The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is one of the country’s most established initiatives, whose philosophy is all about ‘having a go’. King Edward’s annually runs both the Bronze and Gold Awards with over 60 pupils currently undertaking Bronze and over 30 working towards their Gold.
To take part, pupils are expected to complete activities in the following areas:
- Volunteering - helping people in the community
- Skills – hobbies and interests
- Physical - sport, dance and fitness
- An expedition, for which training is given during the course of each term
Volunteering can be any activity which benefits an individual or the community. In the past, pupils have taught chess at the Junior School, helped at Scouts and Girl Guides, worked with the Environmental Action Group and assisted elderly neighbours. Working as a volunteer in a charity shop is another very popular activity.
For skills, think hobbies; you can learn an instrument, have driving lessons, begin photography – the world is your oyster!
All sporting, fitness or dance activities count towards the award. With so many different clubs and societies available at school, finding a fun activity could not be easier; how about horse riding, boules, dance club, basketball, table tennis, football, badminton, fencing, cross country running or maybe shooting?
One of the biggest challenges of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is the expedition. The length of this increases with the level of the award: for Bronze, 6 hours of hiking a day over two days and for the big one, Gold, 8 hours of hiking a day over four days.
Navigation is one of the vital skills that all Duke of Edinburgh participants must learn and it is really one of the most useful elements of the course, particularly for the expedition.
Practice expeditions are great for getting the hang of the compass work and for getting used to the heavy rucksack, learning how to pitch the tent and cooking a meal on the camping equipment. Having completed the expedition, pupils give a presentation on the aim of the venture, which helps them to evaluate the experience and share it with everyone.
For the Gold Award, pupils must also spend five days and four nights on a residential activity. The activity can build on an existing skill, for example a course to improve keyboard skills orit can be something completely different, like learning a new language or volunteering with a children’s holiday camp.
I learnt so many valuable new skills and it encouraged me to try new things.'
Jasmine, Year 9