I’m so glad you have found my Junior Duke Award as it’s great fun and a good addition to everything schools already offer. It is aimed at increasing children’s independence, confidence and resilience whilst giving them a good feeling of achievement on completion.
Usually, it is an Award that children sign up for in September, receive their booklets in early October, then have until the end of the academic year to work their way through it. For each year, from Reception to Year 6, there is a different booklet with fourteen challenges from which just ten need to be completed in order that the child finishes that level. Some of our pupils work their way through it at break-neck speed and finish their ten challenges in a matter of weeks. Others take the full year and a bit of prodding!
The challenges range from First Aid, exercise, domestic challenges, budgeting for packed lunches, fixing a puncture, building a fire, baking, cooking, washing sheets, making PowerPoints and public speaking, eco, knitting, litter-picking, cultural awareness, sustainability….all manner of things!
The Micro Duke is new this year and is for the children in Reception (age around 5) and has just ten very sweet challenges like Speed Dressing. There are ninety-four challenges in total from Reception to Year 6 and, as we all know that the curriculum is fit to burst, it is intended that children complete the tasks at home with the help of parents and family. However, there are a few schools who are running the Award as a ‘club’ or a year group activity afternoon-type-of-thing. We find that the parents’ comments are very positive and nearly all mention how much they have enjoyed seeing their children learn and manage new skills. Once a challenge has been completed, many of them in the upper years require a teacher to assess them – this is a quick read of his or her self-reflection, a look at the photos and maybe a taste of the food the child has created.
To take part, schools all hold an assembly early in the school year then give out forms to interested children. It costs the equivalent of £20GBP per child for their booklet, certificate and badge for the year. Most schools request payment from each family taking part whilst some have used PTA fundraising, PEF funding, or they use their budget. One school in the UK even applied for a grant so that has paid for her children to take part.
The next step is to send you a Trademark form to sign. This has no cost and doesn’t tie you into anything but is a formality which all participating schools must do. On receiving your form, I will send you the top-secret password so that you can have access to all of the resources you will need to run the Award in your school. This will mean that you don’t need to waste time on admin. In this password-protected area of the website, you will find things like:
- ‘how to…’ videos to inform the staff,
- assembly plan and video,
- spreadsheets for you to just add names,
- PowerPoint to inform staff,
- letters for your children’s parents to sign etc.
The deadline for orders is always near the start of the school year to allow time for printing and postage and for children to have as much time as possible in the year to complete their challenges. Once you give me your order, I send out a box with the booklets, certificates and badges and you and your staff run the Award in a way that is appropriate to your pupils. Getting access to the resources now will mean that you will have plenty of time to get ready to start next session.