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Gareth Pearson, senior deputy head, Lord Wandsworth College

A question of character

A co-ed independent boarding school in north Hampshire is introducing a new scholarship based on character rather than intellect

Posted by Dave Higgitt | May 11, 2015 | People, policy, politics

Lord Wandsworth College has launched a new character scholarship for September 2016. Over the last year, the college has been placing character education at the heart of its educational provision. Every aspect of the delivery of the school’s curriculum, co-curriculum and pastoral and spiritual provision endeavours to imbue pupils with 12 character attributes. In relation to performance, these are: perseverance, optimism, creativity, curiosity, self-control and engagement. In relation to moral education, they are: generosity, empathy, gratitude, courage, loyalty and fairness.

Senior deputy head Gareth Pearson says: “We place huge importance on the personal qualities and virtues of our pupils and believe the development of character is the most important aspect of education. That is not to say that the development of intellect is not important, but that to what extent a person is able to develop their intellect is as much about their attitude, habits and beliefs as it is about intellectual ability. It was an obvious step, therefore, to offer a scholarship that recognises this, alongside our academic, sport, art and performing arts scholarships.”

Character scholarships are available at 13+ and up, with three scholarships awarded annually with a maximum value of a 25 percent reduction in the annual fees. Candidates’ parents need to complete a formal application form and the candidate themselves needs to write a letter of application stating why they feel they are deserving of this award. The application will also need to be supported by a letter of recommendation from the head of the candidate’s current school. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to the college for a formal 15-minute interview which will include a three-minute presentation from the candidate entitled ‘Why I deserve a character scholarship’.

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