Banbury primary schoolchildren are the first in Oxfordshire to test a new character education scheme that aims to boost their resilience and problem solving skills.
The SkillForce Prince William Award (formerly the SkillForce Character Award) is being trialled this academic year at 36 primary and secondary schools across the country involving 950 pupils aged five to 14.
St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, on Southam Road, is the first primary school in Oxfordshire to sign up to the pilot, delivered by SkillForce instructors.
Twenty-seven Year 5 pupils, aged nine and 10, from St Mary’s are taking part in the pilot award scheme which has just launched this month.
The pupils will complete practical and team-based activities and challenges, inside and outside of the classroom, to develop resilience, self control, compassion, courage, confidence, leadership, teamwork and problem solving skills.
Supported by investment company Standard Life, the pilot scheme is running in schools for one afternoon a week throughout the current academic year. It draws on the knowledge, skills and expertise of predominantly ex-Service personnel and covers five themes: personal development, relationships, working, community and environment.
Victoria Woods, Headteacher of St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, said: “We are really pleased to be working with SkillForce this year. The character award scheme seemed an obvious enhancement of our curriculum and an opportunity to build on our already successful work developing our school values over the last year.
She added: “Our Year 5 class are loving their new lessons and we can already see that they are listening and relating to each other more positively both inside and outside the classroom. We hope that by the end of the year we will be able to see the benefit of the scheme not only in their personal relationships and wellbeing, but also through increased confidence and aspiration to attain even higher in their class work.”
Ben Slade, Chief Executive, SkillForce, added: “Young people need to develop an inner strength to thrive in today’s world, one that enables them to dare to be their best self, carries them through life and gives them the confidence to be comfortable in their own skin. Our new national character education pilot supports our broader mission to transform lives and equip the next generation with the self confidence and resilience to succeed.”
The new pilot award has been developed with curriculum specialists, schools, the OCR awarding body and the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham. Feedback from schools, parents and children will be gathered during the pilot. The purpose is to test the content and delivery of the new proposed award programme and evaluate its impact.