Granby Primary School

Ready, Respectful, Safe

Building Blocks of Success

Character Education

Granby is proud to place a strong emphasis on character education. We believe that supporting children's character development will not only improve their academic outcomes but also enable them to be happier, more resilient individuals who are better prepared for later life.


Professor Guy Claxton’s metaphor of seeing characteristics as "character muscles" is very helpful and suggests a number of key points that children need to be helped to understand:

  • Everyone has many different character muscles
  • Through deliberate practice, these can be developed and made stronger
  • Characteristics built through one exercise are transferable to different situations
  • Using the correct combination of muscles to achieve the task at hand is the route to success
  • The best response to a perceived weakness is not to avoid this muscle but to make yourself exercise it


It is especially important that children understand the idea that they already possess all of the characteristics celebrated at Granby and that these can be strengthened through sustained effort. School offers the perfect opportunity to explore new ways of developing these highly-valuable, transferable skills and characteristics.


Characteristics of Effective Learning

Character education begins in the Early Years through our focus on the characteristics of effective learning.  Children are introduced to and encouraged to follow the example of three different dinosaurs who help them understand what they need to do in order to be successful.  These are:


ExplorasaurusChildren investigate and experience different things and 'have a go' 
TryasaurusChildren concentrate and keep on trying, even if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy their achievements
ThinkasaurusChildren have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things


Building Blocks of Success

In Key Stage 1 and 2, our focus on character education has been shaped by participating in a citywide project called Route to Resilience, led by Steve Harris from Wellbeing Education. This is an evidence-based, practical approach to supporting emotional wellbeing by building resilience and character in children.


We have chosen 36 characteristics to focus on as children move through the school and divided these between the lower and upper years. We are calling these our "Building Blocks of Success". Children are taught about the different building blocks in PSHCE lessons and character assemblies.


As children work on developing their character, they are rewarded with Building Blocks of Success certificates in celebration assemblies. Certificate winners also have their photo published on the school Facebook page. Teachers comment on children's character development in their annual reports.


Key Stage 1
Lower Key Stage 2
forgivenessgood humourimitationperseverance 
Upper Key Stage 2
aspirationdisciplinegrowth mindsethumility/gratitude 
 integritymaking linksmeta-cognitionoptimism
problem solvingrevising/improvingself-awarenessself-esteem 

The Science of Character

This short video explores the neuroscience and social science that proves that we can shape who we are and who we want to be in the world. This is helpful in understanding Granby's focus on character education.