In October 2020, eighteen Year 12 students were enrolled to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award programme. On Wednesday 30 March 2022, we had the pleasure of presenting Award certificates and badges to every single one of them! We were very grateful to have our Chair Of Governors, Dave Roberts, CBE in attendance to present the awards and we also welcomed Edward Gaskin, the DofE Operations Officer for Kent who gave a heartening brief on the DofE award.
Over the past year, all students undertook a combination of three, six and twelve months to complete their Volunteering, Skills and Physical sections of the Award. This required a regular weekly commitment to a chosen activity-many often choose to do cookery and made this an opportunity to improve their culinary skills which will stand them well once they are living independently. It was lovely to see the students making the most of their local area to get out running or cycling or use some peaceful mind-enhancing and body strengthening activities such as yoga in various forms. Our community is also a much tidier place thanks to all the litter collections carried out by so many of the young people.
Students undertook training in campcraft, map reading, meal planning, route planning and first aid over a number of weeks both online (due to Covid restrictions) and after school in terms two and three 2021 following our second major lockdown.
On 1 and 2 May 2021, we held our practice expedition in the Beltinge, Minster area and this was followed only two weeks later with a qualifying expedition in the Ash, Birchington, Chislet area from 20 to 22 May 2021. We are only too sorry that we were unable to actually camp due to Covid-19 restrictions but nevertheless, participants carried their tents, rucksacks, Trangia cookware, food and other necessities on their hikes for the practice and assessed expeditions and they demonstrated their campcraft skills setting up tents, cooking for themselves outdoors and safely navigating their routes as a team, whilst encouraging and helping each other and they managed to keep their spirits up despite some challenging weather conditions.
Their morale and attitude stayed positive throughout and it was a pleasure to see them progress.
Achieving a Duke of Edinburgh Award will give these young people skills, confidence and an edge over others when they apply for college, university or a job. Beyond academic achievements, universities want to see evidence of so called ‘soft skills’ that our students have developed through extra-curricular activities, such as communication, commitment, leadership and teamwork. The DofE Award is a fantastic way to demonstrate and evidence these skills in practice.
I am certain that our participants have made a difference to other people’s lives and their community, are fitter and healthier, made new friends and have memories to last them a lifetime!
Congratulations from The DofE Team at Dane Court Grammar School!
George Kazi - Student and DofE Ambassador at Dane Court - writes about his experience here.