The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme (DofE) is a real adventure from beginning to end and all levels are available to students: Bronze and Silver in Years 9 – 11 and Gold for Arden. Any new Year 12 students who wish to complete a Silver award will join one of the groups from Years 9-11.
Awards are achieved by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections (five if you’re going for Gold):
The Academy has recently become a Directly Licenced Centre which has made the running of the overall programme much more efficient. We have also been able to access funding for equipment and staff training meaning that we now have staff who are qualified to supervise and assess expeditions at all levels. This massive expansion would not have been possible without the support of staff from across the Academy and the Stationers’ Company, who enabled us to improve the quality of our expedition offer with the integration of GPS tracking technology.
In 2019 sixty-seven Year 9 participants completed the Bronze Award which is our largest single cohort to date. Students demonstrated exceptional resilience during training sessions and on the expedition. Even when things have gone wrong and they have got lost (which inevitably happens) they have shown a significant amount of maturity and worked together in their groups to overcome the challenges they faced.
Alongside this, throughout the year, participants have been completing 3-6 months of their individual volunteering, skills and physical opportunities. These activities have given students a sense of responsibility; developed their independence and encouraged them to try something new. The expeditions in the North Downs have been a huge success and given many participants a real taste and enthusiasm for continuing onto the Silver Award.
Such is the popularity of the programme, over 100 Year 9 students have enrolled for 2019/20 Bronze Award.
2019 also saw forty-three students from years 10 and 11 participate in the Silver Award. On their expedition to Alfriston on the South Downs all groups demonstrated significant perseverance and a positive attitude towards failure. The level of independence that they showed over the three days was amazing. Even when they were tired they found the energy to help each other out and work together to overcome the challenges.
In addition to the expedition section Silver students completed 6-12 months of their individual volunteering, skills and physical sections showing a sustained and long-term commitment to helping others and trying something new. This experience and the Award more generally will help them massively as they move into further study and hopefully they will complete their Gold Award in the future.
2019 marked a welcome return to the Gold programme, with four Arden students successfully completing an arduous 4-day, unaccompanied, expedition on Dartmoor and a further seven students completing a practice expedition. Both qualifying and practice expeditions take place on Dartmoor, with the next ones due in the week 13-17 July 2020.
It would not be possible to run any of the programmes without the support from staff across the Academy, particularly for their involvement in the expeditions.
If any parent/carer feels able to support the programme in any way, possibly through donating good quality but unused camping equipment or offering a volunteering opportunity, please don’t hesitate to get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For further details of how to get involved visit the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme website at www.dofe.org.
Bronze Practice: 24-25 April 2020
Bronze Assessed: 4-5 July 2020
Silver Practice: 28-29 March 2020
Silver Assessed: 13-14 June 2020
Gold Expedition: 13-17 July 2020