University of Birmingham School

Reflections on the Quality Mark Plus Experience

“At the University of Birmingham School we believe character can be ‘caught’ from interactions with others in our community, ‘taught’ through educational experiences and reflection, and ‘sought’ out by people who come to pursue and direct their own character development.

Such an approach is both broad-based and pervasive; it deepens insight into the morally relevant features of situations, enhances self-awareness when confronting them, and provides ample opportunity to practise and reflect on how to strengthen and integrate more fully the virtues required to meet such challenges.

Working with ACE towards the Quality Mark Plus accreditation has enabled us to authentically and robustly reflect on all we do with other professionals who are expert in the teaching of character. It has highlighted our strengths, and given us meaningful direction on areas we need to continue to develop. We are proud to be joining a cohort of other like-minded schools who also place character firmly at the core of what they do, and look forward to flourishing together.”

“Working with ACE towards the Quality Mark Plus award has enabled us to authentically and robustly reflect on all we do with other professionals who are expert in the teaching of character.”

Assessor Feedback

The University of Birmingham School exhibits an authentic and unwavering commitment to values-led character education. Having ‘practical wisdom’ embedded as the prime purpose of the school’s character provision, ensures its aims are rooted in a philosophy which can underpin and orientate the school’s overall approach. This has shaped the school’s decision not to have a core set of school virtues, but instead promote the idea that all virtues are required to be drawn on, depending on circumstance and context. This enables pupils to do the right thing, at the right time and for the right reason. Students repeatedly spoke about how acting with good character becomes habitual and ‘subconscious,’ as it is ingrained within the culture of the school. The assessment demonstrated that this culture is cultivated with purpose and intent through strong leadership. Pupils consistently referred to the school as having a culture with high levels of understanding and acceptance for all pupils, regardless of background. The nodal-based admissions system, along with the school’s strong ability to embrace pupils with additional support needs, has played an important part in shaping this culture.