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Written by leading general philosophers and philosophers of education, IMPACT pamphlets bring philosophical perspectives to bear on current education policy in the UK. They are addressed directly to policy-makers, politicians and practitioners, though will be of interest also to researchers and students working on education policy.

All IMPACT pamphlets are available to download free from the Wiley Online Library here.

IMPACT 24: Why character education?
Randall Curren, October 2017

Character education in schools has been high on the UK political agenda for the last few years. The government has invested millions in grants to support character education projects and declared its intention to make Britain a global leader in teaching character and resilience. But the policy has many critics: some question whether schools should be involved in the formation of character at all; others worry that the traits schools are being asked to cultivate are excessively competitive or military.

In this pamphlet Randall Curren sets out a robust defence of character education. He welcomes the political support it presently enjoys, but contends that greater clarity about the nature, benefits and acquisition of good character is essential. In particular, he argues that too narrow a focus on traits like perseverance and resilience is a serious mistake: these traits are only virtues when they are part of a wider set of moral and intellectual qualities, and when their exercise is guided by good judgment.

Curren offers us a compelling and coherent account of what good character is and how it might be cultivated in schools. He explains why schools must be needs-supporting environments that provide students with opportunities to engage in rewarding activity, and why cultivating good character implies promoting the ‘fundamental British values’ of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance. His groundbreaking pamphlet promises to expand the scope and strengthen the foundations of character education in British schools, and should go a long way towards allaying the fears of its detractors.

About the series

Launched in 1999, the IMPACT series has tackled issues across the spectrum of education policy. Pamphlets on the organisation, management and distribution of schooling include Harry Brighouse’s on educational equality, Michael Luntley’s on performance-related pay, Mary Warnock’s on provision for pupils with special educational needs, and Janet Orchard and Christopher Winch’s on initial teacher education. New perspectives on curriculum subjects are set out in Kevin Williams’ pamphlet on modern foreign languages, John Gingell’s on the visual arts, Philip Barnes’ on religious education and Andrew Davis’ on the teaching of reading. And ways for schools to address challenging topics in the public eye are explored in Mary Midgley’s pamphlet on intelligent design theory, David Archard’s on sex education, Michael Hand’s on patriotism, and David Aldridge’s on remembering the war dead.

Each IMPACT pamphlet is launched with a seminar or panel debate at which the issues it raises are further explored. Launches have been attended by government ministers, shadow ministers and other MPs, by representatives of government departments, non-departmental public bodies, professional associations, trade unions and think tanks, by education journalists and researchers, and by teachers and students.


Previous titles in the series

IMPACT 23: Should students have to borrow?
Christopher Martin, May 2016
Podcast: launch event panel discussion

IMPACT 22: What training do teachers need?: Why theory is necessary to good teaching
Janet Orchard and Christopher Winch, November 2015
Podcast: launch event panel discussion

IMPACT 21: How Ought War To Be Remembered in Schools?
David Aldridge, November 2014
Podcast: launch event panel discussion

IMPACT 20: To Read or Not To Read? Decoding synthetic phonics
Andrew Davis, November 2013
Podcast: launch event panel discussion

IMPACT 19: Patriotism in Schools
Michael Hand, December 2011
Podcast: launch event panel discussion

IMPACT 18: Education for Sustainable Development: a philosophical assessment
Randall Curren, March 2009

IMPACT 17: Religious Education: taking religious difference seriously
L. Philip Barnes, February 2009

IMPACT 16: Educational Assessment and Accountability: a critique of current policy
Andrew Davis, October 2008

IMPACT 15: Intelligent Design Theory and Other Ideological Problems
Mary Midgley, June 2007

IMPACT 14: What Schools Are For and Why
John White, January 2007

IMPACT 13: The Visual Arts and Education
John Gingell, December 2006

IMPACT 12: What Use is Educational Research? A debate
Robin Barrow and Lorraine Foreman-Peck, December 2005

IMPACT 11: Special Educational Needs: a new look
Mary Warnock, August 2005

IMPACT 10: The Importance of PSHE: a philosophical and policy perspective on Personal, Social and Health Education
Graham Haydon, March 2005

IMPACT 9: School Inspection in England: a re-appraisal
Colin Richards, September 2001

IMPACT 8: Teaching Thinking Skills
Stephen Johnson, September 2001

IMPACT 7: Sex Education

David Archard, September 2000

IMPACT 6: Will the New National Curriculum Live Up to its Aims?
Steve Bramall and John White, June 2000

IMPACT 5: Why Teach Foreign Languages in Schools? A philosophical response to curriculum policy
Kevin Williams, June 2000

IMPACT 4: New Labour and the Future of Training

Christopher Winch, March 2000

IMPACT 3: Educational Equality and the New Selective Schooling
Harry Brighouse, February 2000

IMPACT 2: Performance, Pay and Professionals: measuring the quality of teaching: a challenge to the government's proposals on teachers' pay
Michael Luntley, January 2000

IMPACT 1: Educational Assessment: a critique of current policy
Andrew Davis, November 1999


IMPACT Editorial Board

Professor Michael Hand, University of Birmingham (Editor)
Professor Carrie Winstanley, University of Roehampton (Launch Organiser)
Professor Randall Curren, University of Rochester
Dr Andrew Davis, University of Durham
Professor Bob Davis, University of Glasgow
Dr Lorraine Foreman-Peck, University of Oxford
Professor Michael Luntley, University of Warwick
Dr Janet Orchard, University of Bristol
Professor Richard Smith, University of Durham
Professor John White, Institute of Education, University of London
Professor Chris Winch, King’s College, University of London

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