Press release: Funding boost for schools helping pupils develop character

Schools that are using a wide range of activities to help broaden children’s learning experiences and boost character can now receive a share of £6 million to boost that work and share it with others, Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson announced today (26 May 2016).

This year’s character grants – a scheme that began in 2015 to fund schools and organisations promoting traits such as resilience and respect – are aimed at schools that use activities such as sports, debating or music to provide a rounded learning experience for children. From today, schools, colleges and organisations can apply for a share of the £6 million fund.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said:

Instilling positive character traits and academic excellence are 2 sides of the same coin – children that develop resilience are far more likely to succeed, not only in school but in later life, too.

Whether it’s fencing classes, debating clubs or drama societies, I want schools across the country to seize the opportunity to help their pupils thrive by broadening the range of activity that they offer.

Last year’s character grant winners included Premiership Rugby, which received £500,000 to use the expertise of leading rugby coaches and players to instil character and resilience in disaffected children.

This year’s grants also include up to £2 million earmarked for projects with a military ethos, following the success of initiatives like Commando Joe’s and Challenger Troop, which use the expertise of former armed services personnel to instil resilience in children.

Further information

Who can apply for character awards grants

Applications are open to:

  • schools
  • colleges
  • universities
  • local authorities
  • voluntary, community or social enterprise (VCSE) organisations or other profit or non-profit organisations

Proposals must be provided on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis and must be designed to work within or in partnership with school(s) and/or college(s) in England. By ‘partnership’ we mean that the provider must (at a minimum) engage with the relevant school or college where each young person attends to assess whether the proposed activity or provision will help to underpin success in school and work. We would expect schools and colleges to be named in any bid.

What we are looking for

We want to fund a diversity of approaches that will achieve the following outcomes:

  • increasing the number of children aged 5 to 16 involved in activities and environments that promote character education
  • developing key character traits, attributes and behaviours in children aged 5 to 16 that:
    • support academic attainment
    • are valued by employers
    • enable children to make a positive contribution to British society

We expect all projects to be able to demonstrate that they:

  • could in future be adopted or adapted by a school or schools that wish to increase the range of high-quality activity that they offer
  • involve joint or consortium working, with involvement of several schools. We expect all projects will involve at least one school rated good or outstanding by Ofsted in the design and delivery of their project
  • are sufficiently replicable and scalable to be rolled out across a very large number of schools nationally

Grant level

Up to £6 million is available to grant-fund projects in the 2016 to 2017 financial year. As part of this, we have allocated up to £2 million to fund projects that have a military ethos approach to develop character. There is no pre-determined level of grant award, but, as a guide, grant awards are expected to be in the region of £50,000 to £750,000.

How to apply for funding

Organisations have until 23 June to submit a proposal for grant funding. Grants are expected to be awarded by the end of September.

For a full specification, application form and further guidance go to Contracts Finder: character education grants.

DfE enquiries

Central newsdesk
020 7783 8300

General enquiries
0370 000 2288

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