The Duke of Edinburgh's Award
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a recognised mark of achievement. Students are encouraged to develop new interests and abilities, have initiative, develop a sense of responsibility and their own self-belief. Through this Award, young people have become fitter, more confident and have experienced improvements in their mental health.
DGGS is currently offering the Bronze and Silver Awards, which each comprise four sections: skills, volunteering, physical and expedition. For skills, some students choose to learn life skills, learn more about a field of interest (such as Criminology), or a more creative route including activities such as knitting and jewellery-making. The skills section encourages students to try something new that they may have initially thought that they didn’t have time for. The physical section allows students to learn the importance of being healthy and fit. As well as becoming fitter, physical activities increase mental stamina which will be useful in completing the Expedition section.
Volunteering allows the students to have a different outlook on life and for them to learn from and give back to their community. The Expedition is the final part of the award and is normally undertaken in the Summer term. In preparation for this, students will take part in training days where they will be taught skills necessary for successful camping. It involves a trek across the English countryside and camping overnight.
We will be enrolling our new cohort of participants at the start of Term 3 and we are currently organising the Expeditions for our previous cohorts, whose Expeditions were delayed due to COVID. There is a large (but not exhaustive) list of suggestions for the various activities that participants can partake in while completing the Award on the DofE website: https://www.dofe.org/do/ideas/.
The programme is tailored to each participant as they select activities that they are interested in, and they will be completing three sections of the Award (outlined earlier) independently before embarking on their Expedition. It is important to remember that a large part of the Award is self-motivation and initiative. DofE Staff Leaders will offer advice and guidance, but completion of the Award is entirely down to the participant.
Overall, opportunities are widened as participants develop skills useful for future employment. The DofE Award demonstrates their long-term dedication, communication skills, leadership and teamwork. Welcome to the DofE Programme!
Social Value Certificate July 2020
As the DofE Programme continues to grow at Dartford Grammar School for Girls, and more participants join every year, it is wonderful to hear about the impact that our young students are having on their local communities. Directly and indirectly, our students are making a difference to so many people. They are taking up opportunities and learning skills that they will carry through life. Here is a summary of their efforts, to put things into perspective. Well done, girls!
Below is a social value certificate for which our school was awarded, which shows the impact our students have made to their local community, whilst working towards their DofE Award.
A student’s account of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award: 2018-19
The Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) was a real experience. I think what made it such an experience was getting through the hard times and alongside that, the good times. You realise that the struggle is somewhat necessary in the practice expedition because it made the qualifier so much easier and smoother overall, as it prepares you for all the possible challenges. Sometimes the only method of resolution was trial and error, which really wasn’t that bad at times even though it was additional walking.
The most challenging aspect was perseverance. You face so many situations and sometimes disappointment from false hope that you need to find something that will motivate you momentarily and long term. One of the things that you learn from DofE is the value and importance of civilisation, family and friends and the role that they play in your life. You really cherish that when they are not there.
Another thing that I feel that I learnt was the value of teamwork. Our teachers were right about the emotional and mental challenge, as well as the physical. This was mainly because of all the ups and downs in situations, both literally and figuratively speaking! That challenge plays a vital and character-building part of the expedition.
The best thing about DofE for me was all the memories that we made with teachers and students alike. There were many crazy moments, which made them all the more memorable. I would certainly recommend DofE for anybody considering it. It is a wonderful experience and now seems like one of the best times to do it especially as you are with your friends.
A special thanks to all the teachers that were on the expeditions with us as you were so supportive and helpful and made it even more enjoyable. Huge congratulations to all the Year 10s that completed DofE in 2018-19. Well Done!
We are looking forward to starting our Bronze DofE programme again this year and are very excited to be introducing the Silver DofE programme for the first time to Year 12 students. It will prove a challenging yet fulfilling experience for all those who take part. Good luck to all during your completion of the award. The DofE team look forward to working with you!"
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Centre Co-ordinator
The Duke of Edinburgh's Expedition Training Day 2019
On 26 January, sixty-five Year 10 DGGS Bronze DofE students were thrilled at the opportunity of coming into school on a Saturday. Armed with pots, pans, food rations and layers of warm clothing, our girls were ready for training day.
Our DofE staff, alongside Ben Bullen’s team, did a fantastic job in teaching and supporting the students with many new skills that they will be using for their practice and qualifying expeditions in May and June. The Expedition section of DofE requires participants to be self-sufficient. This means that alongside a two day 24km trek through the Garden of England (not the whole of it, of course!), whilst carrying a heavy load on their backs and an overnight camp to top it off, our students will need to be knowledgeable in some basic aspects of the great outdoors. This campcraft includes navigation, pitching a tent and cooking a meal on a trangia stove – all of which they had the opportunity to experience on Saturday.
Needless to say, there were some impressive chefs among our students, whose patience was truly tested in the bitter cold outdoors. Who would’ve thought that boiling a pot of cold water on a small kindling flame would take so long? Let’s just say that they will appreciate a kettle much more. That being said, the students learnt that there is nothing more satisfying than tucking into a hot meal after the physical demands of pitching a tent with a missing pole…
This experience gave our girls a realistic taster of what they can expect for their upcoming expedition weekends (except the missing pole!). One thing they will definitely develop more is patience.
After tents and trangias, the girls were given sound advice on what to pack for an overnight camp, and the best types of clothing that would keep them warm on a cold night. I’m sure our parents and guardians will be happy to hear that they can find all this in their very own bedroom wardrobes! So there’s no need to break the bank!
Finally, we rounded off the day with some map reading skills, which will be put to the test on the expedition weekends. With a little more practice in school, the girls will be ready to navigate their way through our Great British cow fields to the comfort of their sleeping bags.
DofE Expedition Training Evening – Monday 26 September
We are very excited to get our DofE Expeditions back up and running again and we had our first training session on Monday with Ben Bullen Adventures, our Expedition provider. The information shared here was very useful for our participants, as they gained a bigger picture of the walks, meals, first aid skills and long days (and a night) they will be experiencing. It is going to be hard work but the rewards and memories gained at the end will stay with them for years to come!
The first set of Bronze Expeditions will be taking place across two weekends in October, where two groups of students will be putting their navigation and camp craft skills to the test! We will be venturing out to Hopehill Campsite for our Practice Expedition and then off to the scenic areas of East Grinstead for our Qualifier Expedition the following weekend.
The participants will be learning basic camp craft skills including cooking on a trangia stove, pitching tents and how to sensibly pack a rucksack for an overnight stay on the campsites. They will also be planning their walking routes to the campsites, which will develop navigation skills, patience, teamwork and resilience (especially after the likelihood of getting lost on route a few times)!
We wish our Bronze Expedition groups all the best of luck on their Expedition and look forward to seeing you at the finish line!
Duke of Edinburgh Co-ordinator
Please click here for more information regarding the Duke of Edinburgh Award