The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme was launched at Guiseley School in 2016. We have gone from strength to strength and now have approximately 50 Year 9 students completing the Bronze award each year. The DofE is the world’s leading youth achievement award, giving young people the opportunity to be the very best they can be by developing the skills and attitudes they need to become more rounded, confident adults. Qualities that colleges, universities and employers are attracted to.
The award requires those taking part to complete four sections:
- Skill (learning a skill at least once a week)
- Physical (participating in physical activity at least once a week)
- Volunteering (being involved in an activity that benefits others once a week)
These sections are completed in time periods of between three and twelve months depending on the award. Students are encouraged to use activities which they enjoy and find a challenge. These may include activities which they are already participate in, or they may use it as an opportunity to develop new skills and hobbies. The most popular skills that students learn are cooking and baking. However, arts and photography and learning languages such as sign language are also popular. Physical sections have included activities such as walking, climbing, kayaking, trampolining and team sports. Students have found a wide range of volunteering opportunities including volunteering with sports teams, working with the John Muir Trust and Riding for the disabled. Litter picking in the local community is also a very popular volunteering activity for participants.
This year we expect to have the welcome return of the expedition element of the scheme. Guiseley School is in the ideal location for the Duke of Edinburgh expeditions as we have a lot of available locations within easy access. The Bronze Expedition starts at Bolton Abbey and finishes back at school. All training is available within school and we have a large number of tents, stoves and other expedition equipment which is available to use.
Students develop a range of skills whilst completing their award including their self-confidence, initiative, a sense of responsibility, a greater awareness of their strengths, the ability to plan and use time effectively, the ability to learn from and give back to others in the community, problem-solving, presentation and communication skills and leadership and team working skills. A DofE programme demands persistence and commitment and cannot be completed with a short burst of enthusiasm. We hope that the students will find participation enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding.