Scouting is key to character building
Character is important, but it doesn’t start and end with the school bell, says The Scout Association.
The All Party Group on Social Mobility released their Character and Resilience Manifesto, in which they called for more focus on extra-curricular and non-formal education in helping young people of all backgrounds realise their potential.
Recommendations included asking Ofsted to factor character and resilience and extra-curricular activities into the inspection framework, make participation in extra-curricular activities a formal aspect of teachers’ contracts of employment and incorporate character and resilience into initial teacher training and CPD programmes.
As an organisation that has transformed young people’s lives through character building activities and adventure for over a century, The Scout Association welcomed the sentiment behind the report, but questioned why the key recommendations on delivering these skills focussed purely on formal education.
Wayne Bulpitt, UK Commissioner for The Scout Association, said:
'The consensus building around the importance of developing resilience and character education to young people is welcomed. But it’s important to recognise that character education does not just belong in the classroom - far from it. We need bolder thinking to bring schools and organisations such as The Scout Association together in partnership, not assertions that the development of young people starts and ends with the school bell.'
Partnerships with schools that help Scouting to grow, whilst keeping our non-formal educational method at their core, already exist. The University Academy Liverpool, Toxteth, has its own dedicated Group and Scouting is embedded in the curriculum as it takes place during the school day but is still based on learning by doing rather than classroom exercises.
Bradford Academy, in Bowling, has seen teachers volunteer to train as Scout leaders and open a new Beaver group. Once established, parents and other volunteers will take over with the Group open to the entire community, not just pupils.
The report also highlighted the need for more adult volunteers if organisations such as The Scout Association are to thrive in delivering character education. Pointing out that Scouting has a waiting list of over 35,000 young people, it recommends a National Volunteering Award Scheme for adults to raise the profile and prestige of volunteering.
The Scout Association will continue to make the case on a national level for Scouting to be seen as key on delivering character building education. Why not meet with your MP, local authority or local head teacher to explore what partnerships might be possible?