Frequently Asked Questions

Some frequently asked questions about running the Torbay and Devon Civic Award with answers from Karen Thomson, the Award Founder and Co-ordinator

Is it a lot of work?

Well, not really, but it does need someone to manage and lead the award in the school – a champion for the award. Children need reminding and will need a bit of support at times and there is more to do in the Summer Term with assessments and presentation nights. All of this is covered in the Teacher’s Timetable document which gives an idea of work required month by month. But – teachers leading the award say it’s very rewarding work and continue to do it each year!

How much does it cost?

We ask for a registration fee of £10 from each school in September and then £2 per child for each certificate in June. All monies go towards costs to manage the award. Gary Vine (Award Publicist & Business Admin) and Karen Thomson (Award Founder and Coordinator) give our services entirely voluntarily.

Are there documents and advice to run it?

Yes – once registered, you will have access to a zipped folder of documents and proformas for children and staff. There are letters to let families know and you will receive emails and advice during the year. I am always available to help with any concerns and Gary Vine (Online and Business Manager) is there for business, publicity and financial advice.

Are many other schools involved?

Yes! We have over a estimate of 35 – 40 primary school participating each year which is continuously growing.

Is it compulsory?

No. The award is optional for children. Although some might need to be encouraged, they should not be under any pressure to take part.

Do children have to complete each part of the award in order to pass?

Yes. Children need to provide evidence that they’ve completed every section. Sometimes parts of the award are difficult for pupils, but that’s what the award celebrates: determination, resilience and bravery. Help children to find a way – whatever their abilities.

Can you run it as a club?

Well, a lot of schools have a weekly voluntary drop-in club when pupils can work on aspects of the award, but this should not be compulsory – pupils can do the award in their own time. Also, it should be inclusive and open to everyone, and a club might make that difficult – some children can’t come after school and others need their break times!

Is there a lot of writing for the pupils?

No. The pupils need to provide evidence that thy have achieved each section and that evidence can be a photo or a certificate. If children want to create amazing files that’s great – but they don’t have to.

Can parents and carers help?

Of course, family members are really helpful in facilitating their children’s award – but they should be discouraged from doing it for them, however much they might want to! The award recognises independence and organisation!

How do I register?

On the website please complete the Join Us form at and Karen Thomson will be in contact.

How do I spread the word in my school to get it going?

There are lots of ways you can do this:

Launch the award each year and make it exciting.

Make sure the whole school community knows about it – mention it in assemblies, worships, governors’ meetings, letters, communications, parents’ evenings, and the staff room! Create a link from your school website to the Civic Award website. Send photos and short reports to Gary Vine (who manages the official website and all business side of things). He will publish them on the official online channels. Have a Torbay and Devon Civic Award display in school and make sure people see it.

Celebrate children’s achievements as you go. Give children opportunities to talk to others about what they’re doing for their award, both in groups and in assemblies – it’s good practice for assessments!

Sample files every so often and give pupils time to assess, organise and plan – and reflect!

And at the end of the year, ensure that Civic award graduates have an opportunity to speak to Year 5 and get them excited!

Is it worthwhile?

Let’s ask those taking part.

Below are some quotes from pupils and staff who took part in 2023:

“Taking part in the civic award allowed me to show my personality that others may not see.” Sienna, award Graduate

“It was really fun as I took part in things I may not have ever done if it wasn’t for the Civic Award.” Poppy, Award Graduate

“I enjoyed having the feeling that I was doing the right thing for my community”Archie, Award Graduate

“I think taking part in the civic award has shown me I am capable of anything I put my mind to.” Madison, Award Graduate

Taking part in the civic award made me learn things about myself that I didn’t know.” Emily, Award Graduate

The T and D Civic award has exceeded my expectations over the past 19 years. The children gain many skills from the different elements of the award, but they also gain so much from the whole experience -the intrinsic motivation, the sense of belonging and the ownership and impact of the choices they make. I am fiercely protective over it, and it never fails to amaze me with its success year on year.’  Kate Nowell, Exminster Community School.

‘As a previous participant in Ten Tors and Duke of Edinburgh Gold, I have always valued the out-of-classroom experiences that schools can provide – they have shaped me into who I am today. I was delighted when Karen Thomson introduced the Torbay Civic Award; our school has participated for many years now and I never fail to be in awe of the drive and determination of our young people. They are an inspiration, and it goes to prove that some of the most valuable learning takes place beyond the classroom. Over the years, the Civic Award has grown, and I know it will continue to change the lives of many for years to come. This is the sort of learning that you never forget.’ Tracey Lawrence, St Marychurch Primary School.


The Torbay & Devon Civic Award does not allow the downloading of images from our website. To request a image please contact the relevant school who will get in touch with us.