15 September 2021
Dr Jess Dixon, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Manager
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme challenges and stretches students to develop their confidence, resilience, organisation and teamwork skills and it was excellent to see so many groups back out in the countryside, completing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions in summer 2021.
Following Year 9 students completing their Bronze practice and qualifying expeditions in quick succession in May and June in the beautiful countryside surrounding Woldingham, in July it was the turn of Year 10 students to undertake their Silver qualifying expedition. For this they headed to the South Downs in Sussex. “The location was beautiful and it was so much fun to cook and camp with friends. There were definitely some low moments but that made it all the more satisfying when you finished in the end!” Claudia (Year 11).
Lower Sixth students at Gold level ventured further afield for a training expedition in the Black Mountains in Wales. Despite blisters and occasional wet weather, they finished with smiles on their faces and a true sense of achievement, as Sasha explains below. They are now looking forward to completing their qualifying expedition in October half term.
Sasha Upper Sixth
Our practice expedition for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award was a tumultuous yet rewarding experience that I would encourage every student to pursue. Because the expedition is four days and three nights, buying food and supplies that are convenient and sufficient is crucial to have the least uncomfortable experience. I made the mistake of not bringing enough snacks for each day and ended up having to scrounge food! Through situations like these, you can strengthen your teamwork and problem-solving skills. Knowing how to put up a tent is also essential. My friend and I learned the hard way when we were woken up by our tent collapsing in the middle of the night. However (and I think my group will agree with me), the most fundamental component of a successful DofE experience is planning. We made the mistake of completely ignoring the contour lines on the map when we were preparing our route, and subsequently got lost on two occasions. This taught us always to be prepared and to plan for any future obstacles and surprises. Overall, the Gold DofE Award has been demanding yet exciting because it has taught me things that I wouldn’t have discovered anywhere else. I definitely recommend it to anybody who is up for an exciting challenge.
Students in Years 9, 10 and Lower Sixth are encouraged to sign up this year and experience the benefits of taking part themselves. The following staff members are happy to answer any enquiries from parents or students:
Dr Dixon – DofE Manager with oversight of the whole programme
Mrs Wiseman – Gold Award (Lower Sixth)
Mrs Lane – Silver Award (Year 10)