Scotland has a long and intertwined history with character and values. Robert Owen founded the Institute for the Formation of Character at New Lanark in 1816. The country’s history in education is closely tied to its culture and underpinning values. Scotland’s traditional aspirations relate to social reform, justice and a shared determination to address broad and general questions relating to philosophy, ethics, economics, technology, education and democracy. In this way, Scots have had a profound global impact on economics, science, technology and politics in a way that is disproportionate to its small population.
The moral values of the Scottish Parliamentary Mace – wisdom, integrity, justice, compassion – reflect this history and underpin the four capacities of the Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence: confident individuals, successful learners, effective contributors and responsible citizens. In this way, character and values-based approaches are integral to educational policy in Scotland. Character and values education are not new ideas, but a renewed focus on them is a natural extension of Scotland’s educational history.
Character education is the continual process of learning about ourselves and how we interact with our world. Hence, the purpose of education is not just about preparing young people for a life of tests, but for the tests of life; learning how to BE, as well as THINK and DO.
Character Scotland is an educational charity formed in 2009 by a group of academics, educationalists and entrepreneurs. We believe that character development is the foundation for improved attainment and human flourishing.