Evaluation reports into The Prince William Award have found that it has significant impact on socio-emotional development, attitudes to learning, resilience and outcomes and results.
The innovative new awards programme, backed by the Duke of Cambridge and run by national education charity SkillForce, uses predominatly ex-Service men and women to help children and young people develop self-confidence and good character through interactive lessons and community projects.
Piloted across 35 primary and secondary schools in the 2016/17 academic year, the programme was subject to two rigorous independent evaluations; one by Chrysalis Research and the other by Newcastle University.
The evaluations looked at the impact the programme had on nearly 1,000 students aged between six and 14, using student and teacher surveys, school assessment and monitoring data and a standardised referenced behaviour scale known as DESSA.
Key findings from The Chrysalis Research Report found that:
- The proportion of pupils for whom social-emotional development was identified as an area of need reduced from 47 to 15 per cent, and the proportion of children with high levels of socio-emotional competency, increased from four to 22 per cent.
- Three quarters of the teachers and leaders highlighted that pupils’ confidence and self-esteem improved ‘a lot’. 67 per cent of pupils noticed improvements in their confidence and self-esteem.
- 83 per cent of the programme participants stated that taking part in the programme had helped them do better in their learning.
- Analysis of primary school pupils’ attainment before and after the programme suggests that participating pupils made good progress in their studies. At the end of the programme, 20 per cent of pupils participating primary school pupils were doing better in Maths, 24 per cent in reading, and 19 per cent in writing, compared to their pre-programme assessments.
A second report completed by Newcastle University looked more closely at how the programme helped young people be more resilient.
It found that:
- Children who participated in the pilot of the Prince William Award reported higher levels of mental toughness post-Award when compared to pre-Award
- Teachers reported significant reductions in behaviour difficulties post-Award when compared to pre-Award
- Children perceived there to be several benefits of the Award, including improved confidence, management of emotions, perseverance, interpersonal skills, and self- reflection
Dr Helen St Clair-Thompson, from the University’s School of Psychology, noted in her report that: “There were improvements in each aspect of children’s mental toughness…(and) there were also reductions in the extent of behaviour difficulties as reported by class teachers. Repeated measures revealed that the improvement in total mental toughness was statistically significant.”
Ben Slade, Chief Executive, said: “The significant and valuable impact that The Prince William Award has had so far is clear and tangible.
“Not only do these evaluations provide hard evidence that the programme is helping to prepare young people for the challenges and opportunities that await them, but the anecdotal feedback contained in the reports is both immensely heart-warming and rewarding.
“Whether it be the impact on whole classes, or how our ex-Service men and women have become role models for young people and supported them to overcome personal challenges, the outcome for those schools completing the award is profound.”
Following the pilot programme, The Prince William Award is being formally launched for all schools in the country. To date, over 180 schools from the Highlands to the White Cliffs of Dover have already signed up for the award this academic year.
Mr Slade added: “Our vision is that this programme will be at the forefront of how character and resilience is taught in schools across the country.”