So, we all remember our time at school. Some more favourably than others, and for some people, well it’s a bit of a distant memory?! But for a couple of us in the Medals UK office, school life has become a new experience over the last month, as two of our little folk start primary school for the first time.
It’s now half term and time for us to reflect on surviving the first term. And how time has changed? Gone is the ‘look and say’ method we were taught to read with in the past, in favour of phonetics, the latest technique for getting reception children on the road to literacy. The one thing that hasn’t changed though is the importance of building a child’s confidence and a sense of self-worth and helping them discover their inner potential in order to learn to the best of their ability.
I still remember, the role two very special primary school teachers had in my life, in inspiring me in this way. But in addition to this, we have found increasingly over the years, that awards, commemorative coins and bespoke medals are also being introduced into the mix to acknowledge recognition of learning and encourage participation, endeavour and attendance to further support children’s development, whether this be at primary school level, or at University.
Only recently we produced the James Blacklock Dux Medal for Hamilton Grammar School. However, this isn’t a new introduction of an award, as the prestigious medal was first presented 120 years ago. Named after the founder of Hamilton Academy and previous rector of the school, the James Blacklock Dux Medal, has been awarded annually for outstanding academic success since 1897, so we were delighted to be commissioned to continue this longstanding tradition and acknowledge the hard work and commitment of the school’s pupils.
Medals to encourage attendance of pupils are another product currently racing off the minting presses. Like those we produced for Redriff Primary School, in London. The school believe that all children can succeed when they are happy at school, when they feel cared for and valued and when their work and efforts are appreciated and they commissioned the medals to commemorate and celebrate 100% Attendance rates. The inspiring philosophy has been reflected within the awards medals themselves with: ‘Adventurous, Aspirational, Individual, Enlightened, Compassionate’ engraved on the obverse of the pendant.
Over the last few years we have worked with Redmaids High School in Bristol, producing commemorative coins to mark their Founders Day Celebrations. The annual event commemorates the life and vision of the founder, John Whitson, Mayor and MP of Bristol, who introduced the school back in 1634, making it the oldest surviving girls’ school in England.
The event occurs around 07 November every year, with the date marking the attempted murder of Whitson by Christopher Callowhill, (who stabbed him in the face with a dagger on this date!). During the Founders Day Celebrations, the girls march through the city to the cathedral, where a service takes place and all the pupils are presented with the coins to mark the important part they all make within the school’s life and history.
Universities are also increasingly offering commemorative coins and bespoke medals to their students and staff. Bishop Grosseteste commissioned ‘Good Luck’ coins as a souvenir for their graduates to wish them well in the future. Similarly, Cardiff Metropolitan University produced graduation medals and lapel pins to mark the achievement of their final year students.
Whereas the University of Glasgow commissioned the Brian Bluck Award to commemorate the academic achievements of their pupils, naming the medal after one of their most innovative and inspiring lecturers and researchers.
Whether it’s for young children starting off on their academic path or graduates getting ready to take their next step, receiving a token, such as an awards medal or a commemorative coin has the same effect, making them feel respected and valued and confident in their own ability to take the next leap.