The Kennel Club held its inaugural seminar for breed education co-ordinators as part of the implementation of the Judges Competency Framework (JCF) over the weekend (Sunday 15th July) at the Kennel Club Building, Stoneleigh Park.
As part of the JCF, each breed will have its own co-ordinator who will co-ordinate all points of breed-specific education and support for judges under the new system. The vast majority of co-ordinators are now in place, marking a key milestone in the implementation of the JCF.
Kennel Club Chairman Simon Luxmoore gave a brief introduction to the day, saying: “The JCF is a major project for the Kennel Club and vital for the education of judges and consequently protecting the future development of each breed.”
KC Board member Jeff Horswell then spoke as the JCF project leader, giving an introduction to the role of the breed education co-ordinators, including an outline of their role and responsibilities. He described a range of best practice models which had been successfully trialed during the recent breed club pilot scheme.
The breed-specific seminars to be run by breed clubs, known as breed appreciation days, were explained by Julien Barney, who took part in the JCF pilot scheme representing Welsh Terriers. Yvonne Billows, JCF working party member, spoke about how best to compile a multiple-choice breed standard exam, a necessary part of the breed appreciation day. This exam must be passed by each judge before they can achieve JCF Level 2 (equivalent of the current B list). Yvonne’s detailed slides were a great help in making this important task achievable.
Julien then led a session on mentoring. Another very important aspect of the co-ordinator role will be the arranging of mentoring sessions for judges as they progress through the JCF system. Aspiring judges must successfully complete three mentoring sessions for a breed before they can apply to take the hands-on Breed Competence Assessment. Representatives from the pilot breeds outlined the different types of mentoring and their positive experiences: Christine Morrell (Golden Retrievers) spoke on group mentoring, Susan Rhodes (Afghan Hounds) on one-to-one mentoring, and Melanie Reed-Peck (Keeshonds and Schipperkes) on both mentoring as a student judge in a show ring and also after judging special award classes at a breed club show.
Well-known Afghan Hound exhibitor and championship show judge Roberta Hall, who has more than 30 years’ experience in teaching, spoke about what makes a good mentor. The Afghan Hound breed has a long tradition of being proactive in the education of its judges, so this presentation proved very enlightening.
Adrian Marett, member of the KC Education and Training team, spoke about observed judging, which aspiring judges must undertake if they wish to progress to CC status. He also spoke about the importance of the Breed Competence Assessment. All the assessments will be arranged by the Kennel Club with input from the breed clubs and the co-ordinators. The assessment panel will be four championship show judges – two specialists and two all-rounders – and in order to be approved to award CCs, a candidate must be approved by at least three of these judges.
Jeff Horswell’s next subject was the JCF transition period. It was recently announced by the Kennel Club that the IT system required for the JCF would be merged with the Kennel Club’s CRM and consequently will be ready later than previously announced. Jeff explained that, now the vast majority of co-ordinators have been appointed, the breeds were in a position to hold breed appreciation days and judges could work towards the requirements of the JCF in readiness to upload their evidence on to their online account in 2020.
Jeff emphasised the importance of breed clubs using the existing A2 route during the transition period, as those judges approved will transition to JCF Level 4 and will not need to be mentored or have to pass the new breed competency assessments. Breed clubs are urged to review their judging lists and make every effort to help their judges to be approved via this route.
The co-ordinators were given the opportunity to ask questions and to have their next steps explained. Everyone was thanked for their attendance and a special mention was made of the 14 pilot breeds which were a huge source of help and valuable feedback to the Kennel Club in the lead-up to the seminar.
Only Lakeland Terriers, Sealyham Terriers and Beaucerons of the CC and rare breeds have not yet appointed a co-ordinator. It is hoped that they will do so in the near future so they can participate in the training of their future judges. In addition, one breed, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, has opted to use the Kennel Club’s ‘surrogacy’ service, and Foxhounds will be covered by a KC surrogate co-ordinator as there is no breed club.
Jeff Horswell said: “The Kennel Club was delighted with the turnout for the briefing for the newly-appointed breed education co-ordinators. It was a very positive day and marks the next phase in this exciting project. The co-ordinators carry out a very important role on behalf of their breeds and we were pleased at the enthusiasm shown. Many are already planning their first events.”
Enquiries regarding the JCF should be directed to our JCF team.