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Adventures with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme

Adventures with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme

During the academic year 2018-2019 there were eight Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions.

Going for Bronze

For the first time Bronze was available as an extra-curricular option and proved to be very popular with the vast majority of our Year 9 group opting to do the award.

Our Bronze Award expeditions took place in Suffolk in April and Essex in June. We were treated to some extremes of weather that tested the girls’ resilience and teamwork!

On the practice expedition we had strong wind and rain. Then during the assessed expedition we were challenged by very hot weather. However, Year 9 did very well to develop the skills they needed to achieve their expedition. 

Going for Silver and Gold

We ran two different Silver groups last academic year – our first ever Year 10 Silver group and our final Year 11 Silver group.

Our Year 11 girls successfully completed their practice expeditions in October in the Yorkshire Dales, and then had their assessed expedition in the Peak District during the Easter holidays, starting at Edale and finishing at Bakewell.

For Year 10, we practiced in the same area in the Peak District, whilst the Year 11 did their assessment and our Gold group was also doing their practice weekend with support from the Exploration Society.

This meant that a total of 80 girls and 14 staff were involved in that trip – our biggest ever expedition!

Our acclimatisation walk was an interesting experience – it began in blazing sun, turned to drizzle as we reached the top of the hills, and briefly became horizontal hail before brightening up again!

Conditions were tough on the first day of the expedition too, with huge amounts of rain. Year 11 with their greater experience coped well, but it was a steep learning curve for our Year 10 girls.

However, the weather improved dramatically the next day and we enjoyed our stay at Stocking Farm. Year 11 girls sailed through their assessment and Year 10 managed to keep going, despite the difficult conditions and learned a great deal about the importance of planning and taking care of equipment. 

Year 10 completed their Silver assessment in June in the Yorkshire Dales. We enjoyed our stay in Semer Water, although Miss Spore and Mrs Norman did have to do a bit of shepherding to clear the field of sheep before the tents went up.

The final expedition of last academic year was in the Lake District. Thanks go to Mr Mallabone and Miss Spore who supervised a small but determined group of Year 12, in completing their expedition well, showing excellent team work. 

Year 10 and 12 head to the Peak District

In October 2019, 32 Year 10 girls and seven Year 12 girls went on an expedition to the Peak District. Year 12 headed into the Dark Peak area with their trainers. Very wet weather on the first full day made one ascent feel rather like they were climbing a waterfall!

Year 10 went into the While Peak area from Edale. Initially they had wet weather, then the sun came out. They coped very well with their practice expedition and were all set to do their assessed at Easter when Covid-19 stopped our plans.

Despite Covid-19 halting our expeditions, many girls have managed to get their Skill, Physical and Volunteering sections written up during this time. Our D of E ambassadors for the coming academic year will be Eloise Q. and Lizzie W. who are currently in Year 11.

A big thank you

As ever, my thanks go to the many staff and volunteers who make our expeditions possible: Miss Spore, Mrs Shercliff, Miss Handley, Miss Dutton, Mr Mallabone, Mr Edwards, Mrs Wilson, Miss Earley, Mr Bertram and Mrs Susie Hutchison.

We are also grateful for support from external helpers and volunteers who offered their skills and experience: Dr Shercliff, Miss Dickson, Mr Atkinson, Mrs Brown and Mr Pollock. For the first time we had Year 12 Duke of Edinburgh ambassadors who helped to train the younger girls and promote the award – Hannah T. and Olivia R., who did a great job. 

Completing the Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is about more than the expeditions, as it is also about service. The girls who go on to achieve their award will also have completed many hours of community service, worked on a skill and completed a physical activity, all of which is then verified by Mrs Dix, our award verifier. These activities allow the girls to explore something they are interested in and to give back to the community, either in school or in the wider community.

Duke of Edinburgh's Award at St Mary's

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