HOBBIES like rock climbing or playing the guitar can be as important to a child’s success as GCSE results, the Education Secretary will say today.
Damian Hinds will unveil a scheme to offer every kid the chance to pick up skills to build their character and resilience.
Children will get to pick from a bucket list of activities including sports, music lessons joining the Scouts or Guides.
It comes amid growing alarm that youngsters are spending too much time cooped up indoors glued to their phone screens – damaging their wellbeing.
Speaking in Westminster, Mr Hinds will say: “I want to make sure every child gets to build up their character and resilience by testing themselves from a range of enjoyable and activities.”
He will say this can be as important as good exam results.
The campaign is backed by TV survivalist Bear Grylls, the country’s Chief Scout.
He told The Sun: “At school I was unsure of myself and shy. But I found an identity in being able to climb well.
“I once scaled up to the school’s bell tower and wrote my initials next to ‘RF’ which had been left there by former student, Ranulph Fiennes.
“I wouldn’t necessarily approve of that now, times change, but the many misadventures also helped me discover my character in life. And as for Ran, well he went on to do OK.”
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He added: “As a child, I remember learning as much outside the classroom as I did at my desk: climbing, doing martial arts and of course, Scouting.
“I didn’t know it then, but I was getting a character education, developing my sense of self-worth. I was learning to weigh up risks, take decisions and develop my initiative.
“By overcoming setbacks, making mistakes and picking myself up again, I was learning resilience.”
'Character is something that runs deep' says Bear Grylls
I live my life by one simple philosophy: Never give up.
I’ve stood on the summit of Everest, served with 21 SAS and crossed the north Atlantic Arctic Ocean in an open boat. When I look back, it is clear to me that in the big moments it always comes down to resilience and a positive, determined character. It is this, before any skills, that has helped me succeed.
Every day we’re faced with challenges big and small, and to overcome them we all need character. Can you find the courage to keep going?
To me, character is the foundation for all success in life. Without opportunities to develop character, our young people will go out into the world unprepared. The world is tougher than ever – with constant pressures on their mental health from academic demands and social media. The opportunity to climb mountains and spend time together working on community projects is exactly what they need.
That’s why I welcome the Secretary of State for Education’s speech on character. Character is what unlocks futures and sets people apart. It’s about keeping calm and staying positive when things get tough. In a survival situation, I value positivity as much as any survival gear. It is all about skills for life: resilience and tenacity; courage and kindness. It’s about developing a moral compass and having the strength of character to follow it.
At school I was unsure of myself and shy.
But I found an identity in being able to climb well. I once scaled up to the school’s bell tower and wrote my initials next to ‘RF’ which had been left there by former student, Ranulph Fiennes. I wouldn’t necessarily approve of that now, times change, but the many mis- adventures also helped me discover my character in life. And as for Ran, well he went on to do OK.
As a kid, I wanted to find out more about the world, and most of all, what my place in it would be. I was what you might call, ‘raw material’. Thanks to some brilliant teachers and mentors – among them my Scout leaders, instructors and my parents, I was shaped into something resembling a ‘whole person’. The process continues!
As a child, I remember learning as much outside the classroom as I did at my desk: climbing, doing martial arts and of course, Scouting. I didn’t know it then, but I was getting a character education, developing my sense of self-worth. I was learning to weigh up risks, take decisions and develop my initiative. By overcoming setbacks, making mistakes and picking myself up again, I was learning resilience.
Today, at the Scouts, we are so proud to develop character skills in over 460,000 young people right across the UK. But this isn’t something fashionable or new – it’s been at the very heart of our work for 111 years. That’s why I call Scouting the original character factory.
Character is something that runs deep. It’s what’s left when you take away everything else. It’s who we really are.
There’s a great saying: ‘Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day.’ This is exactly how we work in Scouting – offering activities on a weekly basis that make young people develop skills for life.
We are so proud to have brought Scouting to over 830 of the country’s most deprived areas since 2013. There is no one way to help a child develop their character, but we’ve found a way that works.
When you encourage young people to belief in themselves it’s amazing what they can do. We teach them to dig deep and go the extra mile. Bring that back into the classroom and you have a child who looks at the world and their academic work in a completely different way.
So let’s champion character education alongside the traditional curriculum. We cannot afford to fail young people. They are too important for that.
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