Aristotle believed that education not only needed an intellectual focus, but also a focus on character. In Aristotle’s eyes, education ought to create an ethical and virtuous person.
Warwick School shares Aristotle’s views. We do not believe education should just be delivered through the confines of a school curriculum. We believe that a holistic approach to education is required and central to this is the development of our pupils’ character. Our aim is to ensure students develop a well-rounded set of character traits which will equip them for life beyond Warwick School.
We consider character to be a set of mental and moral qualities that makes individuals unique. Character is not something we are born with but is something one develops over time. We believe that a pupil’s character can be developed and enhanced in the following ways:
- Character caught – character is caught through a positive and virtuous school community, where all pupils aspire to be role models of good character for their peers. We believe that this is supported by the formational relationships created across the school (through its house structure) and through the school’s values;
- Character taught – character can be taught through the formal school curriculum and also through the school’s Floreat Programme, which is designed to foster and develop a positive, well-rounded character in our pupils, which is intended to equip them to flourish in life; and
- Character sought – character is sought through the experiences they chose to partake in within and outside the formal curriculum. The school ensures that pupils’ creativity, curiosity and ability to challenge themselves is facilitated through the extensive co-curricular activities on offer, which includes volunteering, sport, performing arts, and intellectual enrichment (through its Encounters programme, Mulley programme and opportunity to enter various national competitions).
“We rarely employ straight A students. What we’ve discovered over the years is that their field of knowledge is too narrow, and they haven’t developed as people... We like to choose students who are bright, but broad, with character. The thing is, if somebody’s intelligent we can teach them the skills we need – and the skills they learnt at school will probably become outdated anyway. But what we can’t do is teach them to be rooted.”
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google
The Floreat Programme
What is it?
Central to our aim of character development is the school’s bespoke Floreat Programme, which the school has created to focus on four ‘building blocks of character’ (otherwise known as ‘virtues’):
Intellectual virtues are traits which are necessary for the pursuit of knowledge, truth and understanding. Examples of these are critical thinking, judgement, reasoning and reflection.
Moral virtues are traits which enable us to act well in situations that require an ethical response. Someone with moral virtues often is courageous, honest, just and fair.
Civic virtues ensure we are engaged in responsible citizenship. We contribute to the common good for the wider community and society around us. Essentially, we are culturally aware and benefit the wider world we inhabit.
Performance virtues are those which involve collaboration with others. They allow us to work positively in a group and include attributes such as confidence, leadership and teamwork.
The school’s Floreat Programme is a multi-year, interdisciplinary initiative designed to incorporate the above four virtues. Throughout their time at Warwick School, pupils will be required to complete the following:
- The Floreat Certificate – this is for Year 7 and 8 only, and it is intended to serve as an introduction to character education at Warwick School. Pupils are required to complete a number of identified tasks per ‘virtue’ (the ‘virtues’ serve as categories) over a two-year period, which starts in Year 7 and ends as the pupils approach Year 9. Pupils who successfully complete this will be awarded a certificate by the Headmaster;
- The Floreat Award – this is for Years 9 and 10 only, and it is designed to build on the pupils’ Floreat Certificate and also to allow them to take advantage of the new co-curricular opportunities that will be open to the boys when they reach this stage of their time at Warwick School. As above, pupils are required to complete a number of identified tasks per ‘virtue’ over a further two-year period, which starts in Year 9 and ends as the pupils approach Year 11; and
- The Floreat Diploma – this is available for boys in Years 11, 12 and 13. The requirements of the Diploma are much more extensive than the Certificate and Award, as pupils are required to amass 80 hours of identified activities within each ‘virtue’. Pupils who successfully complete the Diploma will be awarded an EduQual accredited qualification.
Why are pupils required to do this?
- As stated above, character is a set of mental and moral qualities that make everyone unique. Character develops over time. Character qualities can be both positive and negative. If pupils actively practice them, they will develop and become part of their character. To develop a positive, well-rounded character which is equipped to flourish in life, pupils need to challenge themselves in a range of different ways which this programme aims to do.
- To get into a top university, it’s often not enough just to get good A-Level grades. Universities want students who are passionate about their subject, who think for themselves and who are independent. ‘Extra-curricular’ activities are those which refer to an ‘extra’ activity you pursue outside normal lessons – these are the tasks included in the Certificate, Award and Diploma which will make pupils into an interesting, well-rounded people who are prepared for university or job interviews, admissions tests / assessments.
- Increasingly employers are complaining that young people are ill-equipped for adult life and work, specifically because they have focused too much on achieving top exam results and not enough on their character.
- For Years 11-13 the Floreat Diploma is an EduQual awarded and accredited qualification. This means it has status and recognition beyond Warwick School.
If you are interested in the Floreat Programme and would like to find out more, please contact Mr. C. Bennett, the Assistant Head of Sixth Form and Acting Head of Character Education.