CAPTION: Character Development encourages children to recognise strengths in their character

Character Development Programme to Inspire More Confidence in School Children After Year of Uncertainty

Posted: 21st October, 2021

Over the last year from September 2020, leaders across the Alumnis Multi Academy Trust have been developing and implementing a programme focused on growing a young person’s sense of self.

Rachael Sharpe, Executive Headteacher of Clawton Primary School, Dolton Church of England School and The Clinton Church of England School

Rachael Sharpe, Executive Headteacher within the Alumnis Trust has been key to the Character Development Programme being established across the Trust.

She said, “Quite often as schools we talk about what skills children have as strengths.

“This programme is about what skills they have in their character, for example, some children have exceptional patience or are really determined.

“And we also look at is what character virtues do we need to develop as individuals and work on these areas.

“It is a whole approach.”

The Character Education Programme introduces six ‘Inspiring Changemakers’ criteria for children to work on over the year on which the school curriculum is built around (including residentials and sporting competitions and weekly activities).

The awards children can receive when meeting the criteria are:

Inspiring Adventurer

Inspiring Speakers

Inspiring Skill Builders

Inspiring Volunteers

Inspiring Researcher

Inspiring Young Leader

As the children work towards these awards, they are encouraged to recognise what elements of their character they are using.

In Church of England schools, the programme emphasises stories from the Bible and considers when Jesus and when other people demonstrated character virtues and how that in turn can help us to live our life.

Photo: Classroom

School children missed out on over one third of learning time in 2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, studies estimate that children in the UK lost between one third to one half of learning time since schools, nurseries and colleges first went into lockdown in March 2020.

Rachael said, “At the moment people talk about the gaps in education during the pandemic that meant children missed learning, but ultimately as a society we all developed our characters in that time.

“There were so many things that we saw on the news and so many things that we did that demonstrate positive character virtues.

“Coming out of that pandemic it is important not to lose that and to really think about how we grew, what we learnt from those last two years and how can we move on.”

“In a time where Ofsted is so subject driven, its really important as educationalists we hold onto the fact that we are developing the whole child.” – Rachael Sharpe

Over the last academic year, Rachael Sharpe has done a research paper on whether developing character effects academic success.

Her results demonstrate that it does which supports the research by the Birmingham Jubilee Centre.

“If you teach character and talk about character, then that in turn increases attendance because people feel good about themselves and that in turn raises academic studies and levels,” she said.

“In a time where Ofsted is so subject driven, it is really important as educationalists that we hold onto the fact that we are developing the whole child.”

Staff are also encouraged to consider their own character virtues, strengths, and areas of development.

The programme puts emphasis on showing children that it is not just academic strengths that matter and determine your future.

The Character Development Programme is for staff as well as students

“We link it to jobs around the world because, ultimately, it’s not just about if you are really good at Maths then you should be an architect or an accountant, it’s also about your strengths in your character that could mean you would be good working in a care profession or you might be an effective leader when you are older.” Rachael Sharpe said.


“It is about allowing the whole person to flourish, not just about the academic excellence in school.”