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Norfolk pupils set to learn how to be model citizens

PUBLISHED: 11:41 17 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:41 17 July 2014

Pupils from White Woman Lane Junior School and Old Catton Junior School who are or have taken part in the new award led by Richard Smith, team instructor for SkillForce, front and headteacher Ashley Best-White ( centre ). Photo: Steve Adams

Pupils from White Woman Lane Junior School and Old Catton Junior School who are or have taken part in the new award led by Richard Smith, team instructor for SkillForce, front and headteacher Ashley Best-White ( centre ). Photo: Steve Adams

Three Norfolk junior schools are leading the way with a new award aimed at developing pupils’ character and resilience, and teaching them about remembrance and respect.

New award will stand pupils in good stead for their futures

Kate Williams, the Royal British Legion’s area manager for East Anglia and Essex, said: “As a former servicewoman and the area manager for The Royal British Legion here in East Anglia and Essex, I am very pleased that these three Norfolk schools are going to be taught skills that will hold them in good stead for their futures. Skills such as navigation and team building are as important as learning values such as respect. They will be able to draw upon these for the rest of their lives.

“In this centenary year, it is as important as it ever was that children learn about remembrance. We must never forget those who sacrificed their lives for their country and I am sure that the research by the children into the lives of local soldiers who fought in World War One will show them why we must never forget.

“I look forward to hearing of their progress when they start in September and I wish them every success!”

White Woman Lane Junior School, in Sprowston; Old Catton Junior School; and Drayton Junior School are set to be among the first in the country to take part in the new SkillForce Junior Prince’s Award from September.

The programme was launched by the charity’s patron, the Duke of Cambridge, last month and draws on the values and skills of ex-Forces personnel to inspire young people to achieve at school.

The award includes team-building and problem-solving challenges, team sports, outdoor pursuits, first aid, remembrance and respect, navigation skills and a social action project where children will work in the community to benefit others.

Ashley Best-White, headteacher of White Woman Lane and Old Catton Junior, has been closely involved in developing the new programme, which is aimed at children aged nine to 11. She said it was about preparing citizens for the future and that the value-led pilot scheme at her schools had a great effect on the pupils involved.

She said: “We started to see the impact it made, particularly with raising confidence and resilience. If you can believe in yourself and have confidence to take risks and keep going, you can improve across the board.”

She added: “The children talk to us about being more resilient, about persevering, being more courageous to have a go and to keep on trying even if they are not successful the first time around. All of those skills prepare them for that learning journey for the result of their lives.”

The award will run alongside the pupils’ studies throughout the year and reward young people who have demonstrated significant character development and have made a contribution to their local community.

“Activities the children will be involved in include completing a community project, a nationally recognised first aid and navigation award, camping out overnight on school grounds, learning a completely new sport and playing it competently and researching the history of a First World War soldier named on local memorials,” Mrs Best-White said.

With regards to the importance of the First World War aspect of the programme, she said: “It’s about reminding children about the freedom that we have as a result of what people did for our country and keeping that alive for the future.”

Martin White, headteacher at Drayton Junior School, said he was looking forward to some of his school’s pupils being involved in the project. “We want to encourage children to have these valuable experiences to help them with their thinking and learning,” he said.

“We want to encourage children to develop into well-balanced adults with a good understanding of why the country is as it is today.”

The new award is also aimed at helping to prepare children for secondary school and it builds on the original SkillForce Prince’s Award, aimed at young people aged 11 to 19.

Peter Cross, chief executive of SkillForce, said: “SkillForce looks forward to making the award available for many more children in Norfolk.”

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