Being a School of Character- Lessons from Northampton Academy

ACE previously awarded Northampton Academy with the School of Character Kitemark due to its impressive approach to character education. More recently Ofsted inspected the school and praised,

“The school’s strongly held values of respect, determination and ambition [that] help [pupils] to reflect on and develop their character. Character development is at the heart of the school’s work … Leaders understand the risks young people may face and ensure that the ‘character’ curriculum helps them to make safe choices.”

Chris Clyne, Vice Principal – Pastoral, Northampton Academy explains that the success of the school’s character education is down to having it at the heart of the school and driven by the Headteacher. Chris explained,

“Character, when implemented properly, can transform young people’s lives, it gives the ‘rudder’ to guide them through the ups and downs that life has in store for them. Character must be the at the centre of the school and must be driven from the very top. If you are reading this because your Headteacher has asked you to ‘do something about character’ then stop, it will not work. Your Headteacher must firmly believe in Character for it to be embedded properly.

In order to develop a long term culture within a school then Character should be the bedrock of everything the school does. Values should be at the heart of every decision made and seen across every aspects of the school; ranging from every interaction with parents/students/staff to every new appointment made in school. We have a moral duty as educators to ensure that the children that leave our schools leave with a set of values that can help guide them through the ups and downs that life will present them with. Character is not just something that is given to a member of SLT to do something with, Character Education needs to be driven from the top and the Headteacher must be fully behind this.”