Last week Education Secretary Damian Hinds, gave a keynote speech at the Rethinking Resilience conference organised by the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership. Here is a short summary of what he said, links to more information. There are ways to engage on social media if you would like to.
Mr Hinds said that all children must have access to a wide range of activities to help them build the character and resilience they need to succeed. Character and resilience can be as important as GCSEs in helping young people succeed in life and evidence shows that skills like the ability to deal with setbacks and focus on long term goals can even improve academic outcomes. He also acknowledged that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to be able to access character building activities than their more affluent peers, and that this needs to change.
He announced 5 foundations for building character - sport, creativity, performing, volunteering & membership, and the world of work - and said that all children should be able to access at least one activity from each of these foundations, so that every child has the opportunity to try something they enjoy and want to stick at. Each of the five foundations combine elements that will stretch and challenge and will help young people think, develop and grow and which will enhance their self-esteem and confidence.
There are thousands of providers offering these activities both inside and out of schools across the country but a lack of information of what is available must not be a barrier to young people taking up these opportunities. Mr Hinds has pledged to improve the sharing of information between organisations and schools, so pupils, parents and teachers can be signposted to character building activities near them. He made clear that this will not mean additional work for teachers and schools and that he wants to see a joined up effort from the entire community: the five foundations are not the sole responsibility of schools.
Following a roundtable on the school sports action plan, DfE will be exploring how to make it easier for schools to access information on the activities available and help schools and sports governing bodies become more linked up, so pupils can embrace these opportunities. There will then be further work to look at how to signpost schools to other local opportunities such as entrepreneurship programmes, social action and community projects, public speaking and debating workshops.
The 5 foundations for building character encompass an extensive list of activities, which through team work, trying new things, and opening minds, can help young people build character. These aren’t exhaustive lists, but examples of the kinds of activities Mr Hinds has in mind in each of the 5 foundations are:
· Sport – which includes competitive sport and other activities, such as running, martial arts, swimming and purposeful recreational activities, such as rock climbing, hiking, orienteering, gym programmes, yoga or learning to ride a bike.
· Creativity –this involves all kinds of creative activities, such as coding, arts and crafts, writing, graphic design, film making and music composition.
· Performing – activities could include dance, theatre and drama, musical performance, choir, debating or public speaking.
· Volunteering & Membership – this includes practical action in the service of others, such as volunteering, getting involved in the #iwill campaign, litter-picking, fundraising, any structured youth programmes or being a member of a uniformed group like Beavers, Brownies, Cubs, Guides, Scouts, Cadets, or taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.
· World of work – this includes practical experience of the world of work, work experience or entrepreneurship. For primary age children, this may involve opportunities to meet role models from different jobs.
The full text of the speech and the department’s press notice is available as a news story on www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education
If you would like to join the conversation about character and resilience on social media, please use the hashtag #5foundationsforcharacter.
These updates are provided by the HRAEN steering group and comprise information we feel will be most useful to the HRAEN members. Please note that though we want to spread the word about creative activity much of what appears here has not been quality checked by HRAEN and consequently HRAEN does not systematically endorse the projects on this page.
Arts Council England
De La Warr Pavilion
East Sussex Arts Award
Hastings Borough Council
Hastings Museum & Art Gallery
Pallant House Gallery
Rother District Council
South East Bridge
The Pier HUB
White Rock Theatre