The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award, bringing together practical experiences and life skills to equip young people for life.
We are very proud to offer the prestigious International Award (better known as the Duke of Edinburgh award in the UK) to all of our students in Year 10 to Year 13. It is an award that is closely aligned with our core values of Aspiration, Gratitude, Integrity, Resilience and Respect.
For many students, the highlight of each stage of the award is the expedition where the students must refine their camping skills and cooperate to navigate unforgiving terrain and expand their horizons. The expeditions are rewarding and challenging in equal measure. Independence and commitment are also paramount and cannot be underestimated in terms of successfully completing a stage of the award. Each student sets their own goals and records their own progress. The only person they compete against is themselves, by challenging their own beliefs about what they can achieve. Alongside the ‘trip’ students must also refine a skill, initiate and sustain an act of service and exert themselves in a physical discipline. The entire process is reflective and teaches our students to refine their skills and equips them with lifelong learning.
The further benefits we have seen for our students ensures that the programme is given the platform it deserves and what makes it popular year after year. Those that take part develop further self-confidence and a self-motivating attitude that transcends into the classroom. They also hone their skills of research, problem solving and presentation which can be applied to almost any situation. For our KS5 students’, having an International Award on their UCAS application or CV proves their willingness to try new things; their self-motivating attitude and their connection to broader society. These are all held in high esteem by potential Universities or employers.
What is involved in the DofE?
The English College start training sessions in year 10 for the Bronze Award, year 11 for the Silver Award and year 12 & 13 for the Gold Award. Students must complete a physical activity, skill and voluntary service with a minimum of a 1-hour commitment for each activity per week. On top of that, students are then expected to undertake a practice adventurous journey and qualifying adventurous journey.
The Award is a huge step towards the students becoming independent, working on their team working, leadership and communication skills. This allows the students to develop their confidence, intra-personal and interpersonal skills which translates into the classroom. Moreover, it also allows the student to expand their CV and university applications when they are able to discuss the skills they have gained relating to the International Award. Below are the time requirements for the activities and adventurous journeys for each stage of the International Award.
Three required components
Service (volunteering): undertaking a voluntary service to individuals or the community.
Service allows the students to think more about other people and empathise with situations they may have not experienced before. Students may also improve their tolerance or develop compassion towards others.
Physical: improving in an area of sport, dance or fitness activities.
A physical skill is designed to encourage healthy behaviours, no matter what level they are currently at in a particular sport. It is perfectly fine to take up a new sport or activity. This section tries to improve the health, potentially team working skills, confidence and self-awareness. This is very important in the preparation of the adventurous journey where they will be physically challenged.
Skills: developing practical, musical, social skills and personal interests.
Students can improve an existing skill or learn a new skill. Learning a new language, musical instrument, research the history regarding an ancient civilisation are all great examples of a skill students can learn. Students will be able to improve their time management and self-motivation.
The Adventurous Journey
Adventurous journey: planning, training for and completion of an adventurous journey.
For many students, the highlight of The Award is undertaking the adventurous journey. It is a huge learning experience, having to cook for themselves, work together navigating unknown areas or figuring out how to set up a tent! On top of that, they need to do this using only a map and a compass. They are not allowed to have electronic devices during the expedition. Moreover, if the students get lost, they need to work together to figure out where they are and what their next steps should be. We have safeguards in place to help locate them, for example GPS trackers, drones and 4x4s and we are well equipped to deal with any medical issues.
For students to undertake the adventurous journey, they must be fully trained for their expeditions. Therefore, it is mandatory for all students to attend ALL training sessions. Students must show commitment towards the Award and be proactive. It is their Award and their responsibility to ensure they understand what is required of them.
Bronze: 3 months for each activity & an additional 3 months for one of the chosen activities. The duration of the adventurous journey is 2 days, 1 night with a minimum journeying time of 6 hours.
Silver: 6 months for each activity. If the previous Award has not been obtained, students must carry out a further 6 months in a chosen activity. The duration of the adventurous journey is 3 days, 2 nights with a minimum journeying time of 7 hours.
Gold: 12 months for each activity. If the previous Award has not been obtained, students must carry out a further 6 months in a chosen activity. The duration of the adventurous journey is 4 days, 3 nights with a minimum journeying time of 8 hours.
Meet your DofE Coordinator
DofE Coordinator and Teacher of Chemistry