Young people want to make a difference, but don’t always know how
The principal aim of Character Education is the development of good sense, or practical wisdom; the capacity to choose intelligently between alternatives. Ultimately, Character Education gives young people the tools to make a difference, to take action, and to do what is right.
The development of character is too large to sit just within assemblies where students are supported to be kind to one another. It is driven in all lessons, in and outside of the classroom.
Character Education is intrinsic to our school curriculum and can be divided into 3 main areas:
Character virtues should be reinforced everywhere: on the playing fields, in
classrooms, corridors, interactions between teachers and pupils, in assemblies, posters, head teacher messages and communications, staff training, and in relations with parents and families.
To equip students with the language, knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes that enable character development.
Chosen experiences that occur within and outside the formal curriculum
What does Character Education look like at Laurel Park?
We are extremely proud of our enrichment offer at Laurel Park which is growing exponentially. We have a unique array of Virtual Societies, some of which are led by our pupils, for pupils. We want every pupil to find something that interests them and develops them into a rounded person, excited by life’s challenges and ready for their next step.
You can choose from Art club, chess club, coding club through to law, debating and philosophy societies. Our Debating society competes at the highest level against international teams. We have debated in all day sessions against 200 contestants in the UCL, Oxford and Cambridge competitions. Our Law society participates in mock trial competitions and has been rehearsing by re-enacting the historical trials of Galileo, Socrates and Joan of Arc. Our chess club meets every day in the library with our team competing internationally.
Our clubs and societies also support our Scholarship Pathway programmes and in 2022-23 we organised two trips to Eton College, St Paul’s Girls’ School and Highgate School. On top of that we are so proud that a number of our former students have been offered places to study at top independent schools.
Trips and awards are big at school. Students are awarded Character Points for a variety of reasons across the school day and when they reach set thresholds they will be awarded with Hot chocolate and cookies with the Head, Non-uniform days and large monetary vouchers of their choice.
Every year group receives two organised trips in December and June including local theatres, team building activities and overnight residential trips. Curriculum trips are also offered, for example the GCSE Geographers go to Epping Forest to complete their coursework, and the GCSE PE students go and learn all about kayaking and rock climbing as part of their course.
We further support character development through various themed days throughout the year, such as our Cultural Celebrations, Performing Arts events and Sports Day. All these events support growth outside of the classroom.
From September 2023, every student participates in a fortnightly enrichment lesson. Our school strongly believes that whilst academic success is a pillar of education, personal development is also key and that is why from September, every student will down their pens, once a fortnight, and take part in an enrichment activity led by a member of staff. This could be needlework led by a Geography teacher, it could be baking led by a Maths teacher, it could even be construction led by our site team. Our enrichment programme will develop our students to possess confidence, resilience and knowledge so that they can keep themselves mentally and physically healthy.
Our ultimate goal is for every student to be an ‘upstander’; someone who recognises injustice, has a strong moral code and takes a stand when they see something that is not right.