6 August 2019
Just before he was replaced as Education Secretary by Gavin Williamson, Damian Hinds launched #SummerOutdoors in an attempt to lure children away from the attractions of video games, boxsets and social media.
According to the Department for Education (DfE), the initiative will suggest free or low-cost options to keep children entertained, hoping to spark interest in character-building activities during the summer break by signposting a series of “fun tips” and events happening across the country each week.
These will involve national organisations such as the Woodland Trust, Natural England, the National Trust and Sport England.
While recognising the temptation for children to play video games, binge on boxsets or only socialise online, the Department argues that getting outdoors and taking part in activities can help to build confidence, character and resilience in young people and expose them to new experiences.
The campaign follows closely on an announcement of new steps to help schools to identify opportunities that will assist their pupils in these specific areas.
A new framework developed by school leaders and other experts will be published in the autumn and will include a series of benchmarking questions for schools to assess their delivery of character education.
“Please support this initiative via your own social media channels and if you have your own activities to share use the hashtag #SummerOutdoors,” the DfE suggested.
In recognition of the work in schools to help young people build character and resilience, the Department for Education will also be relaunching the Character Awards, which highlight innovative or outstanding programmes that develop a wide variety of positive character traits.
Schools will be able to enter in October, ahead of the awards ceremony in March 2020.