Duke of Edinburgh
"You aspire to great things? Begin with the little ones"
What we do:
At St. Damian’s, the numbers taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme are growing year on year. More readily known as the ‘DofE’, it is a leading youth awards programme that offers a challenging programme of activities which develop the mind, body and soul in an environment of social interaction and team working. It encourages young people to ‘live life as an adventure’.
Since 2018, 117 pupils have worked towards their Bronze award in Year 9 and 87 have worked towards their Silver in Year 10. This year, we have 29 students currently working to achieve Bronze and 35 working towards a Silver award.
At St. Damian’s the DofE is fully inclusive, all pupils regardless of ability, gender or background can take part. Achieving the award is a fantastic experience, as it is not about entering a competition or about being first. It is all about setting personal challenges and pushing personal boundaries. The Award focuses on four key areas at Bronze and Silver level. Challenges involve helping the community/environment, becoming fitter, developing new skills, planning, training for and completing an expedition.
When it takes place
The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme begins in the Autumn term. Pupils select activities for each of the three key areas: voluntary work, something physical and learning a new skill. In the Summer term, pupils will complete the fourth section: planning, training for, and completion of an expedition to achieve the final part of their award.
St. Damian’s pupils have taken part in an impressive range of activities and have had many new, exciting and memorable experiences whilst they work towards the volunteering, physical and skills part of their award. Examples have included:
Learning sign language
Volunteering at local charity shops including Barnardo’s and Willow Wood
Volunteering at local primary schools and cub/ scout groups
Taking part in and helping out at local Parkrun events
Make-up and photography portfolios
Joining school groups such as extra maths and eco-club
Sports and martial arts
Gaming and coding
Expeditions have taken place in areas with stunning natural beauty. Our Bronze expeditions start in Hyde go over to Hayfield, and around the beautiful countryside of Castleton and Edale. The Silver expeditions take place within our local countryside around Tameside and Saddleworth, and also from Buxton around the Peak District ending at Tegg’s Nose Country Park near Macclesfield.
For the Bronze Award, pupils do a two-day, one-night expedition. For the Silver Award, pupils complete an expedition which includes 3 days and 2 nights and 7 hours planned activity each day. The expeditions are both fun and challenging, they take pupils out of their comfort zones and build confidence and friendships as well as create life-long memories.
Benefits of the DofE
The benefits of achieving a DofE Award for pupils are endless. Many St. Damian’s pupils say the experiences are life changing as they have opportunities to develop skills and complete challenges that they have not previously encountered. It is a fantastic way for them to demonstrate and evidence communication, commitment, leadership and teamwork in practice. Achieving an Award gives St. Damian’s pupils ‘an edge’ over others when they apply for college, university or a job. Pupils build high levels of confidence and resilience which boosts their mental health and wellbeing and helps them face and overcome personal challenges.
Further information is available on the Duke of Edinburgh website: www.edofe.org