PUPILS at Bishopstone Church of England Primary School are testing a new character education scheme that aims to boost their resilience and problem solving skills.

The SkillForce Character Award is being trialled at 37 primary and secondary schools across the country this academic year and involves more than 1,000 pupils aged five to 14.

A group of 22 young pupils from the school on Icknield Way in Bishopstone, are taking part in the scheme, which began earlier this term and is delivered by instructors from the national education charity SkillForce.

Emma Lindsay, the school's headteacher, said: “The life skills that the children are being equipped with are crucial in today’s environment from first aid through to perseverance and team work. The children are already applying the skills they are learning into their academic work, reflecting that the two are intertwined.” She added: “Having run a similar scheme with our Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils last year, we were convinced that this was an opportunity that we wanted to be involved in.”

The Year 1, 2 and 3 pupils at Bishopstone Primary School are completing practical and team-based activities and challenges, inside and outside of the classroom, to develop resilience, self control, compassion, courage, confidence, leadership, teamwork and problem solving skills.

Supported by investment company Standard Life, the pilot scheme is running in schools for one afternoon a week throughout the current academic year. It draws on the knowledge, skills and expertise of predominantly ex-Services personnel and covers five themes: personal development, relationships, working, community and environment.

Ben Slade, chief executive of SkillForce, said: “Young people need to develop an inner strength to thrive in today’s world, one that enables them to dare to be their best self, carries them through life and gives them the confidence to be comfortable in their own skin. Our new national character education pilot supports our broader mission to transform lives and equip the next generation with the self confidence and resilience to succeed.”

SkillForce is a national education charity that specialises in character education and draws on the skills of predominantly ex-services personnel. They work as instructors delivering education programmes and motivational mentoring which help to raise pupils’ aspirations, attendance and attainment.