Schools that put character and virtues-led education at the heart of their community ensure that pupils will ‘do the right thing, even when no-one is looking’, says Tom Haigh

Good character education isn’t just about enabling pupils to thrive in life. Character education, properly embedded, is the key to unlocking meaningful and sustainable school improvement.

Low staff turnover, high levels of attainment, a reduction in exclusions, improved attendance and increases in admissions are all, in my experience, features of schools that have a successful character programme.

It is impossible not to have exceptional behaviour in a school whose culture is values-driven and where character is woven into the fabric of school life.

Positive behaviours and attitudes in a “school of character” are virtues-led, and not sanctions-driven. Pupils act respectfully and “do the right thing”. This is not because they want to avoid a punitive sanction, but because their words, actions and conduct are guided by an inner desire to act with honesty, kindness and integrity.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here