Where in Swaffield might you find thank you letters sent on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II?
Next time you’re near the School Office, look at the Knight School display outside classroom 1D.
There, you’ll find letters sent to us on behalf of The Queen by her Lady-in-Waiting. The letters thank us for keeping her Majesty up-to-date with the achievements of our Knight School, and form part of our display about the programme.
Knight School's Tenth Anniversary
In 2018, Swaffield is celebrating 10 years of Knight School.
Swaffield has been running Knight School since 2008 and we believe we are the only school in London to run such an initiative. The programme, which was inspired by The Knight School Foundation (which was founded by Gary Brown MBE, a former policeman, in Rutland, Lincolnshire), is based on the Knights’ Code of Conduct and Chivalry and teaches children old-fashioned values that will help them in the modern world. We estimate that an amazing 360 children have passed through the Knight School Programme over the past ten years.
They learn that:
“it doesn’t matter who or what you are if you believe in yourself and want something enough then you can achieve it”.
Swaffield School Receives Special Award for its Knight School
In May 2016, Swaffield received a special award for the outstanding contribution of our Knight School programme which teaches children old-fashioned values that will help them in the modern world.
The programme crosses cultural, social and economic boundaries. Each week, the children work together through the code of conduct by enjoying a wide range of activities including cookery, marching, pet-handling, inspirational speakers, meeting ‘people who help us’ like the police, and team-building.
The award is the first of its kind and was presented by Caroline Aston and Barbara Keene from The Knight School Foundation, which was founded by Gary Brown MBE, a former policeman, in Rutland, Lincolnshire.
The pupils at Swaffield were very excited to be joined in their special award assembly by Sir Richard Stilgoe OBE DL, who was knighted in 2012 for his charity work, and to hear what it is like to really be knighted. Other special guests included Keith Brownnut, and members of West Side Church Friendship Group, who are visited each term by Knight School pupils to share a story and play board games with the over-60’s.
At Swaffield School, each term, six boys and six girls from Year 3 take part in the ten-week programme which promotes courage, courtesy, discipline, gratitude, honesty, perseverance, pride, prudence, respect, and responsibility. The programme crosses cultural, social and economic boundaries. Each week, the children work together through the code of conduct by enjoying a wide range of activities including cookery, marching, pet-handling, inspirational speakers, meeting ‘people who help us’ like the police, and team-building. The children take pride in their manners and appearance and love meeting the older generation at the local Friendship Group as well as taking on a Knight or Lady’s name and creating their own personal shield.
Mrs Lilley, our Headteacher, said:
We are extremely proud that the Knight School Foundation is giving us this award to recognise the positive impact that our programme has on the children who take part and the important values it instils in them.
Caroline Aston of The Knight School Foundation said:
If we lost the original blueprint for Knight School all we’d have to do is go to Swaffield School because it’s there, it’s alive and they’re simply the best.
Keith Brownnut, Co-ordinator of West Side Church Friendship Group said:
Being linked to Knight School gives us old folk a lift in our spirits. We so love spending time with such well-mannered children.
What is Knight School?
The Knight School Foundation was developed by Gary Brown MBE, a former policeman, in Rutland, Lincolnshire and we believe Swaffield is the only school running the programme in London at present. Swaffield’s pupils and parents have enjoyed its benefits since 2008 and it’s a special programme that is run by Miss Ford, Ms Thakore and Miss Crolle.
It aims to teach boys and girls (six boys and six girls per course) old-fashioned British values which will support them in the modern day. These values are based on the Knights’ Code of Conduct and Chivalry.
The Knight School programme promotes pride, courtesy and respect by encouraging parents and children to take responsibility for their actions.
Its focus is on human empathy, social learning and positive role modelling. Chivalry is not simply compliance with certain codes of conduct; it is the embodiment of moral values and standards of behaviour. We aim to raise children’s confidence and self-esteem too.
What do the children do?
Since it began, we estimate that 240 children have passed through the Knight School Programme.
The children are selected and each group participates in 1½ hour sessions over a period of, usually, 11 weeks.
When they join, each child is given a Knight’s or a Lady’s name, such as Villiars or Guinevere, to help them enter into the spirit of the programme.
When we started Knight School at Swaffield, we wrote to her Majesty The Queen to let her know about the new initiative. Imagine our delight when we received a reply, which told us that her Majesty was impressed by our aims for Knight School in instilling important values in our children.
Every week, the children participate in a range of activities which in the past have included marching, team-building, visits to the Friendship Group at West Side Church, cookery, looking after pets, visits from the police, ‘Motivate You’ from Life Coach Dawn Kendall, as well as other individual exercises and skills.
Towards the end of the programme, the children invite senior members of staff from Swaffield to attend a tea party as Knight School's guests of honour. The children prepare and serve the food, sit with their guests and enjoy chatting to them after which the members of Knight School tidy up and wash up. The finale of each programme is a wonderful occasion to which parents and carers are invited and the children are officially knighted.
When we started Knight School at Swaffield, we wrote to her Majesty The Queen to let her know about the new initiative. Imagine our delight when we received a reply, which told us that her Majesty was impressed by our aims for Knight School in instilling important values in our children. In subsequent years, we’ve sent updates to The Queen to inform her of the success of our programme and are pleased to report that we always get encouraging replies.
BBC London Radio visited Swaffield in 2009 to find out more about Swaffield's Knight School which started in 2008.