Prince William launches national awards scheme for schools

Prince William has launched a new awards programme that aims to harness the skills and experience of former Services personnel to build resilience in schoolchildren.

To mark the launch he visited Llanfoist Fawr primary school in Monmouthshire – one of the first to pilot the SkillForce Prince William Award programme – where he was joined by staff and pupils from Bishopstone primary school in Swindon.

The two schools have been trialling the programme since the beginning of the academic year as part of a year-long pilot involving more than 1,000 pupils in 37 primary and secondary schools.

The Prince dons a blindfold during a trust exercise

During his visit the prince completed a construction challenge with pupils, making a free-standing tower from marshmallows and straws within a
ten-minute limit.

He also participated in a ball-based teamwork challenge and donned a blindfold to take part in a trust exercise.

Aiming to test teamwork, resilience and determination, the tasks are a sample of the activities that will be included in the scheme, which combine classroom-based and outdoor activities.

The programme ties in activities with personal development, working, community, relationships and the environment, with three award levels, including: pioneer (minimum age 6), explorer (minimum age 8) and trailblazer (minimum age 12).

“Schools need to prepare children to thrive in a rapidly changing world, and educate them on how they relate to themselves, others and their communities,” says Bishopstone’s head Emma Lindsay.

“The programme teaches them key skills that, once instilled, will remain with them for life from first aid to in-depth problem-solving.”

The programme, created with education charity SkillForce and organisations such as the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, is due to start in schools from September.

It will be delivered predominantly by former Services personnel working as instructors.

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