Frank Field MP
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Good Character

I have just returned from Demos' launch of its Commission on Character. David Cameron, Camila Batmanghelidjh and I spoke in support.

Character used to be central to Labour politics. It was the cornerstone of building up a culture of respect and self-respect.

Our characters are first nurtured for good or ill within families. The address that I gave - which is can be found here - gave emphasis to the teaching of good parenting in schools.

Good parents can affect our life chances whether we come from rich or poor homes. Good outcomes at school can cut the supply routes to life-long poverty. We should therefore judge how pre and post-natal services, Sure Start, as well as schools are achieving that objective.

I would suggest that instead of having league tables on exam results - which are massaged - we should begin a debate on the following outcomes.

How is each school, each year, achieving the goal of

Reducing to nil the number of young people leaving school who do not go into either education, employment or training;
•Increasing the numbers and percentage of young people leaving school who go into skilled employment; and,
•Reducing the numbers of young men and women who begin families before they are 18.

Let the political debate on the importance of character recommence.
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