The Department for Education have launched a call for evidence on developing young people’s character both in and out of school or college.  The work is being developed with the support of their Character Advisory Group, on which a number of #iwill campaign partners sit, including our co-founder and trustee Dame Julia Cleverdon.

Watch Ella’s short video on the consultation below.

We are calling on all #iwill campaign partners to:

  1.  Submit evidence to the consultation before the deadline of the 5th July, which demonstrates the value of youth social action for character development and the development of compassionate communities, including where it enhances their ‘5 Foundations of Character’ activities. Submit evidence here.
  2.  Suggest DfE adopts a broader definition of character which includes the qualities needed to create compassionate and thriving communities.
  3.  Ask young people to give their opinions and submit their stories via the call for evidence. If you have an event with young people happening before the 5th July, why not use a part of it to capture their ideas and inspiration?

The call for evidence closes on the 5th July.

This is a fantastic opportunity for all #iwill campaign partners, including young people themselves, to showcase and share the work they do to help transform the character of young people through youth social action, as well as the communities supported through their activity.

Alongside a call for evidence, the DfE is also asking for feedback on their definition of character. They are currently defining character as: believing you can achieve; sticking with tasks; seeing a link between effort today and payback in the future; and being able to bounce back from knocks.

We think this definition of character is too narrow. It doesn’t recognise another side to character development – about creating communities that thrive together. With a deeply divided society and significant economic, social and environmental challenges to overcome both now and in the future, empowering young people to be active, compassionate citizens has never been more important. We are asking that the DfE’s definition of character is broadened to include traits such as kindness, empathy, compassion, and caring for others and the natural world – qualities that we all know are developed through youth social action.

Headshot of Ella Cohen

You can contact Senior Education Officer, Ella Cohen here