Skip to page content

Character Education

Schools have a statutory duty, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum, to promote the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural (SMSC) development of pupils and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life2. Character education contributes to this duty to promote SMSC. The duty applies to academies and free schools through the Independent School Standards.

Schools have an important role in the fostering of good mental wellbeing among young people so that they can fulfil their potential at school and are well prepared for adult life. Schools with clear expectations on behaviour and with well-planned provision for character and personal development can help promote good mental wellbeing.  


From September 2019, Ofsted inspections recognise the importance of schools’ provision for character education through its inclusion in the new judgement on Personal Development in all Section 5 and Section 8 inspections. (Character Education Framework Guidance, November 2019)


This guidance contains information on

The Six Character Benchmarks, which includes key questions to consider in school

The Definitions of ‘Character’

Rationale for the Benchmarks


Next Steps, which includes key questions to consider in school

Annex A – where to get help.  This includes links to many different websites

Annex B – case studies


Character Education Framework Guidance