Northumberland school first in world to be awarded ‘School of Character’ status
12 Jul 2021
Morpeth First School is celebrating after being named the first, First School in the world to be awarded the ‘School of Character’ kitemark.
The Association for Character Education’s Kitemark is awarded to schools that can demonstrate that they take an explicit, planned, and reflective approach to the cultivation of positive character qualities in their pupils in the interests of human flourishing.
In November 2020, following Nadine Fielding’s appointment as headteacher, staff and governors met to discuss and create a new vision and to decide on the Character Values they wanted to instil in pupils at the school.
Nadine Fielding, Headteacher of Morpeth First School, said: “I am bursting with pride at what the staff and children have achieved in such a short space of time.
“It was extremely important for us to create a vision based on our Character Values and to take a journey that made Character Education visible as taught, caught and sought across the school.”
Alongside the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) curriculum pupils receive a weekly lesson on character – the taught element of Character Education, with staff modelling the character values and recognising when pupils demonstrate those values themselves.
“Our children are also extremely good at identifying opportunities to develop characters, often by helping others and this forms the sought part of our education program.
"I would also like to give special thanks to Sadie Rodway our Character Champion, who has worked tirelessly over the last year to ensure Character Education is truly embedded throughout the school. She has done an amazing job and we as a school couldn't be more thankful" continued Nadine.
Bespoke to the school the Character Education programme has been designed around the needs of the pupils. It can be seen throughout the school and the children are encouraged to talk or write about their character, so it is something that plays a part in their daily lives.
Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, said: “This is a brilliant achievement for Morpeth First School. It is great to see that they have instilled Character Education throughout their school giving their children the best start in life.
“By being the first in the world they are also championing the way for other schools in the county to build this into their curriculums giving all children and young people in Northumberland the opportunity to lead happy and healthy lives.
“I congratulate the school staff and pupils for their commitment to instilling this within their school, especially during a period which has been particularly hard for our schools.”
The school is only 1 of 4 primary aged education settings in the country to receive this award following an extensive application process.
The Kitemark is designed to help schools develop and enhance their character education provision, with an aim to not only recognise good practice, but also support schools to develop desirable character qualities that contribute to individual as well as broader societal flourishing.
Henry, a student of the school said: “It makes me proud and happy to be a part of this school.”
Tom Haigh, CEO, Association for Character Education, said: "Schools of Character go beyond solely enabling their pupils to achieve academic success, but support them to develop good character so they can flourish in all areas of their life. This was certainly the case at Morpeth First School, where character and virtue is woven into the very DNA of the school. The Kitemark represents a very high standard of character education and is thoroughly deserved at Morpeth First School. Congratulations to staff, students, governors and parents for this outstanding achievement."
For more information on the Kitemark visit https://character-education.org.uk/