely threaded through all areas of curriculum and personal development opportunities that the students receive. We take character education seriously as we believe it is fundamental to the development of our students, and this was demonstrated by being the winners of the inaugural DfE Character Awards and being the first school to receive the Character Kitemark +. In 2021, we were the first school to achieve a successive second award renamed as a Character Quality Mark+.
Character education is taught through our registration programme explicitly and linked carefully to our PSHE programme. Weekly themes, linking to both the registration programme and PSHE are embedded through assemblies, displays and other activities around the school. Subject areas take responsibility for further developing opportunities to discuss virtues and virtue based dilemmas. Whilst the opportunities for students to put their “character” into practise are wide-ranging: extra-curricular clubs including debating club; STEM; music and drama productions, activities week; trips and events such as the Magistrate’s mock trial and the Rotary Chef competition; student leadership including the environmental group, sport leaders; volunteering and charity work including the internal Dragons’ Den; Duke of Edinburgh at both bronze and silver; and Camps International bi-annually.
Despite all the opportunities that are seized to teach character, both explicitly and implicitly, we believe that the modelling of character is a crucial aspect and to this end, we work with staff and parents on character and character virtues. It is important that staff model good character behaviours and engage in positive character language with students, and therefore this is an aspect of our CPD programme. We engage parents/carers with character education, through parent training events and use a mixture of discussion, research and virtue based dilemmas to demonstrate the key principles we are sharing with their children.
Our Character Programme