All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility with CentreForum and Character Counts
Chris Paterson, Claire Tyler and Jen Lexmond
Why do some talented children grow up to fulfil their ambitions while others never realise their full potential? How do we create a country in which a person’s life chances are determined by their talent, not the circumstances of their birth? These are some of the difficult questions that this Character and Resilience Manifesto aims to tackle.
There is growing evidence linking life chances to things beyond just test scores – that is ‘non-cognitive’ skills. In simple terms, these are attributes such as a belief in one’s ability to succeed, the perseverance to stick with a task and the ability to bounce back from life’s inevitable setbacks. In short, ‘Character and Resilience’.
At a summit last year, The APPG on Social Mobility heard evidence on how these so called ‘soft’ skills lead to hard results: where you are on the character scale will have a big impact on what you achieve. This Manifesto is an attempt to take the next step. It contains what we – as a cross party group – believe to be the best policies to enhance Character and Resilience across the life course.
In doing so, it is both a ‘call to arms’ to policy makers and an attempt to begin a wider national conversation on how developing Character and Resilience can help break down the stubborn blight of social immobility and enable people from every walk of life to realise their full potential.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP said:
“Improving social mobility has been one of my biggest priorities in Government. The work by the APPG on Social Mobility is so valuable because – in collaboration with leading organisations – it is helping to drive innovative thinking such as this examination of the importance of character building and resilience in helping our young people.”
The Education Secretary, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP said:
“As top heads and teachers already know, sports clubs, orchestras and choirs, school plays, cadets, debating competitions all help to build character and instil grit, to give children”s talents an opportunity to grow and to allow them to discover new talents they never knew they had.”
The Shadow Education Secretary, Rt Hon Tristram Hunt MP said:
“This is an excellent report that tackles one of the most pressing questions currently facing our education system: how do we educate resilient young people that have a sense of moral purpose and character, as well as being passionate, reflective learners? The Labour Party firmly believes that character education belongs in the classroom. So I look forward to working with the APPG to ensure that our young people are given the hard-edged skills they need in order to fulfil their potential and enjoy the start in life they deserve.”
Director-General of the CBI, John Cridland said:
“There is a danger that schools become exam factories churning out people who are not sufficiently prepared for life outside the school gates. As this important report shows, alongside academic rigour we also need schools to produce rounded and grounded young people who have the skills and behaviours that businesses want.”
Chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, Alan Milburn said:
“As this valuable report makes clear, schools must do more to promote character skills as well as academic attainment. It is not a question of either/or. The core business of a school must be to do both.”