Character Education

A School of Great Character

At Exeter School our commitment to developing the character of our pupils underpins all that we do. Drawing on the ideas of Aristotle, our school ethos is rooted in virtue ethics and promotes aspiration and flourishing in all. Our aim is to equip pupils with the practical wisdom they will require to navigate the challenges and opportunities of our fast-paced and ever-changing world, whilst celebrating their unique talents and individuality. Our expectation is for pupils to embody the school virtues through their time at Exeter School, embracing the rich and varied opportunities on offer.

Through our intellectual virtues of inspire and challenge curious minds we consider how pupils develop as independent thinkers, creating space within lessons for questions to abound as pupils embark on journeys of discovery. Pupils may choose to attend clubs and societies that further extend this learning, or even create a club of their own. School trips are designed to stretch and challenge pupils, inspiring curiosity about the world around them.

Kindness and integrity are our moral virtues, through which we encourage pupils to care for those around them and the school community as a whole. Within the busyness of school life, we ensure pupils have chances to contribute in a meaningful way and to stand up for what is important to them. Through organising charity fundraisers, leading green initiatives, delivering assemblies, participating in mentoring schemes or representing the views of their peers in school council meetings, pupils are empowered to make a positive impact and have their voices heard. Stepping out of our school community, pupils are expected to practice the civic virtues of welcome and serve, recognising a world bigger than themselves and understanding their potential to make a difference within it. Through partnerships with schools and charities in the local area, our pupils may spend time in conversation with elderly members of the community, or sharing their love of music, drama, physics, or chess with children from neighbouring schools. They may also undertake volunteering ventures of their choosing through participation in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

In all that they do, our pupils are encouraged to use our performance virtues of endeavour and collaborate, drawing on the support of all those around them, in addition to their own resolve, in order to achieve their full potential. Whether completing the Ten Tors challenge, performing at a school concert, representing the school on the sports field or participating in a school play, working as a team is what gives pupils the resilience to achieve things they did not believe themselves capable of.

Character education is both an implicit and explicit part of school life, influencing our approach to learning and teaching, our pastoral care, and our co-curricular programme. Pupils are taught about character through allocated time in the curriculum, exploring the origins of virtue ethics and using role models and moral dilemmas to enhance their understanding of our school virtues.

Each half term sees a focus on a different school virtue, with assemblies, form time and house meetings considering this theme with pupils. We also take time to celebrate the character development of pupils regularly, both within house meetings and assemblies. As a school of great character, it is our hope for every pupil that they will aspire and flourish, both in their time at Exeter School and throughout their life.

Summer Open Evening - 9 May

Click here to register for our summer open evening on Thursday 9 May 5.30-8pm.

Our school experts, the pupils themselves, will be on hand to guide you through what daily life is like. For more information on school places, please email