Schools net £193k for ‘character-building’

Consortium heads (l to r) Martin Smith (Axe Valley Community College), Kevin Bawn (Clyst Vale Commun

Consortium heads (l to r) Martin Smith (Axe Valley Community College), Kevin Bawn (Clyst Vale Community College), Faith Jarrett (The King’s School), Kenny Duncan (Sidmouth College) and Glenn Smith (Honiton Community College) . - Credit: Archant

Students at Sidmouth College and The King’s School are to benefit from a £193,784 grant aimed at helping pupils excel.

The money, from the Department for Education’s (DfE) character education grant, will be put to use by a consortium of five East Devon secondary schools.

The group’s bid was one of just 14 successful applications for Whitehall funding, out of more than 1,000 requests from across the country.

The grant will be used to pilot a character-building programme focusing on four key traits of resilience, leadership, community and curiosity.

If successful, the scheme could be rolled out to other schools across the country.

Sidmouth College principal Kenny Duncan said the funding would help the school build on projects students and staff were already running in the community, such as the Dementia Friends scheme.

He said: “It also includes developing leadership skills, which is something that we all need, as well as teaching students to cope with the issues that life throws at them.

Most Read

“The DfE is keen to find out how successful we are as a group, and whether it is something that can be taken up by other schools.

“The school is going through a really fantastic period at the moment. It is very exciting for us to be part of this – it is a real feather to our cap.”

The King’s School headteacher Faith Jarrett said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to develop and embed so many of the things that we already believe are so important to our students.

“We know that students with high self-esteem, who have learnt resilience, strategies to overcome problems and hurdles, and who will persevere when things get tough, are those that achieve their full potential and go on to be successful in their future careers.

“Building on a strong foundation of emotional wellbeing with high aspirations and the opportunity to develop these skills, both in the curriculum and in extra-curricular activities, will be crucial.”

The programme will train staff in effective approaches to building character and developing resilience. There will also be a strong focus on raising aspiration.

The programme aims to partner with local organisations and businesses and will be independently evaluated by Exeter University.