Aperture Education Partners with SkillForce on a New Character-Building Program in the United Kingdom

Charlotte N.C. (June 1, 2017) — Aperture Education, a social enterprise focused on social-emotional learning skills, has partnered with the education charity SkillForce to provide data for a new program to build social-emotional skills in students throughout the United Kingdom. The SkillForce Prince William Award is a character-building program in the UK for children ages 6 to 14. After a successful pilot this year in 37 schools, the program is expanding to additional schools throughout the UK in September, 2017. The program combines practical and reflective learning through classroom-based and outdoor activities to develop character, resilience, compassion, courage, teamwork and problem solving skills. It draws on the expertise and skills of ex-Services personnel who work as SkillForce instructors. SkillForce selected the DESSA-mini, to measure the program’s effectiveness. The DESSA-mini is a strengths-based assessment that allows educators to screen students for social and emotional learning (SEL) competence. It identifies students that have SEL strengths, as well as others who need additional support, and tracks their progress over time. “Helping students build strong social and emotional skills sets them up for success not only in academics, but also in life,” said Marc Kirsch, Director of Sales and Business Development for Aperture Education. “Our partnership with like-minded company SkillForce will help to improve the SEL skills of students throughout the UK. We are pleased at the promising results of the pilot and are excited about the upcoming national rollout.” Interim research findings from the pilot show that teachers at both primary and secondary schools, across all key stages and settings, have noticed substantial changes in students’ behavior, attitude and skills in particular confidence, communication and the ability to work with others. The program’s expansion was announced in March by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, who serves as SkillForce’s Royal Patron. It is supported by investment company Standard Life, and its academic partner is the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham. The pilot, which ran in schools for one afternoon a week throughout the 2016-17 academic year, covered five themes: personal development, relationships, working, community and environment. It includes levels for each different age group: pioneer (minimum age 6), explorer (minimum age 8), and trailblazer (minimum age 12). In addition to team tasks and practical challenges, students receive feedback from instructors that encourage them to reflect on their actions and experiences, and consider how they would behave differently next time. “We are thrilled to launch the Prince William Award, a pioneering new program and the first of its kind, which will help children and young people build character, resilience and an inner strength for life. I want to thank The Duke for his fantastic support,” said Ben Slade, Chief Executive of SkillForce. “Character attributes can be developed in children and young people, given the right mentoring. Our ex-Services personnel, who work as instructors in schools, inspire children and young people to dare to be their best selves. Developing personal skills is as valuable as academic study, given that character traits such as courage, cooperation, listening and problem solving can affect academic performance, psychological wellbeing and job success later in life.” The partnership with SkillForce was developed through Aperture Education’s publisher in the UK, Hogrefe. It is part of Aperture Education’s ongoing work to support students’ social and emotional health in the U.S. and abroad. Aperture Education works with educators, administrators and out-of-school-time providers who are implementing social and emotional learning programs within their schools providing strength-based assessments and resilience-building resources to help address the whole child. Its goal is to ensure members of school and out-of-school time communities, including adults, have the social and emotional skills needed to thrive. Aperture Education offers products and services to support SEL programs, including Evo Social/Emotional, a K-12 online assessment and intervention tool. It uses the DESSA Comprehensive System to help educators measure students’ SEL skills and implement individualized, classroom and school-wide strategies for instruction and intervention. For more information about the Prince William Award program, visit http://www.skillforce.org or follow @SkillForceUK. Hashtags: #SkillForcePWA #PrinceWilliamAward #BeYourBest #Character #Resilience.

About Aperture Education Aperture Education is a social enterprise focused on addressing the whole child. Its social-emotional learning (SEL) solution, Evo Social/Emotional, is based on the DESSA, a standardized, strengths-based measure of critical social and emotional skills such as personal responsibility, self-management, relationship skills and healthy decision-making. The DESSA Comprehensive System online platform includes both the DESSA assessment and the DESSA-Mini, a brief, universal screener of social and emotional competence. The DESSA Comprehensive System also provides strategies to strengthen social and emotional skills. Version 2.0, now available, provides the data needed to help SEL program administrators measure the impact of their programs and to help educators understand students’ SEL needs and strengths. For more information, go to www.ApertureEd.com.  About SkillForce SkillForce is a national education charity that specializes in character and resilience, and puts heroes in schools to transform lives, empowering children and young people to make positive choices. The charity’s dual mission includes supporting ex-Services personnel and their transition into civilian life. SkillForce delivers educational programs that develop character, self-confidence, resilience, teamwork and problem-solving skills.  Founded in 2000 and a registered charity since 2004, SkillForce has helped more than 60,000 children and young people. The Duke of Cambridge has been the charity’s Royal Patron since 2009.  As the home of character education and the Prince William Award, SkillForce works with more than 200 schools in England, Scotland and Wales. For more information, visit www.skillforce.org. Join us on LinkedIn and Facebook. Call 01623 827651.

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