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Mini and Junior Dukes

Success & Wellbeing

Supporting Children's Confidence and Independence

We strive to see all of our children succeed in school, achieve good results and go on to do great things with their lives. However, their general well-being and happiness significantly affect their future success. For this reason, working on helping our children to develop their self-confidence and independence from an early age is crucial.

The Mini and Junior Duke is there to help with this by allowing children to participate in various new experiences. It teaches them that it is good to ‘have a go’ and challenges them to learn new and varied skills from an early age. Enrolling in the award will teach children that you may not always succeed the first time, which is okay. This helps them to develop the resilience they will need throughout their lives.

About the Mini and Junior Dukes Programme

Empowering children's independence and character development.

This award has been running in schools since 2007 and has helped thousands of children aged 6 to 12 to realise their abilities and discover new talents and passions. Dawn Waugh, a Scottish primary school teacher from Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow, created the concept. She began teaching in 1994 and noticed that the children depended on their teachers and parents for simple tasks they could have done by themselves. She felt they needed to be encouraged to learn to do things without help and wanted to develop an award scheme to help children become independent learners.

Having loved earning badges as a Brownie, then later as a Guide and completing her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, Dawn started thinking about simple life skills children should be able to do and began making lists. By the end of the summer holiday 2007, she had 40 challenges and created four progressive booklets. Each year, she has adapted and expanded the booklets, the awards and its reach. HIS fully supports this initiative and is proud to be one of the first schools in Dubai to join this journey.

Independence and Character

Fostering Self-Reliance and Skill Development in Children

We all know life can be hectic, and we as parents are often too busy to allow our children to learn to do things for themselves as it’s much quicker, as an adult, to do things ourselves. Many six-year-olds are capable of making toast for their breakfast; they can tie their shoelaces, and they can make it up a hill.
Many parents have begun expecting more from their children as they know their youngsters are capable. Children love to do things without help. They need the time and space to explore, learn from their mistakes, and understand how to be safe.

Within the HIS Primary School, we already offer many great opportunities to develop student’s ability to lead themselves and others while encouraging them to use a range of learning skills to help strengthen their character. The Mini and Junior Dukes programme helps formalise this and allows the children to gain a recognised qualification from completing the award.


Here is a sample of feedback from students who have taken part in the programme:

  • Children love the feeling of achievement when they have been in the wild for an adventure.

  • They feel ‘grown up’ when they have successfully built a safe fire and toasted a marshmallow.

  • They like to show they can recite a long mobile phone number.

  • They will likely be more careful with their buttons if they have learned how tricky it is to sew them back on.

  • They like rules, and games like chess are a great way to instil calm and discipline and learn good sportsmanship.

  • Everyone gets nervous making presentations, but it becomes easier each time if you do it regularly from a very early age.

  • They like having a purpose for each of the presentations.

  • They like talking to the teachers they didn’t know so well about what they have done.

  • They know their parents are proud of them after completing each level.

Horizon International School recognise the benefits this award can have on the children and is pleased to have started our Dukes journey. We look forward to sharing the many positive Dukes stories, photos and highlights throughout the year.


For more information about the Mini and Junior Dukes programme at HIS, please contact Mr Tate.


Mini Duke

P2 – P3






Junior Duke

P4 – P7










Watch our videos to learn more about our Mini & Junior Dukes

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