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(Department for Education) Character and Resilience: A call for evidence

06 June 2019

The Department for Education is seeking views on the development of character and resilience in young people.

This consultation provides the BPS with a good opportunity to promote the psychological research and practice evidence base. Responses will inform the DfE’s advisory group which will make recommendations to Damian Hinds.

Hinds’ advisory group of experts in character education has been set up to look at how best to support schools to run more activities, which will help build character and resilience. Hinds’ has defined character as:

  • believing that you can achieve
  • being able to stick with the task in hand
  • seeing a link between effort today and payback in the future, and
  • being able to bounce back from the knocks that life inevitably brings to all of us.

However, their approach seems to put the problem ‘in the child’ – it is a deficiency model. It does not take account of a psycho/social/economic context.

For example, there appears to be no appreciation of Adverse Childhood Experiences. So whilst character and resilience are important they need to be viewed in the context with children’s social environment etc. 

Questions worth considering include - Could Anna Freud’s Thrive framework be helpful? Could a community resilience model be helpful (I’m thinking of The Young Foundation’s paper Adapting to change: the role of community resilience)?

Other considerations we might cite could be - how effective is character/resilience education?  How can they be measured?

Another element of this consultation relates to closing the attainment gap between those children living in poverty and those that do not.  Can we therefore provide good evidence on the effectiveness of Children’s Services, Sure Start Centres, Youth Clubs, Community Services? What’s the evidence base for diverting children away from gang culture, knife crime and anti-social behaviour? 

Please do read through the questions on the attached proforma – What would our top recommendation be for each question?  We look forward to hearing from you.

Getting Involved

Send your comments to [email protected] using the form below.

The deadline for responses is Monday the 24th of June.

Please note:

  • The Society will only produce ONE response to any consultation.
  • Any response that goes under the Society logo MUST be signed off by the relevant Board Chair and Branch Chair in the case of Devolved Nations.
  • Responses on behalf of particular Divisions / Faculties / Member Networks are not permitted under any circumstances.
  • Please do refer to the British Psychological Society Consultation Processes document which is attached before writing and sending any comments
  • Please ensure that all comments are based on Published Evidence and not solely on clinical opinion



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