#iwill campaign aims to put social action at heart of character education


A group of leading headteachers and college principals came together this week to debate how social action can be integrated into the lives of young people.

The event on Monday (June 8), was part of the #iwill campaign, which is aiming to get 1.5 million more young people participating in social action work by 2020. 

Supported by around 200 charities and educational initiatives, the campaign is being run by the Step Up To Serve charity and comes at a time when the Department for Education (DfE) is prioritising character education in schools.

The #iwill campaign points to recent research from the Cabinet Office and Behaviour Insights Team showing that involvement in youth social action improves traits such as empathy, cooperation, grit and resilience, as well as problem-solving skills, sense of community and educational attitudes.

Speaking before Monday’s workshop, Dr Andrew Reay, principal of the Kings Leadership Academy in Warrington, said: “I have seen first-hand the positive impact on students at our school who take part in activity that supports the community. For me it creates a real double benefit – building the character and skills of young people involved and enhancing the local area. I am keen to expand this area of activity and help other school leaders to do the same.”

The workshop comes after education secretary Nicky Morgan unveiled grants worth £3.5 million for 14 organisations to fund and expand initiatives that “successfully improve the character of young people”.

The DfE’s character grants include £584,000 for the Prince’s Trust’s XI resilience programme for disadvantaged students, £556,000 for Premier Rugby to deliver character-based programmes in schools in partnership with 14 professional rugby clubs, and £302,000 for the Scout Association for a pilot project in the Midlands equipping schools to deliver scouting activities.

Dame Julia Cleverdon, co-founder and trustee of Step Up To Serve, said: “Great school and college leaders already know that education is about more than just good results. What is equally important is to develop rounded and grounded young people who are able to give more and get more from their lives.”

For more on the #iwill campaign, visit www.iwill.org.uk

For more on the character grants, visit www.gov.uk/government/news/rugby-coaches-to-be-drafted-in-to-help-build-grit-in-pupils


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