Coppice Rise
North Yorkshire

01423 562650

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School Harrogate, a Voluntary Academy

"Let all that you do be done in love." (1 Corinthians 16:14)

Virtues and Character Education

What are the virtues?  What do they mean to our children and how do the children put them into action?

"Virtues are like good deeds. Honesty, patience and resilience are virtues. We learn virtues to be good to others and they tell us how to behave. “
— Alexandra Yr 2
“The virtues give me guidance on how to live a good life and how to behave. For example, I try to show love every day along with courage and resilience.”
— Yr 6
“The virtues mean to me that I have a way of how to live – already laid out in front of me. They are good moral habits which we are meant to live out every day, just like Jesus did e.g. service and humility was shown in the washing of the disciple’s feet.”
— Lucja, Yr 6
“We learn about virtues because we learn to be kind. We learn about them so we are ready for when we grow up.”
— Mary, Yr 2


Our school virtues are:  Gratitude, Humility, Courage and Service.  


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Our school mission is that ‘We, with St Joseph, follow the example of Jesus by growing in gratitude, humility, courage and service.’   

There are 12 additional virtues chosen by the Diocese of Leeds which are taken from their Virtues to Live by resource which is used by St Joseph's to help the children grow and develop the virtues further. Each half term is dedicated to focusing on two of these virtues.  

The Virtues in Action 

The virtues are threaded through lessons and activities across the curriculum. We have created our Virtues and English texts school overview where we link stories to virtues.  Here are some of the ways in which children put the virtues into action: 

Collective worship: The children regularly plan their own collective worship around the virtues.  

Reflection:  The children explore how characters from their story books display the virtues. The Reception children learn how the witch from ‘Room on the Broom’ shows kindness when she lets all the animals travel with her on the broom and forgives the frog for breaking it. The animals in turn show service in helping the witch find all her lost objects and the witch displays gratitude in sharing the broom with her new friends. Finally, the animals show great courage in standing up to the scary dragon. Such links are made for the texts used in each year group. Year 6 explore how Lucy, Peter and Susan in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' show perseverance and resilience to restore harmony in Narnia.  

The children are also encouraged to reflect on their own behaviours and to talk about what the virtues mean for them personally and how they can develop these virtues. The children’s art work, of which it is only possible to share a few examples here, is a great visual representation of what the virtues mean for them.  

Charity work: A brilliant example of how the children put kindness and service into action is through their charitable work. The Mini Vinnies come up with lots of great ideas for helping the local community as well as communities further afield. The last year has provided lots of challenges for fund raising activities but that hasn’t stopped the children and they have persevered to find new ways of helping others and raising funds for some great causes.