There is a great deal of discussion, both in schools and in the media, about what has come to be known as ‘character education’. United Learning, the wider group of schools to which AKS belongs, has ‘education with character’ as one of its 5 core principles – linked directly to concepts of compassion and service. We’re also a member of the Round Square global association which exercises thought leadership in this area through their Discovery Framework.
Reflecting this broader context, AKS has ‘success and value’ as one of our defining three characteristics, underlining the importance that we educate not just for academic and personal success, but for value to those around us too. I doubt if there are many parents who would disagree with these principles. No matter what educational system we support, regardless of the school we choose, these are goals and ideals that we all have in common. We want our children to have confidence without arrogance, the ability to lead but with an appreciation of teamwork, to be able to take measured risks, to try and fail and therefore to learn, to persist in the face of difficulty, to have a sense of social responsibility. And what of right and wrong? Creating rules is not difficult but developing conscience and self-discipline is what really matters.
This character education takes place in every corner of our school throughout the school day. It is built into our approach to teaching and through our role-modelling to each other. Diverse extra-curricular opportunities during and beyond the school day support such aspects of personal development. As a parent I see the truth of this, but I also see that what drives passion in one child may leave another cold. Every child needs an individual pathway. What motivates one student to take a risk will be different to what motivates another. What drives a sense of social responsibility will differ too. Let’s celebrate that.
This being the case, our young people can try a wide range of activities both in and out of school in the knowledge that in discovering their interests and passions they will maximise their potential. As parents we can encourage adventurous learning (nothing ventured nothing gained). It’s with this in mind that we’re inviting both current and prospective parents to join us for our Senior School Open Evening on 6th March which will focus on our extra-curricular programme. I am certain that such personal development also helps drive academic ambition. Confidence, motivation, risk-taking and self-discipline transfer to the classroom and the examination hall. Character education is not an add on, it is fundamental to our holistic vision.
M H P Walton