A programme that links map reading and music, service and science learning inspired forty five of our students to success this term. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award returned in all its glory, offering the young people an unforgettable experience.
To achieve the award students complete three components; demonstrating a skill that they either have learned before or are taking on for the first time, completing a project where they volunteer their time to help in a wide range of settings, and the expedition, an extended walk involving camping skills, map reading, leadership and teamwork.
So what have our students got up to this year? Amongst the skills that students took up or took forward were learning to play a new musical instrument, getting creative in art and dance, learning to cook and improving knowledge in science. The choice is as wide as students’ imagination and the work so far has seen some excellent work done.
In the same way volunteering brought opportunities wherever the students could find them – in Mahdlo, mosques and charity shops, coaching football and boxing, working with environmental charities, uniformed organisations and even in school creating display materials.
Students also take on activity to improve their fitness. At the Radclyffe School the students, all in Year 10 undertake the Bronze award. Often at sixth form and other places they have the chance to achieve the Silver and Gold awards too. For these three components, two are completed over three months and one over six months – it is a substantial commitment in time and discipline.
The undoubted highlight of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is the expedition. While students gain skills of map reading and navigation, perhaps more important are the challenges of leadership, self-reliance and teamwork that are required. Earlier this term the group headed into Saddleworth for their practice walk, a one-day expedition walking around 10 km. For some students this was their first experience of walking in the countryside – valuable experience of stepping outside their comfort zones.
The activities that students undertake are accompanied by practical sessions in school over several months where crucial skills are developed. As the young people approach the end of the award, they will learn more about camping craft to prepare for the final expedition. Travelling to Waddow Hall in Lancashire they will walk 23 km over two days, pitch their own tents and cook their own meals.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Co-ordinator this year has been Mr Torr. He said, “The experiences involved in the award are new to many of our students, and they have all risen to the challenge well. I would also wish to thank all of the staff who have ably supported the students throughout their efforts.”