Pupils and staff from Llanfoist Fawr Primary school experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity this week when, along with schools from the whole of UK attended the first National Prince William Award graduation event, alongside HRH The Duke of Cambridge.
The event, to celebrate the success of the character education award in Prince William’s name, was hosted by David Walliams OBE, who also took time to talk to the children and even take a few selfies.
Children and staff of Llanfoist were totally taken by surprise and astonished when David Walliams announced the winners of the Outstanding Contribution to The Prince William Award; “This is awarded to a head teacher and school who have truly embraced the scheme. Their championing of character education has been inspirational. The award goes to Jon Murphy and something tells me they might just be Welsh, the Llanfoist Fawr Primary School!”
Accompanied to the stage by pupils representing the school and Year 2 teacher Mrs Cheryl Evans, Mr Murphy was presented the award by Prince William and the Chief Executive of SkillForce, Mr Ben Slade.
Mr Murphy commented; “This was a totally unexpected accolade for the school and a real honour to be personally presented the Outstanding Contribution to Prince William Award by the Duke of Cambridge. This for me has been a career highlight.”
Delivered by the Nottingham based charity SkillForce, the Prince William Award aims to help children and young people, aged 6-14, develop vital life skills including confidence, resilience and self-belief.
Year 2 and Year 5 at Llanfoist Fawr Primary completed the 36 week programme, which is taught by predominantly former armed forces personnel, through a range of practical and classroom based activities and includes regular reflection on what pupils are learning and how their character is developing. To-date 90 pupils have successfully graduated to gain the award with a further 60 currently undertaking the course.
More than 150 children attended the event and The Duke of Cambridge took time to talk with many pupils and schools.
Launched in 2017 The Prince William Award already runs in over 200 schools across the UK and has been delivered to 7,500 pupils.
SkillForce uses predominantly ex -service personnel as instructors, who are able to inspire and teach pupils by drawing on their own life and career experience, courage and knowledge and the charity offers taster sessions to schools who are thinking of signing up.
Ben Slade, CEO SkillForce said in a speech at the event:
“We’ve achieved a great deal this year. However this is just the beginning. “I believe we must place much greater emphasis on giving children the time and space to explore the fundamental aspects of good character and to develop the skills to cope with life’s challenges and opportunities.”
David Walliams provided the comedy element of ceremony, joking:
For those of you who don’t know me – I’m sort of Britain’s answer to Angelina Jolie: a hugely respected actor who is renowned for their humanitarian work, and also very easy on the eye.”