Duke of Edinburgh Award
DofE was founded in the 50s by the Duke of Edinburgh as a way of encouraging young people to get outdoors, keep healthy and contribute to society. Students can join up in year 9 and there are 4 elements that they need to complete to pass the course:
Pupils must volunteer for 1 hour a week. This could be done within school or with an external organisation. Within school pupils have done litter picking or helped out with a homework club for pupils with special educational needs. Outside of school our students have helped in charity shops, community centres and animal rescue shelters.
Students need to complete 1 hour of physical activity a week. This could be a sport they already do, such as rugby, or trying a new sport for the first time. They can come to an after school club or attend an external organisation. Keeping physically fit is important to general health as well as mental health and starting young will build the foundations for the rest of their life.
For 1 hour a week students will need to improve a skill of their choosing. It could be that they cook you a delicious meal once a week improving on their culinary skills (this option is always very popular with parents). They could continue to improve their skills on a musical instrument they already learn or they could learn a new skill like knitting.
Easily the most enjoyed part of DofE. For either 2 days and 1 night (Bronze level) or 3 days and 2 nights (Silver level), students will walk unaided across our local countryside. They will have to carry all of their food, tents and clothes and navigate their way to a campsite each night. On the practice weekend, our staff will ‘check in’ throughout the day. On the assessed weekend, staff step back and only greet them at the campsite in the evening (so long as they don’t get too lost). Many secondary school are now outsourcing their running of DofE to external companies. This always means the cost increases meaning less and less children participate. Here at Clarendon, we are lucky enough to have a large DofE team who volunteer their weekends to help run the expeditions. This means we can run the programme much cheaper than other school and therefore more children can participate and take advantage of the many and varied benefits DofE brings.
At the moment we are running both Bronze (3 month programme) and Silver (6-month programme) but we are hoping to also offer Gold in the very near future.