A first-of-its-kind national Character Award Scheme, backed by HRH The Duke of Cambridge KG KT, is already underway transforming the lives of schoolchildren across the UK.
(Formerly The SkillForce Character Award)
In 2015, SkillForce commissioned research by the internationally renowned Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham to assess the evidence for a national award programme to help young people, particularly primary school-age children, to explore their own values and guiding principles.
The research concluded that a new national character award programme was timely. SkillForce has taken up this challenge with gusto with the full support of our Royal Patron, Prince William, together with our principal corporate supporter, Standard Life, headteachers from England, Scotland and Wales and our academic partners.
The SkillForce Prince William Award provides a context within which young people aged 6-14 years can develop the confidence to think independently and make positive, informed decisions by learning to consider the impact of their actions and behaviour on themselves, on others and on the world around them.
Pioneer – Developing character
Minimum age 6 years
The essence of the Pioneer level is for children to experience activities where character qualities can be displayed. Through facilitation and feedback, children will reflect upon and learn to understand the value of significant character traits in five different thematic areas.
Explorer – Developing character within a team
Minimum age 8 years
The Explorer level is designed to consolidate learning by demonstrating how certain character attributes can be applied to different situations and exploring how to enhance individual decision-making in a social context, as well as how to enhance individual performance by working together in a group or team to achieve a shared outcome. The emphasis at Explorer level is for participants to experience the impact that individuals (especially themselves) make on group performance, how groups can influence decision-making and how the character values can contribute to quality of outcome and the type of decisions reached.
Trailblazer – Leadership and responsibility
Minimum age 12 years
The aim of the Trailblazer programme is to integrate work on different aspects of character, encouraging students to identify the character behaviours that can guide them and inspire performance. The emphasis in Trailblazer is to encourage individuals to recognise that they possess leadership capacity to make decisions and take responsibility, instead of being driven by emotional, kneejerk reactions. The work draws on the principles of Emotional Intelligence and Kouzes and Posner – The Leadership Challenge.
The basis of the award is experiential learning – students learn and embed knowledge through experience, and learning is facilitated through coaching by trained instructors, with opportunity for reflection. The Award is delivered at three different levels, Pioneer, Explorer and Trailblazer, each appropriate for a broad age range.
Having successfully piloted the new award programme with 37 schools nationwide, SkillForce is now seeking to work in partnership with both new and existing partner schools across England, Scotland and Wales from September 2017.
“Attendance level for those pupils who have had attendance problems during the year has already improved, we’re seeing the spin off in class in literacy and numeracy lessons because children have greater confidence, more importantly they have this self belief that’s helping to take their learning forward”
Jon Murphy, Headteacher, Llanfoist Fawr Primary School
Schools who are piloting the Award have identified one or more groups of 15-30 children. The programme is being delivered as one half-day session each week by trained SkillForce staff, with support from the school. Importantly, feedback is being collected from school, parents and children for the pilot evaluation. Young people are taking part in practical activities during the sessions which are observed by the SkillForce instructor, who offers constructive feedback on their actions and behaviour. Each session also ensures that participants reflect upon their experiences and explore ways in which they can apply their learning to other areas of their lives, including at school, at home and with friends. Learning is recorded in a journal and is assessed using the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) tool to measure the impact of the programme. Independent evaluation by experts Chrysalis Research already indicates that the programme is having a positive impact on those involved.
To find out more watch the SkillForce Prince William Award video at the bottom of this page, which features testimonials from staff and pupils at three of our pilot schools. To discuss how the SkillForce Prince William Award programme could meet your requirements, please get in touch using the form below or call 01623 827 651.
Find out more from a School Partnership Manager:
Watch the SkillForce Prince William Award (formerly the SkillForce Character Award) Video featuring three of our pilot schools: