At Meopham Community Academy we already have a big focus on inspiring children to challenge themselves and develop as independent learners as they progress through the school. In order to build on our work in this area, from September 2022, we will be offering the Micro, Mini and Junior Duke awards to all of our children.
The Micro, Mini and Junior Duke give children the opportunity to participate in a variety of new experiences. They teach children that it is good to 'have a go' and challenge them to learn new and varied skills from an early age. By enrolling in the award scheme, children will learn that you may not always succeed first time and that is okay. This helps them to develop the resilience they will need throughout their lives. The Dukes Award schemes provide the children with the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification from successfully completing each step of the award.
These Award Schemes have been running in schools since 2007 and have helped thousands of children, initially aged 6 to 12 to develop their abilities and, for some, to discover new talents and passions. The concept was created by Dawn Waugh, a Scottish Primary School Teacher from Glasgow. When she began teaching in 1994 and she noticed that the children depended on their teachers and parents for simple tasks they could have done for themselves. She felt they needed to be encouraged to learn to do things on their own and wanted to develop an award scheme to help children to become independent learners.
Having loved earning badges as a Brownie then later as a Guide and completing her Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award, Dawn started thinking about simple life skills children should be able to do and began to make up lists. By the end of 2007, she had 40 challenges and created four progressive booklets. Each year she has adapted and expanded the booklets.
Since its inception, the award has developed further to include a Mini Duke Award for years 1 and 2 and a Micro Duke award for Reception children. Life skills at this age include learning the safety rules of an open campfire and toasting marshmallows, washing a car, climbing a hill carrying their own rucksack, polishing their shoes, making a sandwich, reading literature, playing Monopoly or chess and much more.
There are seven levels: Micro Duke, Silver Mini Duke, Gold Mini Duke, Bronze Junior Duke, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each of these levels has several challenges which the children need to choose a selection of and complete these successfully to earn their award. These include skills such as First Aid, ICT, Languages, Art, Drama, Music, Sport and other life skills such as cookery and puncture repair. The children will be given many of the necessary skills in school, but most of the challenges will require some time and effort outside school or at home.
On entering the award scheme, each child will receive a Micro, Mini or Junior Duke booklet (dependent on their year group), with all of the challenges explained fully. There are many spaces for you to glue photographs of your child completing the challenges. If there are any particularly great photos, please would you send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion on the school’s website. Some may be forwarded to the Junior Duke website (permission will be sort first).
The Micro and Mini Duke is mostly assessed at home by parents and it asks for more photographic evidence rather than written assessments. To support the tasks, there is a Parental comment box on each page. The Junior Duke scheme will be mainly assessed by Teachers and TAs, during the school day (on a designated day and time to suit each class), when a child completes a task.
On the completion of a level, a certificate and a badge will be awarded at an achievement assembly.
If a level remains incomplete by the end of the academic year, your child may carry it over into the next year at MCA however Year 6 will need to complete the Platinum challenges by the end of June as they will not be able to continue working towards it in secondary school.
Also, have a look at the Capable Kids Junior Duke website - https://juniorduke.com/