Our Managing Director Ian Webber has launched a report backed by double Olympic gold medal-winner Dame Kelly Holmes championing the importance of character development in helping young people fulfil their potential, lead happy lives and contribute positively to society.
The Flourishing From the Margins report by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham explores young people’s understanding of what it means to live a good life.
‘‘Rathbone Training has supported this research because we believe that every person should have the opportunity to unlock their potential through learning and this report highlights some important findings around provision of education for marginalised and NEET young people, both of which we exist to serve,” said Ian Webber.
“The focus of our work for over 100 years has very much been on the individual needs of our learners and we have seen the benefits that character development and the character-led teaching of our programmes can have in building positive relationships between our learners and the staff who support them, preparing our learners for employment and enabling them to make a positive impact in the communities they live in.”
The research involved working with nearly 3,250 young people from mainstream and non-mainstream, marginalised and non-marginalised, educational backgrounds, including state secondary schools, academies, Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), Youth Offender Institutions, youth training organisations, and football academies.
Rathbone learners from across the country contributed to this research, which found that 27.4% of non-mainstream pupils responded positively to statements regarding their life’s purpose, compared with 24.2% of pupils in mainstream settings.
The report also underlines the importance of “circles of influence” – both inside and outside the education system – on young people’s perceptions of what constitutes living a “good life”.
Participants who were categorised as “having purpose” were more influenced in their views by those close to them, including friends and family, and especially teachers and those in the wider community. This influence was widely perceived to be positive.
“Teaching character and creating environments that promote positive virtues is arguably more important today than it has been in a long time. Character is central to young people leading positive lives, however it’s also crucial to benefiting local communities. I truly believe it can help heal some of the divides that currently exist within our society at the moment,” said Dame Kelly Holmes.
Below is a video including input from Rathbone learners and staff which paints a positive picture of non-mainstream education.
You can read a full copy of the report HERE.
Character development will be one of the central topics at Rathbone Training’s upcoming National Youth Conference, in Birmingham, which aims to give young people a platform to talk about some of the most important issues affecting them, such as barriers to employment, feeling safe, mental health, building resilience and how to be active citizens in their communities.
If you want to join the conversation please register HERE.