articles about character building

26/06/2016 Schools Week

A third of a £6 million funding pot aimed at building character in school pupils will be targeted at military-style projects, prompting criticism from campaigners.

28/07/2015 The Citizenship Foundation

The Citizenship Foundation's new resources focus on facilitating primary school students' critical thinking skills. Discussing the military in this rigorous way would give students a more balanced impression of armed forces life.


A 'Character Building' series of armed forces toys licensed by the MoD is discredited by the new Veterans for Peace UK short film on some of the things that these toys don't show, and by developments in 'character education' that indicate there is no need for 'military ethos' initiatives in UK schools.

30/06/2015 Citizenship Foundation

In a new film from the Quakers, comedian Mark Thomas and former MP Clare Short claim the Government is misusing the education system to encourage support for its wars and to promote careers in the armed forces.

The Department for Education has given out its £3.5 million ‘Character Awards’ and its £3.5 million Character Education grants, both championed by Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan, to 27 schools and youth organisations in England, and 14 youth projects, respectively.  Despite the DfE's heralding of 'military ethos' as an  excellent means of developing character, none of those awarded mention military-style activities in their descriptions (see here and here).

09/06/2015 ForcesWatch comment

Looking back on being part of a school-based cadet unit, the author reflects that, despite the fun and experience to be gained, the benefits could be achieved with non-military activities which would not present a dangerous and risk-laden career as an enjoyable and exciting activity or expose young people to an environment where bullying and hazing are normalised.

22/01/2015 The Guardian

Growing number of organisations employ ex-servicemen and women to work in schools helping children develop ‘character’

19/01/2015 National Youth Agency

Jon Boagey, operations director [at the National Youth Agency], asks why military ethos doesn’t seem to need evidence to get government funding.

16/01/2015 The Telegraph

Army cadet units could help cut the rate of teenage pregnancies, an education minister has said.

Lord Nash said teenage girls from single-parent families who had “never experienced the love of a man” could be deterred from forming “unsuitable relationships” if they enrolled in a cadet unit.

06/01/2015 TES, Telegraph, and BFBS

The Department for Education has committed a further £3.5m to fund organisations building 'character' among school students, and £1m for research to find the most effective ways that character can be taught in schools. This supports the notion that even if 'military ethos in schools schemes' (such as Challenger Troop, featured in this video) are improving discipline and attainment (the evidence is inadequate), other, non-military approaches with disadvantaged students can have the same results without the fear of other agendas being at play. But with £4.8m spent on 'alternative provision with a military ethos', announced in a press statement full of 'character' rhetoric, the focus seems to be on the military approaches.