Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award
The Gold Duke of Edinburgh's (DofE) programme is an extremely popular extra-curricular activity amongst Sixth Form pupils.
On average a third of boys in Year 12 take part in the Gold DofE programme, which requires a high level of personal commitment and dedication. The Gold DofE takes at least 18 months to complete and participants design their own programmes to reflect their abilities and interests.
The programme consists of five sections: Volunteering, Physical, Skills, Expedition and Residential.
Volunteering, Physical and Skills
These three sections must be carried out on a weekly basis and boys can choose what is of most interest to them for each section. For example, a participant could volunteer at a youth group, play sport on a weekend, and learn a musical instrument.
Expeditions are the most popular section of the Award and consist of three phases: Training, Practice and Assessment.
The four-day Practice Expedition normally takes place in the Brecon Beacons during the Easter holiday. This is followed by the Assessment Expedition, previous locations for which have included the Lake District, North Wales, and the French Pyrenees. Expeditions do not have to be carried out on foot and other transport methods have included bicycles and canoes. The below video gives a flavour of what to expect on an expedition.
Participants must undertake a five-day residential course as an individual. Previous residential activities boys have chosen include cookery, music and outdoor pursuits.
The DofE is internationally recognised and seen as a valuable achievement by both universities and employers. Much of the programme overlaps with the Creativity, Action and Service section of the International Baccalaureate Diploma, and can count towards both Awards.
On successful completion of the Gold DofE, participants are invited to St James's Palace to receive their awards from a member of the Royal Family.