Character can and should be taught in school, says Hunt

Tristram Hunt Tristram Hunt says character should be taught in school

Related Stories

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt says character, creativity and resilience should be taught in England's schools.

In a speech in London, he said there was "growing evidence that character can be taught".

He argued the qualities are "vitally important in preparing young people for the economy of the future".

A cross-party parliamentary group earlier this week had also called for more emphasis on building character.

Mr Hunt, in a speech to AQA's Creative Education conference in London, set out broad themes of Labour's education policy ahead of next year's general election.

'Emerging research'

He argued that character and resilience are vital components of a rounded education and good preparation for a career, and that instilling them in young people "should not be left to chance".

The globalised jobs market of the future would require creativity and innovation from young people and an ability to be resilient to change, he said.

An understanding of digital technology would need to be blended with skills drawn from the liberal arts and humanities, he told his audience at the exam board's conference at the Institute of Education.

The pressure on schools to meet exam targets needed to be balanced with the need to give pupils less easily measured skills, such as a sense of character.

"Emerging research, from people like Prof James Heckman at the University of Chicago and Prof James Arthur at the University of Birmingham, clearly demonstrates that character can be taught," said Mr Hunt.

He said this should be recognised at the heart of education.

"What is clear is that this is about more than bolting on some music lessons or sports clubs to the school day.

"No, this is about learning from the rigorous academic discipline that is character education and implementing a holistic approach that goes beyond extra-curricular activities and into the classroom."

When young people were so immersed in social media and faced such a volume of ideas, images and information from the internet, he said there was more need than ever to teach young people about being able to concentrate and to have "self control".

The globalisation of knowledge and its instant availability raised questions about how young people should be taught to handle so much information.

Mr Hunt also warned of a "narrowing in the curriculum", arguing there was a shift away from practical skills in science and the arts.

'Vulnerable and disadvantaged'

Mr Hunt said he wants teacher training colleges to include the teaching of resilience and character in their courses, and for schools to "use the curriculum freedoms at their disposal to embed character education and resilience across their curricula".

Responding to a question about teacher training, he said he had "reservations" about the shift away from university education departments into more school-based training.

Embedding the teaching of character and resilience, including in teacher training, will have beneficial impacts on the country's economic success and social mobility, because young people will be taught how to bounce back from setbacks, he said.

"Research clearly shows that vulnerable and disadvantaged young people are far more likely to deal with the consequences of failure and setbacks in a negative way," he said.

Wellington College has taught resilience as a timetabled subject since 2006.

The independent school's director of well-being, Ian Morris, said the lessons would help pupils in school and in later life.

"They really enjoy the lessons, and the benefits are real and significant, including them being able to accept and manage difficult emotions, knowing how to calm themselves when things get tough, learning to appreciate what empathy and kindness mean in everyday life and how to learn from challenge and stress," he said.

"I've seen the multiple positive effects that the teaching of resilience skills has had on the hundreds of children I've taught and I agree that well-being should be a timetabled subject for every child."

More on This Story

Related Stories

BBC London

Weather

London

19 °C 7 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Firearms seizure 13:51:

    Thirty firearms, including assault rifles, sawn off shotguns, Uzi and a Thompson machine gun, and ammunition were seized from an address in Leyton, Met Police said.

    A 51-year-old man was arrested following the intelligence-led operation yesterday morning. Acting Det Supt Gary Bruce said: "The size of the seizure is exceptional and the danger of the these weapons in the wrong hands cannot be overestimated."

     
  2.  
    Indian artist at V&A 13:40:

    The final nine paintings made by one of India's most famous artists, MF Husain, will be shown in public for the first time this summer.

    Three Dynasties by MF Husain, courtesy of Mrs Usha Mittal Three Dynasties by MF Husain

    The Indian Civilisation series would be on display at London's Victoria and Albert Museum from 28 May to 27 July, auction house Christie's said.

     
  3.  
    Police vehicle in collision 13:30:

    A marked police car was involved in a collision with two other cars outside University Hospital in Lewisham at about 11:00, the Met says.

    London Ambulance says three people were treated at the scene suffering from neck and chest pains before being taken to hospital.

     
  4.  
    Dog finds missing 92-year-old 13:20:

    A 92-year-old who went missing from a care home in Claremont Way in Barnet on Wednesday was found by a police dog in a nearby wooded area.

    Mykola Muzyka, who suffers with dementia, had got tangled in the dense undergrowth where the dog was able to track him, Metropolitan Police said.

     
  5.  
    Lunchtime news 13:09: Sonja Jessup Presenter, BBC London News

    We'll be hearing from GPs about concerns that some surgeries in London could have to close because of government cuts to funding.

    And we take a look inside the London laboratory that's studying babies to help them understand more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

     
  6.  
    Collision in Lewisham 13:00:

    There has been a collision outside University Hospital on Lewisham High Street. Police are directing traffic past the scene, TfL Traffic News has tweeted.

     
  7.  
    Justice 'severely lacking' for shot PC 12:50:

    John Murray, a friend and former colleague of shot officer Yvonne Fletcher, said three decades on justice has been "severely lacking".

    Floral tributes at the memorial for PC Yvonne Fletcher

    He said he believed the Met and the UK government had "lacked the commitment" in solving the murder. Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe responded: "John is very passionate about this case, but he's no more passionate than I am."

     
  8.  
    Coldplay at the Albert Hall 12:40:

    Coldplay will perform at London's Royal Albert Hall on 1 July to tie in with the release of their their sixth studio album, Ghost Stories.

    The band are set to release the album on 19 May.

     
  9.  
    Robert Elms show 12:25: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    We'll be hearing about the acts featuring in this year's London International Ska Festival from organiser Sean Flowerdew and Robert will be talking to one of the performers, Dennis Bovell.

    Headline acts this Easter weekend include Horace Andy, Derrick Morgan, Keith & Tex, and Ken Parker.

     
  10.  
    Cyclist injured 12:17:

    A cyclist, who was training with a friend for the London to Brighton bike ride, has been injured after a hit-and-run incident in Copthorne, West Sussex.

    The 23-year-old from Horley, Surrey, was clipped by the wing mirror of a black Peugeot car yesterday evening as he rode along Copthorne Common Road, Sussex Police said.

     
  11.  
    On this day 12:05:

    Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral was held at St Paul's Cathedral on 17 April last year.

    The funeral of Margaret Thatcher
     
  12.  
    Lamb-less meals 11:55:

    A series of tests in London and Birmingham takeaways has found nearly of third of lamb meals contained a different meat.

    The Foods Standards Agency (FSA) found that 43 out of 145 samples of lamb takeaways - usually curries or kebabs - were wrongly described, and contained beef which is cheaper than lamb.

     
  13.  
    Firearms seizure 11:46:

    Metropolitan Police tweeted: Thirty firearms seized by #WalthamForest#Gangs Task Force in one of the Met's biggest ever gun seizures.

    Guns seized by police
     
  14.  
    Arsenal women held 11:34: Tony Leighton Women's football reporter

    Alex Scott's goal ensured FA Cup holders Arsenal opened their Women's Super League season with a 1-1 draw at Notts County.

    The Gunners were poor before the break, but much better in the second half and may well have won the game after right-back Scott levelled.

     
  15.  
    Libyan embassy siege 11:25:

    PC Yvonne Fletcher was one of 50 officers policing a protest against Colonel Gaddafi's regime outside the Libyan embassy in St James's Square in 1984 when she was hit by gunfire from a first-floor window.

    Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Tim Fletcher (centre) and Queenie Fletcher (right) Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Tim Fletcher (centre) and Queenie Fletcher (right)

    Her death led to an 11-day siege of the building and the severing of diplomatic links between the UK and Libya. Her parents, Tim and Queenie Fletcher, were present at the memorial along with relatives, friends and colleagues from the Met Police.

     
  16.  
    Shot PC Yvonne Fletcher remembered 11:15: Guy Smith BBC London's Home Affairs Correspondent

    tweeted: Met commissioner paying tribute to PC Yvonne Fletcher, killed 30 years ago today. Killer still not caught.

    Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe
     
  17.  
    Met vows to catch PC's killer 11:04:

    Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said officers are "determined to make sure we catch the person responsible" for the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher, who was killed 30 years ago.

    Memorial plaque of PC Yvonne Fletcher

    The 25-year-old officer was shot dead outside Libya's London embassy in St James's Square, central London, on 17 April 1984. A two-minute silence has been observed at the spot where she was gunned down.

     
  18.  
    Barnet FC stadium row 10:54:

    A councillor who voted for Harrow Borough Council not to fight Barnet FC's planning appeal over the Hive stadium says he does not want to put taxpayer's money at risk, reports the Harrow Times.

     
  19.  
    Signal problems 10:42:

    National Rail has said a signalling problem between Hayes and Elmers End is causing delays of up to 20 minutes to trains between Hayes and London Charing Cross.

     
  20.  
    Mother at 12 10:29: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Shannon Doyle, from the charity Straight Talking, told Vanessa Feltz that she was 18 years old when she had her child and had thought bringing up a child would be "easy" but later realised the child took up all her time.

    If she could she would wish to change the age at which she had her baby. Children need to be made more aware of how not to get pregnant and the implications of being a teenage parent, Ms Doyle said.

     
  21.  
    Crystal Palace result row 10:17:

    Cardiff's 3-0 defeat by Crystal Palace in early April should not be allowed to stand, the Welsh club have said in a five-page letter obtained by the BBC.

    Cardiff City playing Crystal Palace

    The document, sent by club lawyers to the Premier League, alleges Palace boss Tony Pulis knew sporting director Iain Moody was trying to obtain Cardiff's starting line-up before the game.

     
  22.  
    North Circular lanes blocked 10:03:

    TfL Traffic News tweeted: [A406] North Circular Road (Westbound) at the junction of Hale End Road - lanes 1 & 2 blocked due to a collision. Q's beyond Waterworks.

     
  23.  
    Palace help Arsenal 09:58: Brendan McLoughlin BBC Sport

    Everton handed the initiative back to Arsenal in the race for fourth as their seven-match winning streak ended with a damaging defeat to Crystal Palace.

    Jason Puncheon's half-volley and Scott Dann's header put Palace in control before Cameron Jerome added a third for the Eagles to see them win 2-3.

     
  24.  
    Mother at 12 09:50: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Speaking on the issue of a north London 12-year-old girl becoming a mother, Christine from Stratford told Vanessa Feltz that Britain had lost its moral compass and the "circumstances are appalling".

    Christine says she tells her 12-year-old son not to go up to their friends' bedrooms without an adult's permission. She has also told him that if he becomes a young father he would be stuck in a home looking after the child while his friends built their careers.

     
  25.  
    TfL strike over pay row 09:44:

    Supervisors and managers at Transport for London (TfL) have voted to go on strike in a row over pay and pensions.

    The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said 1,000 staff had backed action by 3-1 in protest at a wage freeze and cuts to their final salary pensions.

     
  26.  
    Delays on Eurostar 09:35: Paul Murphy-Kasp Journalist, BBC London

    Eurostar is running with delays of around two hours on all services in and out of St Pancras International station after a person was hit by a train near Lille in France.

    All lines near Lille are blocked while emergency services attend the scene, but Eurostar is advising anyone booked on a train to check-in as normal.

     
  27.  
    On this day 09:27:

    In 1984, PC Yvonne Fletcher was shot dead outside the Libyan People's Bureau in central London.

    PC Yvonne Fletcher

    She had been policing a small demonstration outside the embassy.

     
  28.  
    Your views 09:16:

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you news, sport, travel and weather updates in one place. We'd like to know what you think.

     
  29.  
    A return to Londonistan? 09:05: Frank Gardner BBC security correspondent

    The widely acknowledged failure of the Arab Spring uprisings to deliver democracy to the Middle East is reverberating here in Britain.

    With a backlash under way by some Arab governments against their opponents, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, could London once again become a haven for Arab dissidents bent on removing their own governments, as it was in the 1990s?

     
  30.  
    Forensic evidence lost 08:55: BBC London 94.9

    Most cold cases are solved on forensic evidence, something that is missing in PC Keith Blakelock's case, Tony Meisels, the lawyer for Nicholas Jacobs, told BBC London 94.9.

    PC Keith Blakelock PC Keith Blakelock was stabbed 43 times

    He said the "forensic opportunities were generally lost at the time" of the riots in Tottenham in 1985 as the scene was cleared, and without forensic evidence the case would be difficult to solve.

     
  31.  
    Seeking compensation? 08:46: BBC London 94.9

    Nicholas Jacobs has a "very strong case" for seeking compensation for being kept in custody for an extra night after being cleared of killing PC Keith Blakelock in 1985, Mr Jacob's lawyer told BBC London 94.9's Breakfast Show.

    Tony Meisels Tony Meisels says his client has a case for being held an extra night

    But Tony Meisels said his client is yet to decide whether he will seek compensation for being put on trial for a murder he did not commit.

     
  32.  
    Cleared Blakelock suspect 'frustrated' 08:36: BBC London 94.9

    Tony Meisels, the lawyer for Nicholas Jacobs, who was cleared of the murder of PC Keith Blakelock has said Mr Jacobs was "frustrated" by the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to prosecute him.

    Following the trial Mr Jacobs was "emotional" and needed time to gather his thoughts before speaking to the media.

     
  33.  
    PC Blakelock murder 08:26:

    The man cleared of killing PC Keith Blakelock has said he would feel "angry and disappointed at the system" if he was a member of the police officer's family.

    Nicky Jacobs Nicky Jacobs

    Speaking to BBC Newsnight, he said he would be outside court petitioning if he was in their position. Watch the full interview.

     
  34.  
    Becoming a mother at 12 08:22: BBC London 94.9

    The father of a 12-year-old girl from north London, who became one of the country's youngest mums after giving birth to a baby girl, says it is better than finding out she is on drugs.

    Some people say social services or even the police should be involved. Vanessa Feltz is asking what do you think? Live from 09:00.

     
  35.  
    Latest updates
  36.  
    Travel 08:14: Paul Murphy-Kasp Journalist, BBC London

    There has been a collision northbound on the A2 Old Kent Road, near Albany Road, which is leading to delays.

    There is congestion on the M25, especially clockwise over the QE2 Bridge and anticlockwise approaching J16 M40.

    Trains and Tubes are all reporting no problems so far this morning. Keep up to date by following @BBCTravelAlert.

     
  37.  
    Weather 08:05:

    It's a bright and dry start to the day, as this picture of the River Thames this morning shows.

    River Thames

    It'll be warm by the afternoon before cloud will gradually increase from the north with the risk of the odd light shower through to the evening. Highs of 15C (59F).

     
  38.  
    08:00: Debabani Majumdar BBC London News

    Morning. I'll be here throughout the day bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather for London.

    You can tell me your news by emailing london.locallive@bbc.co.uk or tweeting @BBCLondonNews.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ChildMovie magic

    What do the similarities in children's movies reveal about cinema - and us?

Programmes

  • JellyClick Watch

    Can Twitter’s co-founder Biz Stone break the mould with his social Q&A Jelly app?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.