Seniors from Gad’s Hill School have successfully completed a weekend expedition as part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Silver and Bronze Awards.
The 26-strong cohort of 14-16 years-olds was supervised by staff mentors during the excursion, which was based in the school grounds.
Read DofE Manager, Mrs Charlotte Jago’s report:
“The silver group arrived in school on Friday, and, following a day in lessons met Mr Lavery at 4pm to have their kit checked. At the same time the Bronze group were having their final training session ahead of their expedition the following day with Mrs Jago.
There were two silver groups – totalling 10 – all undertaking their silver practice expedition. They had been attending training each week since returning to school and had a short local walk on the Friday evening under remote supervision to ensure they were able to navigate successfully. Both groups were competent, and upon returning to school they pitched their (individual) tents and cooked their dinner.
On Saturday morning, the silver groups made themselves breakfast and then headed out to the Bluebell hill area with Mr Lavery in the minibus. They had previously planned their routes for the entire weekend so were aware of the route already. Meanwhile the three Bronze groups (total 16) were being dropped off at school to meet Mrs Godding, Mr Gorman and Mrs Jago; this was their qualifying expedition. After a kit check by the assessors (Mrs Godding and Mr Gorman) the groups started on their way. Again, they had planned their routes previously. Each group was initially with a member of staff so that their ability to navigate was checked before letting them out completely on their own. As with all expeditions there are some groups that needed a bit of extra help on the first day, however they then had some more map reading lessons on their return to school and were all keen to improve the following day.
The third day for the silver groups (Sunday) was another bus ride to Bluebell hill after breakfast and the reverse of the route they had completed the day before. I am delighted to say that all pupils showed a great deal of determination and all completed the practice expedition.
The Sunday morning for the Bronze group meant cooking breakfast and heading out on their routes for the second day. Following the guidance from the leaders, all Bronze groups completed the second day.
We are lucky enough to be able to provide a tent per pupil, camp at school and have separate toilet facilities for each ‘bubble’ to use.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s programme is completed by 14-24 year-olds around the UK at one of three progressive levels which, when successfully completed, leads to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.
There are four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver level and five at Gold. They involve helping the community/environment, becoming fitter, developing new skills, planning, training for and completing an expedition and, for Gold only, working with a team on a residential activity.
Any young person can do their DofE – regardless of ability, gender, background or location. Achieving an Award isn’t a competition or about being first. It’s all about setting personal challenges and pushing personal boundaries.
Through a DofE programme young people have fun, make friends, improve their self-esteem and build confidence. They gain essential skills and attributes for work and life such as resilience, problem-solving, team-working, communication and drive, enhancing CVs and university and job applications. Top employers recognise the work-ready skills Award holders bring to their business.