Last week, Northampton Academy held a national ‘Character Conference’ to discuss what it means to provide an education with character to young people.
Character education is about giving students the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to become well-rounded, successful and socially responsible citizens in modern-day Britain and now forms a key strand of Ofsted’s new inspection framework. As well as ensuring that students achieve their very best academically, this means that schools will also be judged on helping students to cultivate all-important attributes like resilience, confidence, and independence.
The event, delivered in partnership with the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, was held to support and enhance the growing commitment of schools to character education. The conference saw 125 delegates from primary and secondary schools across the country come together to discuss the importance of developing students’ character and how this teaching can be built into academic lessons and wider school life.
At the conference, attendees heard from a number of keynote speakers, including Olympic gold medallist Jason Gardener MBE about the power of sport in building character and Chief Executive of United Learning Sir Jon Coles about the innovative approaches the United Learning Trust schools have in delivering education with character. Delegates also had the chance to take part in a range of expert-led workshops and share tips and techniques on how they strive to develop students’ character, confidence and wider attributes in their own schools.
As one of the first schools in the country to be awarded the ‘School of Character’ kitemark last year, Northampton Academy is a trailblazer for character education. Since achieving this award, the academy has continued to dedicate itself to instilling in students its three core values of Respect, Determination and Ambition. Last term, this involved putting on leadership training for Sports Leaders, a Year 7 ‘Market a Penguin’ Enterprise competition and a whole-school ‘My Culture Day’.
Jason Gardener MBE said:
“I was delighted to be invited to present my experiences on how school sport played an integral role in developing my character and provided me with essential skills to succeed in life at the ACE Character Conference at Northampton Academy.”
Nat Parnell, Principal of Northampton Academy, said:
“We are very proud of the character provision we have developed here at Northampton Academy and are delighted to be hosting this event to share what we have learnt with other schools and help them to strengthen their own provision. I look forward to continuing to offer exciting and challenging educational experiences to all of our students and foster in them the attributes they need to lead happy and successful lives, both in school and beyond.”