At Kestrel Mead, we take the emotional health and wellbeing of both our pupils and staff extremely seriously. As a school, we recognise that it is important to promote a mentally healthy school environment through our compassionate, respectful and positive attitude to education. We promote a supportive and inclusive ethos, which values parents and carers involvement and contributions.

Through our school values of Resilience, Compassion, Respect and Curiosity we hope to create confident individuals who are successful learners. Everyone within the school, whatever their contact with the children may be, shares the responsibility for creating a positive ethos and climate of respect and trust.

As a school we hope to:

  • Create an enthusiastic and engaged learning community who will achieve their full potential.
  • Develop the whole child
  • Be at the heart of our community
  • Character Education

How can parents/carers help at home?

  • Ask your children about character muscles
  •  Talk about the words and what they mean…some are trickier that others!
  • Ask them which character muscles they think is a strength or weakness
  • Watch this youtube video: (or search ‘The Science of Character’ on youtube
  •  Praise your child for showing the character traits
  •  When you get an invite via email, come along to our celebration assemblies to see the character behaviours in action.

Funded as part of the local NHS Future in Mind programme, Route to Resilience is an evidence-based and practical approach to supporting schools and families in their work developing the character, resilience and emotional wellbeing of children and young people.

Since starting our involvement with Route to Resilience, several changes have been made across the school, the main one being the introduction of our character behaviours. Our school focuses on Resilience, Compassion, Respect and Curiosity. These four traits are qualities that we, as a school, believe are essential for all of our students to leave with. They are linked to our whole school behaviour policy and children are rewarded with Class Dojo points whenever members of staff see them demonstrating these character behaviours. If you would like to see how many points your child has earnt so far please follow the Class Dojo link on our website.

Teaching Character


Before character can become an integral part of teaching and learning the basic concept must first be taught. Guy Claxton’s metaphor of seeing these characteristics as ‘muscles’ is very helpful as it conveys a number of key points that the teaching phase needs to help children understand…

  • We all have all of these qualities to a greater or lesser extent.
  • Though conscious exercise and focus they can be made stronger.
  • A characteristic that is built through one exercise is transferable to a different context.
  • The correct combination of muscles applied to the task at hand is the route to success.
  • If we have areas that are perceived as weaker-the best response is not to avoid this ‘muscle’ but to make yourself exercise it (confidence, self-control etc.)
  • Successful people are a combination of these basic muscles. Whilst it may not be possible to play football all day, there are plenty of opportunities to strengthen teamwork, creativity, self-control, perseverance and the many other qualities that combine into success. These are then transferred from one activity to another.

It is important that children internalize the idea that we each possess the full range of characteristics celebrated, and that they can strengthen all of these capacities through sustained effort. School is a great opportunity to explore new ways to develop these transferable, and valued, human traits.

Practical Steps

  • Explain that at different times (and for different tasks) we need to draw on different aspects of our personality to achieve. This is true socially, academically, and in terms of self-belief.
  • Help pupils explore their own strengths, and those of others. Be careful not to allow children to think that their current strengths and weaknesses are fixed. Areas of weakness are made stronger through practice. Pupils may draw an avatar of themselves listing their existing strengths on the inside of this figure, and identifying areas they would like/need to further strengthen on the outside.
  • Deconstruct the characteristics needed to succeed in various fields-author, footballer, hairdresser,anything pupils admire. There is a lot of common ground, and whilst we cannot play football all day,we find many ways to strengthen teamwork, perseverance, imitation, communication etc.
  • Build self-belief. Where pupils feel they have a weakness ask them to think of times they have evidenced that characteristic. Can’t concentrate? What’s the longest you ever played a computer game for? This shows children that these skills are transferable to different contexts—and that they do have the capacity to improve.

Is It a National Priority?

Department for Education

“We can all recognise the attitudes, traits and values that are so sought by employers, parents and educators: persistence, integrity, curiosity, resourcefulness and so on.

These character traits not only open doors to employment and social opportunities but tend to underpin academic success and young people’s happiness and wellbeing as well.

The country’s leading state and independent schools demonstrate how a concerted focus on instilling these kinds of character traits throughout school life is the most effective model.” -DfE Stategic Plan

DfE Strategy 2015-2020

12 – Build character and resilience

Support schools to develop pupils into well-rounded, confident, happy, and resilient individuals to boost their academic attainment, employability and ability to engage in society as active citizens.

11 – Support & protect vulnerable children

Support schools to help children and young people build good mental health and access support where they need it.

5 – Embed rigorous standards, curriculum, and assessment

Ensure schools help all pupils progress, particularly stretching the most able pupils and supporting low attainers.

Future in Mind

  • Promoting resilience, prevention and early intervention
  • Improving access to effective support– a system without tiers
  • Developing the workforce

“Many schools are developing whole school approaches to promoting resilience & improving emotional wellbeing, preventing mental health problems from arising and providing early support where they do. Evidence shows that interventions taking a whole school approach to wellbeing have a positive impact in relation to both physical health and mental wellbeing.”