The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is a national scheme for young people between the ages of 14 and 25. The Award has different levels, each made up of four sections: service, physical recreation, skill and expedition; and at the highest level participants also have to complete a residential project. The Scheme demands considerable commitment and determination but many universities and employers recognise the value of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, as it shows the holder has self-discipline, enterprise and perseverance.
The service section gives pupils the chance to make a contribution back to their community, and activities such as fund raising, conservation, working with children and first aid can all count towards the Award. The skills section encourages pupils to try or develop a skill, whether it is cooking, photography, learning a new language, or playing a musical instrument. Physical recreation can include the usual team sports, but also activities such as shooting, kayaking, table tennis and yoga. The key principle in all of these sections is that the pupils are choosing their own activities and participating for a sustained period of time. They are then also required to undertake an expedition in small, independent groups, spending a specified number of hours travelling each day.
At Repton we offer the Silver Award to those in O Block. Wednesday afternoon sessions cover the expedition and service sections of the award; pupils then choose other activities to complete in their own time for the skill and physical recreation sections. There are currently 50 pupils in O Block working towards their Silver Award.
Sixth Formers at Repton can choose to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award at Gold level. Although the expedition training is provided on Wednesday afternoons, much more responsibility is given to the pupils for the completion of the other sections. The Gold Award requires a high degree of commitment and takes at least 18 months to complete. We currently have ten pupils working towards their Gold Award.
Both Gold and Silver level groups go on practice expeditions twice a year - in September and April - and assessed expeditions take place after the end of Summer Term in early July. Silver expeditions involve walking for three days, while the Gold groups walk for four days to meet the requirements of the award; at both levels, participants carry all of their kit and are totally self-sufficient.
More information about the Duke of Edinburgh's Award as a whole can be found at their website (www.dofe.org) or contact Clifford Dammers (email@example.com) for further details about the Award Scheme at Repton.