News story

Character education: apply for 2015 grant funding

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Schools, colleges and organisations are invited to submit proposals to a £3.5 million grant fund to support projects in character education.

primary teacher talking to pupils

From today (12 January 2015), schools, colleges and organisations can apply to a £3.5 million character education grant fund to support projects in character education.

We are committed to helping schools ensure that more children develop a set of character traits, attributes and behaviours that underpin success in education and work, such as:

  • perseverance, resilience and grit
  • confidence and optimism
  • motivation, drive and ambition
  • neighbourliness and community spirit
  • tolerance and respect
  • honesty, integrity and dignity
  • conscientiousness, curiosity and focus

Character is already being encouraged and developed alongside academic rigour through a variety of programmes in and outside schools and colleges across the country. Character education aims to allow pupils to emerge from education better equipped to thrive in modern Britain.

Through £3.5 million of grant funding, we want to encourage expansion of existing projects that demonstrate effective character education. The funding will also support new and innovative projects to develop promising approaches in this area.

Commenting on the announcement of the character education grants, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

The £3.5 million grant scheme for character education projects is a milestone in preparing young people more than ever before for life in modern Britain. It will provide a boost to those already doing great work, while also helping excellent projects get off the ground.

Excellent teachers already produce well-rounded pupils, and today’s news will give more schools the support, inspiration and resources to go even further.

The move is a landmark step for our education system. It will cement our position as a global leader in teaching character and resilience, and will send a clear signal that our young people are being better prepared than ever before to lead tomorrow’s Britain.

The character education grants were announced on 16 December as part of the £5 million Character Innovation Fund.

We have also made £1 million available to the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to build evidence and expand research into the most effective ways that character can be taught. Funding from the EEF is available to any not-for-profit organisation that provides well-evidenced interventions in character education to scale up and test their approaches. Applicants will be able to apply until 1 April.

In addition, on 7 January we opened applications for Character Awards to celebrate the excellence and diversity in this field.

Who can apply for character awards grants

Applications are open to:

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

Proposals must be on a not-for-profit basis and must be designed to work within or in partnership with schools and/or colleges in England. Grant-funded organisations must engage with the relevant school or college that the young person attends to assess whether the proposed activity or provision will help to underpin success in education and work.

What we are looking for

Proposals should develop new innovations or expand existing evidence-based practice in some, or all, of the areas below:

  • building a range of schools’ or colleges’ capacity to improve character education by developing the knowledge and skills of staff
  • trialling school- or college-based initiatives, for example:
    • classroom-based initiatives linked to school/college subjects
    • teaching and learning strategies
    • whole-school/-college practical approaches to ethos and discipline
    • bespoke activities with groups of pupils on character development
  • providing extra-curricular activities after school or college - this could include competitive sports, music, debating, outdoor activities or survival weekends
  • providing community volunteering activities/projects and work experience by making links with the local charities, employers and major industries
  • peer-to-peer support and mentoring through dialogue and role modelling with successful students or professionals in the community
  • developing a practical suite of tools and/or accessible educational materials and techniques that support schools in developing character
  • establishing effective ways to track the progress of pupils throughout their educational journey through to employment
  • establishing innovative ways to build character in children with high-risk factors, such as special educational needs or a disability, poor family functioning, maltreatment and poverty

Proposals for other approaches will also be considered.

Grant level

Up to £3.5 million is available to grant fund projects in the 2015 to 2016 financial year. 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 6 February 2015 to submit a proposal for grant funding. Grants are expected to be awarded at the end of March.

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

Published 12 January 2015