The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is offered to pupils studying BTEC Teamwork and Personal Development, starting in Year 10 with the Bronze Award leading up to the Silver Award in Year 11.  Its purpose is to develop self-confidence, self-reliance, team work and leadership skills.

At the Bronze Award level the participants are required to commit to six months’ volunteering, a physical activity and a skill. They are also required to undertake a further three months in one of these activities. In addition they will plan, train and complete a two day, one night expedition.

The Silver Award is offered to the Upper Fifth (Year 11). Participants are also required to commit to six months’ volunteering, physical and skills sections of the award with a three day, two night expedition for which they have planned and trained.

The scheme is led by Cadet Instructor Major Mark Lamb and the success of the Award at the school is down to enthusiasm and motivation of both the pupils and staff who take part and run it each year.

Pupils take up the Bronze Award at the start of Year 10 and complete their expedition between Christmas and end of the academic year.

Another important element of the Award is volunteering whereby students give up their time to help others less fortunate than themselves. They must also develop a Skill (a non-physical hobby) such as Music, and many of the students take music lessons and play in the many music opportunities at the school.  Others draw on the work they have done in their spare time towards putting on school productions or fund raising for one of the school’s chosen charities.

The fourth and final element of the Award is the Physical Activity, which can be a sport or non-competitive activity. The many and varied teams and after clubs at the school can be used for this as well as activities outside of school.

The Award at Gad’s is an important part of personal development and provides sound evidence of perseverance, reliability and team work.  It is invaluable for students when completing their Personal Statements for University places or applying for internships or career opportunities.

At the end of the process, the successful Bronze and Silver candidates are rewarded with a civic presentation of their Award, a day to remember for staff, parents and, of course, the students themselves!