Nearly 300 children (pictured below) were recently presented with the prestigious Torbay and Devon Civic Award certificate at a special ceremony held at St Cuthbert Mayne School. The children, all in their final year at primary school, received their certificates from Councillor Ian Doggett (Chair of Torbay Council) and Councillor Caroline Chugg (Chair of Devon County Council)
The award, started 13 years ago by Karen Thomson who still leads and manages the award, aims to promote active Citizenship amongst 10 and 11 year-olds. Karen was inspired to create the award by a deep belief that education should be broader and more futures-driven: developing children’s attitudes and values as well as transferable attributes to equip them for the future. It was also born from a desire to balance the SATs-driven curriculum in Y6 with opportunities to help Y6 children become well-rounded, confident and caring individuals who strive to make a difference in their various communities and are prepared to take responsibility for change.
The Presentation was held in two sessions which were attended by the following schools:
Homelands Primary School
Ilsham CE Academy
Our Lady of The Angels Catholic Primary School
Priory RC School
Sacred Heart Primary School
Torre CE Academy
St Marychurch CE Primary School
Preston Primary School
Shiphay Learning Academy
Cockington Primary School
Collaton St Mary CE Primary School
Bovey Tracey Primary School
Exminster Primary School
Gatehouse Primary School
Hazeldown Primary School
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School
Buckfast St Mary’s Catholic Primary School
The award has grown significantly since its inception and over the last 13 years more than 3,000 children have achieved the award.
To achieve the award the young people had to demonstrate public service in their school communities and their neighbourhoods and show that they had met outdoor challenges during a residential experience. The pupils showed dedication to hobbies and also adopted a cause or charity they felt strongly about and found ways to support it. The children also passed a rigorous assessment when they had to present all this evidence to an external assessor.
Some of the ways in which the children participated in their school communities included Peer Mediation, Play Leaders for younger children, Playground Champions, School Councillors and Reading Buddies. Many set up clubs and activities to help younger children.
Acts of Active Citizenship in their local communities included helping neighbours, litter-picking, fund raising for local charities including Rowcroft, participating in community events and beach and environmental cleans. Some children worked alongside local volunteers like Babbacombe Bloomers and Surfers Against Sewage and some regularly attended local Memory Cafes. One group of children worked in a homeless shelter helping to set up beds for the night and cooking an evening meal.
The children were passionate about their hobbies which were many and varied. To achieve the award children must also take up a new hobby. These ranged from photography to karate and included baking, cooking, crochet, knitting and many sports.
The children adopted a range of charities including Dementia UK, Animals in Distress, Rowcroft, Cancer Research, Bristol Children’s Hospital, the Devon Air Ambulance, RDE Neo-Natal Unit and Help for Heroes. Most were inspired to support these because of events in their own lives; they organised cake sales, various stalls, penalty shoot-outs and other sponsored events to raise money for their chosen charities. They also raised awareness of their charities through presenting in their schools.
‘Completing the award made me feel proud and worthwhile. I also feel like I was giving something back to help others,’ said Fern.
‘Be a role model for others!’ was the advice from Freya.
Jamie said, ‘I learned that I can do things that I want to do and I learned not to be scared. It’s made me more brave and independent.’
Lucy said,’ I used to underestimate myself – I don’t now! I have learned to push myself out of my comfort zone and I loved it!’
Amelia added, ‘I did things I never thought I could! I learned that I can be hospitable and kind to others and that if I try I can do great things! Doing the award made me a better team player. I had so much fun! I loved it!’
Mr Nick Slater, one of the assessors for the award said, ‘I had the honour recently of assessing a few of the students and their passion and commitment for the scheme was boundless. It was so obvious how much taking part had widened and enhanced their educational experience. I think that that every primary school in the country needs this amazing award.’
Mrs Shelby Chew, who leads KS2 at Highweek Primary and plans to start the award there in September 2018,was also an assessor. She added, ‘It was a real privilege to be part of the Civic Award process. I found conversations with the children inspirational in the way that they have clearly embraced challenge and used it as opportunities to develop new skills and experiences.’
‘This is what we need throughout the country!’ said Councillor Caroline Chugg. She added, ‘It was a real delight to present the children with their awards, and it is a real achievement for so many to have taken part and finished their own projects. It is so character building for the children to be given a chance to become involved in events outside of the classroom, especially in helping others. We certainly need to encourage more schools to take part and start to get children even more involved in helping others. I certainly admire Karen for sticking with an idea and making it as a large a success as it is now.’
Karen’s philosophy behind the Torbay and Devon Civic Award
- It brings about community cohesion through linking school and community.
- It empowers children to become global citizens – developing their awareness of the works of charities.
- It develops empathy and the desire to strive for a fairer future. It encourages them to be compassionate and to take responsibility for positive change.
- It enables children to achieve economic well-being through the management of money.
- It encourages children to be safe – action planning with risk assessments is an important part of the award.
- It develops self-esteem, confidence, resilience and assurance.
- It develops a team-working ethos and promotes related skills of collaboration and independence.
- It supports children in leading purposeful and full lives and is great preparation for both secondary school and the workplace.
- The scheme develops Pupil Voice and Citizenship.
- It encourages acquisition of important values (respect, contribution, compassion, etc) and allows children to see them in practice.
- It is about what we all believe in: moral purpose and integrity – developing and nurturing the whole child for life and placing education in a broader and more worthy context.
If any schools or children are interested in taking part next year, please complete an Expression of Interest form which can be found on our website at: www.torbayanddevoncivicaward.co.uk
You can also contact Karen and Gary Vine who manages the award’s virtual presence at firstname.lastname@example.org