‘We need good character to lead ethical, productive, and fulfilling lives. We need good character to create a just, compassionate, and productive society.’ (Lickona in Arthur et al., 2015, p. 4) 

We place great importance on developing our pupils’ ‘character’ through Character Education. We aim to develop our pupils’ personal development and strengthen their character and resilience. 

Character Education brings to the forefront a developed, more meaningful way of exploring human characteristics and virtues and how these develop one’s ability to engage positively within: socialisation situations and academic challenge. Character Education descriptions and educational aims vary globally and regionally. Our vision stems from the theoretical perspectives of Peterson Et al, 2004. Their theoretical understanding of character development celebrates the positive aspects of human growth by identifying core virtues, across principles, which they agreed lead to a meaningful life and personal growth. 


This programme teaches the pupils about ‘The Science of Character’ and ‘Character Muscles’. Our children have become familiar with all of our chosen character muscles. The children are immersed in the vocabulary during lessons and assemblies. Children are encouraged to use the vocabulary to explain situations which have stimulated emotional responses. In doing so, the children gain an intelligent understanding of social and emotional situations enabling them to self -regulate – never giving up!

In addition, we have connected Dweek’s, 2018’s work on growth and fixed mindsets. A fixed mindset believes in innate abilities which determine achievement opposed to a growth mindset which considers ability can change with practise and reflection. A person practising a growth mindset does not allow failure to hinder future growth – in contrast, they recognise it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Metacognition ‘Thinking about thinking’

Teachers at Vernon Terrace Primary school plan opportunities for our pupils develop 5 thought processes:

  • Searching for meaning
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making


  • Concentration: The act of focusing your attention. The art of not being distracted.
  • Perseverance: Not giving up even when something is difficult.
  • Communicating: Sharing ideas freely/clearly with others whilst respecting other people’s ideas.
  • Respect: Being considerate towards other people’s ideas & beliefs. Considering the views of others.
  • Teamwork: Allowing others to join in and not limiting yourself to certain people.
  • Independence: Not relying on others to do things for you.
  • Enthusiasm: Ready and keen to learn all there is to know.
  • Questioning: Asking questions if you are unsure. Asking questions to develop a deeper understanding.
  • Humility: Not showing off. Being thankful and showing appreciation.
  • Adaptability: The quality of being able to adjust to new conditions.
  • Curiosity: A strong desire to learn or know something. Asking questions to learn more.
  • Reasoning: The ability to think, talk, and write about things in a logical way. Seeing other people’s point of view.
  • Problem solving: Use a variety of strategies and resources to help you solve something difficult.
  • Integrity: Being honest and telling the truth. Doing the ‘right thing’.
  • Friendship: Involves trust, generosity, sharing & empathy.
  • Optimism: Thinking positively and seeing the bright side. Believing something difficult can be achieved.
  • Self-esteem: To have confidence in one's own worth or abilities; self-respect.
  • Metacognition: An awareness and understanding of one's own thought processes and how we learn.
  • Aspiration: A hope or ambition of achieving something.
  • Risk Taking: Willing to take risky actions in the hope of achieving a desired result.
  • Self-control: The ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions, especially in difficult situations.
  • Creativity: Be able to the use your imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.
  • Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
  • Cooperation: The action or process of working together to the same end. Assistance, especially by complying readily with requests.
  • Humour: The quality of being appropriately amusing or comic within the intent of making others happy.
  • Kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
  • Resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.
  • Courage: The ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.
  • Improving: Develop your moral or intellectual ability/thinking.
  • Confidence: The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something. Or feeling or showing certainty about something.
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