Hartshead Junior and Infant School is a small primary school in West Yorkshire. We began our participation in the CVQO Lion Award in April 2021, with 32 children across years 4, 5 and 6 undertaking the Bronze Award.
As of May 2022, we currently have 37 children undertaking a bespoke programme which encompasses elements of the Bronze and Silver Awards. A number of the children are taking part in their second course, while 18 are new participants.
The benefits of taking part in the Lion Award became clear very quickly: the children soon realised that in order to be successful in the tasks set for them, it was essential that they communicated clearly and listened to one another.
Over the 12 weeks of our initial course, the development in the way children worked as a team was incredible and this became increasingly evident in the way they interacted with one another in the classroom. For example: the noise level in our classroom has dropped hugely when children are completing group tasks; they now have a deeper understanding of the importance of listening in order to help them be more productive in these types of activities.
Another benefit of the programme is the inclusivity that it promotes. Every child, no matter their academic or physical ability, has the chance to shine and showcase their individual qualities. Children who are less confident have blossomed through taking part in the CVQO Lion Award, and have become more open to putting themselves forward to share their thoughts and ideas, not only during the award sessions but in wider school life.
Throughout the course of the Lion Award, I have witnessed shy and quiet children become much more confident in their own abilities and their interactions with others, which is fantastic to see. The sense of excitement in our classroom is evident every Monday prior to our session with Amber: the children love taking part in the Lion Award!
In my view, programmes such as the Lion Award are vital in helping children to achieve their individual potential. The sessions foster a sense of responsibility in the participants and children are encouraged to think more deeply about their own actions.
Each week, children are asked to set a personal goal that they would like to achieve before the next session; as their teacher, to see the maturity and thought, which they have brought to this task, has been incredible.
Children are actively trying to reach their goals throughout the week leading up to their next session and will often use the key principles of the Lion Award while completing everyday tasks.
Also, following on from enforced periods of lockdown, it has been wonderful to see children having fun with one another! Participants will often work with peers they might not normally interact with on a day-to-day basis, which has developed overall classroom relationships. There is a real bond amongst our participants, which I believe is a direct result of taking part in the Lion Award.
I would urge any teacher who has the opportunity to enrol their class in the Lion Award to do so – it has been absolutely wonderful for us!
Hartshead Junior and Infant School