Character Education at Weston School

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Implementing Delivery Strategies 1999 – 2004

Moral education is not a new idea. It is in fact as old as education itself. Down through history, in countries all over the world, education has had two great goals: to help young people become smart and to help them become good.

(Lickona, 1991, p.6)

In recent times, schools have been required to teach the Attitudes and Values requirement of the 1993 New Zealand Curriculum Framework, enable students to develop the values needed to become full members of New Zealand’s society as directed by the first National Education Goal and nominate agreed values in revised charters. These requirements have led to discussion and debate on the purpose, scope, responsibilities and implementation of what has been known as values education within New Zealand schools. For principals and teachers, these requirements signal an invitation to become formally involved in a more holistic approach to education and for some, are the essence, challenge and privilege of a career working with children. Travel by the writer to six countries in 2001 revealed growing international interest, engagement and discourse about schools and their role in developing the values young people will live by, being described as ethics, citizenship, social capital and the increasingly used and accepted term, character education.

With this in mind, questions should be asked as to what successful character education involves and how New Zealand state schools with diverse and pluralistic communities can fully participate.

At Weston School, a U4 decile 8 full primary, where the writer is principal, 20 character education strategies have been trialled and implemented over five years. While the school has received praise for character education initiatives, these strategies have been borrowed or adapted from different countries and contexts or created specifically to fulfil a need, without evaluation.

This management project sets out to background and evaluate these strategies with the intention of providing useful evidence of how successful character education might best continue to develop in the writer’s school and be of assistance to others.

Full text (39 pages) download here (224 kB)

Character Education at Weston School Appendices

Download (26 pages) here (337 kB)

Galloway is the Principal of George Street Normal School, Dunedin, and can be contacted at

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