Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a national scheme that encourages young people up to the age of 25 to get involved in a range of activities and to experience the UK countryside.
It consists of three levels; Bronze, Silver and Gold. Students at each level have to carry out three activities for increasing durations. These are Volunteering; which could be working in a Charity shop, fund raising or coaching younger children, a Physical Activity; which may involve playing football, swimming outside school, running or gymnastics, and a Skill; which is often playing a musical instrument, but also includes drama, first aid and cooking.
However, the term ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ is often associated with groups of young people trekking through the countryside with heavy backpacks and it is their expeditions which the participants most look forward to! Our pupils are familiar with cities and pavements and many are pushed well beyond their comfort zone when faced with a muddy track, a field of cows and a barren campsite without electricity. They learn to work as a team under pressure and it is certainly character building! At each level participants receive training and carry out a practice expedition, when a qualified adult can work with them to ensure that they can read a map, pitch a tent and cook on a gas stove. On the qualifying expedition participants are monitored remotely by qualified expedition assessors, giving them a real sense of independence.
Here at South Wigston High School, we currently offer the Bronze Award to our year 9 and 10 students and to those year 10 and 11 that complete it, the Silver Award. Both are recognised internationally by education establishments and employers and provide students with a ‘foot in the door’ during application processes
During these unprecedented times, we are able to offer the ‘Certificate of Achievement’, to those students that are able to complete their voluntary, physical and skill sections. The Certificate is a formal recognition, by the DofE, of their dedication to their programmes and everything they’ve achieved through these three sections, as well as their resilience in coping with ongoing uncertainty.
Added to young people’s CVs or personal statements, it can act as a talking point and help highlight the many skills and useful experiences they’ve gained. We know many young people will want to continue their programme and do their expedition and/or residential when it’s safe and possible to do so. We would absolutely encourage this – they’re hugely valuable experiences that develop vital skills and character.
All young people who receive the Certificate can go on to complete their expedition and/or residential at a later date, and would then achieve their DofE Award.