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Schools of Virtue

Schools of Virtue will look to embed character education interventions into 3 ‘beacon’ schools. The project aims to explore schools that place character and virtue development at their heart. The impact on pupil behaviour, attitude to work and attainment, and social behaviour will be monitored and tracked. 

In particular, the project will address the following research questions:


  • What is the impact on young people and teachers when character and values education are placed at the heart of the school philosophy.   What is the impact on the behaviour, attainment and future mindedness of the young people?
  • What should a successful school based on character education look like? What pedagogy should teachers adopt and what should the learning environment be?
  • What interventions have the greatest impact on transforming the character and values of young people?

Read Emily Burn's Virtue Insight piece on the Character Education: Evaluation Handbook for Schools.

Read Emily's blog post on 'Why classroom character and virtues should be in Justine Greening's in tray'. 

The 3 beacon schools will include the University of Birmingham School and provide access to Year 7 and lower Sixth Form pupils. The School has an explicit focus on character education ‘to support the development of happy, fulfilled young adults’. Researchers will spend extended periods of time in each of the 3 schools, designing appropriate interventions, delivering them, and conducting important evaluation to determine their effectiveness.

The project will work with the operational hypothesis that an over-emphasis on academic rather than character development in schools in Britain leaves them unable to meet the needs of the young people and communities they serve. 

It is expected that this work will make a significant contribution to our understanding of virtue and character amongst young people and how interventions may aid the moral development of young people in schools. The project will deliver a research report, teaching and learning resources, and a head-teacher’s report for each school on the effect and impact that the project has had.

Read Danielle Wartnaby's Virtue Insight blog post on 'The Rise of the Academy Chain'. 



Read Mike Fullard's Virtue Insight blog post on 'closing school "exam factories"'.