Now in its twelfth successful year, the Duke of Edinburgh Award at school has gone from strength to strength, now catering for around 100 students a year completing all three levels from Bronze to Gold.
We are proud of being the only school in the area that provides their expeditions internally, up to Gold level, and our staff are passionate about the outdoors and enjoy seeing students being pushed to their limits in unfamiliar environments. The expedition section sees students at Gold level navigate 50 miles of wild country over 4 days, carrying everything they need and cooking their own food. When the sun is shining spirits can often be high but lower the mist and add some rain (or sometimes hail) to the mix and students have to pool their resources and skills to manage their team and focus on navigation. It is special to see the highs and lows and to support students through their tears. To hear that huge sigh of relief before the elation hits as they cross that line and can dump their heavy bags to collapse on the ground finally finished can be very memorable for all. Last year alone students would have walked a combined 4480km and that’s before you consider all the extra mileage spent on the interesting detours some groups take! This distance could get us to Nigeria!
Alongside the expedition section students also volunteer for an hour a week and have undertaken a range of activities including fundraising, working with elderly people, volunteering in charity shops or local Brownie groups. Students can decide to do this for 3, 6 or 12 months which means this is a minimum of 1344 hours which at the minimum wage of £4 an hour this has contributed £5,376 of labour to our local community.
We are proud to have seen over 30 students attend St James Palace and meet the Duke of Edinburgh himself to collect their Gold Awards which are incredibly prestigious.
This huge success and high participation rates comes with high usage of our expedition kit and we are extremely thankful to have received support from local business man Andy Jones. Our tents, now over 7 years old with brittle poles, struggled in the recent gale force winds down on Dartmoor and we are looking forward to having slightly less grass sprinkled pasta with our much safer stoves which are lower to the ground and far less precarious!