Character and Values Education Conference – Scotland

Friday 18th March 12.30pm – 3.30pm at Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh

Putting character and values at the heart of a school can be transformative. Schools of character experience improved academic performance,  outstanding behaviour, lower staff turnover and higher levels of wellbeing. But more importantly they enable the development of a strong moral framework which guides decision making, so pupils and wider society can flourish. For character to be developed effectively it cannot be taught as an isolated subject, it needs to be ‘taught,’ ‘caught’ and ‘sought’ through a whole-school approach. Character and values need to become a part of the very DNA of the school.

The Association for Character Education (ACE) is a Community of Practice with over 250 schools. Within the network are the country’s leading Schools of Character who have developed exceptional outstanding practice in how to develop character in their pupils, so they can make the right decisions to achieve their potential as individuals and wider citizens. ACE’s approach is also research-led through our partnership with the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtue, a world-leading research centre in this field.

This conference is inviting a limited number of schools from across Scotland to hear more about this approach to character development. There will be the chance to hear from keynote speakers and a number of Scottish Schools who are leading the way in integrating character and values across their whole school.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Tom Harrison

Dr Tom Harrison is Director of Education at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtue. Tom is Director of the MA in Character Education at the University of Birmingham and has written a number of books on the importance of developing character in schools.

Gary Lewis

Gary Lewis, ACE Chair and Honorary Research Fellow at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtue. Gary is a former Executive headteacher who has transformed schools through character, and is also an Advisor for the Department for Education on character education.

Q & A Panel


Ruth McCarthy, Head Teacher of Balmalloch Primary School and Nursery Class, Scotland’s first school to be awarded the School of Character Kitemark.  Graduating with honours in Primary Education in 2001, I was a class teacher until 2012.  I completed a PGDE – Primary Physical Education and was awarded distinction, becoming a Principal Teacher in 2012.  I was Acting Head Teacher from 2015-2018 and became Head Teacher of Balmalloch Primary School and  Nursery Class, achieving the School of Character Kitemark in February 2022.

Kay Livingston, Professor of Educational Research, Policy and Practice. Kay works nationally and internationally with policymakers, school leaders and teachers on educational change and was a trustee of Character Education Scotland.

Register to Attend

This conference is free to attend but in order to secure a place you will need to register below.