DfE's Character Awards to recognise schools that build resilience in pupils

The Department for Education will be relaunching the Character Awards, in recognition of the work in schools to help young people build character and resilience.

The awards will highlight innovative or outstanding programmes that develop a wide variety of positive character traits.

Schools will be able to enter in October, ahead of the awards ceremony in March 2020.


Nominations will be considered in the following categories; school culture and ethos, curriculum and teaching; collaboration; a character champion; or delivering against the five Foundations for Building Character. The five foundations are:

Sport – which includes competitive sport and other activities, such as running, martial arts, swimming and purposeful recreational activities, such as rock climbing, hiking, orienteering, yoga or cycling.

Creativity – this involves all creative activities from coding, arts and crafts, writing, graphic design, film making and music composition.

Performing – activities could include dance, theatre and drama, musical performance, choir, debating or public speaking.

Volunteering & Membership – brings together teams, practical action in the service of others or groups, such as volunteering, getting involved in the #iwill campaign, litter-picking, fundraising, any structured youth programmes or uniformed groups like Guides, Scouts, Cadets and Duke of Edinburgh.

World of work – practical experience of the world of work, work experience or entrepreneurship. For primary age children, this may involve opportunities to meet role models from different jobs.

Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE, Co founder of the #iwill campaign and Vice President of Business in the Community said: "The Character Awards will give a much needed opportunity to celebrate the brilliant work schools and colleges are doing to develop character education, spread best practice and showcase innovation and impact. Parents, teachers and employers know that developing character and building self esteem underpins young people’s success and happiness in their life, work and contribution to society.

"As co-founder of the #iwill campaign, a movement of over 1,000 cross-sector partners across the UK, we know that taking part in social action builds young people’s confidence, empathy, resilience, voice and values. We hope the Character Awards will highlight how many more young people, particularly from low-income backgrounds, are building character through making a positive difference to their communities."

This comes after the Education Secretary has placed a greater emphasis on the development of character and resilience as young people grow up.

A new framework developed by school leaders and other experts will be published in the autumn and will include a series of benchmarking questions for schools to assess their delivery of character education.

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