A research project has been given funding worth £150,000 by the Templeton Religion Trust, a global charitable trust that seeks to enrich the conversation about religion.
The two-year project, called ‘Personal Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance: From Values to Virtues’, explores how government and educators influence the value-systems of young citizens.
Led by Dr David Lundie, with co-investigators Dr Carly Bagelman, Dr Philip Bamber, Dr Victoria Blinkhorn, Dr Joseph Maslen, Dr Cathal O’Siochru, Dr John Tillson and Dr Antonio Zuffiano, the project will investigate:
- Children and young people’s perceptions of the civic virtues promoted by the state and schools
- Their compliance (or otherwise) with those virtues
- The link between the above and students’ understanding of their own personal virtues
- The resulting impact on students’ wellbeing
It focuses on three different types of school – (1) the UK Military School established as part of the £2m Government investment in ‘military ethos character education’; (2) the 40+ schools in the North West that have gained School of Sanctuary status as part of the wider City of Sanctuary initiative; and (3) the 200+ schools supported by the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool.
The project’s activities began in September with a symposium at the 2019 BERA Conference, and will culminate with a spring 2021 policy report disseminated to 119 Local Authorities in England, 44 Diocesan bodies, 8 Regional Schools Commissioners and key policymakers.
Dr Lundie described the project as “a major new study combining ethnographic studies of schools, smartphone-enabled moral psychology daily diaries, and philosophical deliberations in order to interrogate the different ways in which the language of ‘fundamental British values’ has been adopted, employed, re-inscribed and resisted by schools”.