North East

Morpeth First School, Northumberland

Description of our character programme
Our 3 principles which underpin our school’s ethos are Treasured, Courageous, Empowered. 

At Morpeth First School, every year group from Nursery to Year 4 has a weekly lesson taught on one of our 11 character values. This links in with our PSHE curriculum. This means the character taught part of our programme is done very overtly and the children can articulate their learning, using the vocabulary of character. 

Every half term we host the Character Awards, where any child can be nominated by a friend or a member of staff for demonstrating one of the character values in or outside of school. There are 6 awards and the children voted for which famous icons they wanted the awards to be named after, for instance we have the Ant & Dec award for teamwork and collaboration

We use elements of the Commando Joe’s programme in school, delivered by an ex-army serviceman, which further enhances our character curriculum. Staff choose which missions fit best with their topics and wider curriculum and use the resources to deliver alongside the classroom learning.

We have a wide club offer of after school clubs, which are chosen and run by staff who like those activities and feel that they incorporate and promote our character values. We take great pride in ensuring the language of character fills our classrooms and communal spaces. 

How we can help you

  • Character experience days, these include a tour of the school, an insight into how we set up our character curriculum, a session on how to create a vision and decide which values to adopt, how to evidence taught and caught character and how we can help your school to introduce and integrate elements of character education. 
  • The experience days are 9.30-12 as it is easier to release teachers for half a day as they can use their PPA time to attend. 
  • We would be happy to talk to schools at their INSET days.

Our main piece of guidance is
Look at what is already working well in school (often the caught character) and use the ACE self-evaluation framework to identify good practice and gaps. Then look at what other schools are doing and the issues faced in the local community, to design a personalised provision for your school. 

The main benefits of our character programme are
Children as young as Nursery are able to use the language and vocabulary of character.  Most importantly pupils are choosing to make the right decisions, therefore having a positive impact on behaviour and attitudes.  

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Bede Academy, Blyth

Description of our character programme
As an all-through academy, our ultimate aim is to shepherd our children to help them achieve excellence in character and to know they are infinitely precious. We aspire to develop young people who are morally responsible and who use their gifting to positively influence their community. This intention is grounded in the academy’s ethos. At the heart of our ethos is the belief that all are made in the image of God. As a consequence, all are infinitely precious, gifted for a purpose and morally responsible. Therefore, every student and every member of staff is challenged to strive for personal best. They are encouraged to inspire one another in the pursuit of excellence, never settling for anything less than their best. Character Education sits alongside Curriculum Excellence and Community Engagement, as three strands of our trust-wide mission: “Providing Christian-ethos schools of character for the whole community.”

Our character expectations are expressed through “Head, Heart and Hands”.

We provide HEAD knowledge by teaching character through a variety of strands:
1. Through our 5 year assembly plan, which is complemented by daily tutor reflections
2. Through specialist sessions:
a. Commando Joe’s programme in primary years
b. Personal Development programme in the secondary years
3. Through the curriculum

We challenge student’s HEARTS through developing the seven core virtues:
• Love
• Wisdom
• Fairness
• Self-control
• Courage
• Humility
• Integrity
We use the language of our virtues when challenging incidents of misbehaviour, and encourage students to reflect on their character as part of the restoration process

We give students opportunities to use their HANDS to use their good character for the benefit of others, both within their school and their families but also in the wider community:
1. We have a half termly charity focus
2. We provide character challenges
3. We provide a range of leadership opportunities to students, in and out of the academy
4. We celebrate good character through assemblies, corridor displays, newsletters, social media and our website

How we can help you
• We can provide support for faith schools, in terms of navigating how to build a character education programme that is congruent with the school’s ethos
• We can support all through schools with building a programme that works from age 3 to age 18
• We would be happy to work with senior leaders or character leads working at the planning stage, or provide INSET for wider staff groups

Our main piece of guidance is
Spend time thinking about your intent. What are you hoping to achieve? What are you already doing in your school that can be woven into a defined character education programme? Ensure that character education isn’t a bolt-on but permeates through all that you do. Don’t be afraid of over-communicating; it will quickly show your stakeholders what is important to you.

The main benefits of our character programme are
Students are challenged to strive for personal best in everything, and this impacts on their attitude to work, their behaviour and also their generosity. The Bede family is a really special community, where all are valued, challenged and inspired.

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