In a recent life chances speech by the Prime Minister, David Cameron stated that “too many are held back because of generational unemployment, addiction or poor mental health” and this has formed the basis of the government’s new vision for Character Education.
The main aim of this as highlighted in Nicky Morgan’s recent character education speech is “To give every child the chance to dream big dreams, and the tools – the character, the knowledge and the confidence that will let their potential shine brightly”. Morgan goes on to say that good character impacts both on educational outcomes and life chances and as a well-known advocate for wellbeing, the two very much go hand in hand.
Why is Character Education and Wellbeing Important?
Good character traits include persistence, the ability to work with others, humility and resilience in the face of failure. It is about being self-aware, being part of a community, selflessness and self-discipline. It is about playing a full role in society. However, good character is difficult to achieve with poor mental health.
And once again we have seen in the news that mental health care is failing those who need it most and a report by NHS England has shown that around three quarters of people with mental health issues receive no help at all.
But in order to build character you must address mental health and wellbeing and the earlier this is done the better for prevention and improved prospects for the future.
Schools’ Role in Character Education and Wellbeing
Schools are best placed to spot the early signs of poor mental health and emotional wellbeing and changes to the Ofsted common inspection framework has included the emotional and mental wellbeing of students – for schools to achieve good or outstanding status pupils must learn about emotional and mental health and be able to make informed choices regarding their emotional and mental well-being.
With the correct support and training schools can learn the techniques to identify mental health issues and in turn provide vulnerable young people with the tools to raise their mental wellbeing through building resilience – encouraging and support students to adapt during times of stress & adversity.
In her speech, Nicky Morgan, also states the government wants to prepare young people for life in modern Britain, regardless of background or where they grew up and this is where character education comes in and for ‘schools to choose how best to deliver character education in ways that suit their pupils, their teachers and their communities’.
This is where Worth-it Projects can help…
Worth-it Projects and Character Education
An essential part of improving emotional health and wellbeing in young people is to build resilience. Doing so will increase –
- Ownership of own thoughts
- Perspective of self & others
- Development of an action plan
- Development of positive coping strategies
- Decision making
- Impulse control
This is turn will lead to the ability to develop character traits, attributes and behaviours that underpin success in education and work, such as:
- Perseverance, resilience and grit
- Confidence and optimism
- Motivation, drive and ambition
- Neighbourliness and community spirit
- Tolerance and respect
- Honesty, integrity and dignity
- Conscientiousness, curiosity and focus
Here at Worth-it Projects, we are committed to helping schools ensure that more children develop these character traits and to promote, protect and improve emotional and mental wellbeing.