a picture of two students in a waterfall

All boys in Year 9 have the opportunity to participate in our KES Expeditions Award.

This provides boys with a valuable and challenging outdoor experience at an affordable price. It also acts as good preparation for the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which is a popular option in the Sixth Form.

The KES Expeditions Award scheme links with the extensive programme of co-curricular outdoor activities available at KES, with the aim of stretching boys in Year 9 beyond the basic level achieved during Shell Camps and Rems Week.

As part of the Friday afternoon activities programme, boys take part in a structured series of expedition training sessions on topics including navigation skills, camp craft and emergency procedures. They then go on a practice expedition and overnight camp, which also acts as a ‘two-way’ selection procedure for who will progress to the full expedition.

Boys who carry on to, and successfully complete, the final two-day full expedition are awarded a ‘KES Expeditions Award’.

The Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) programme is an extremely popular co-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.

  • Expedition – this is the most popular section of the Award and consists 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. 

  • Residential – participants must undertake a five-day residential course as an individual. Previous residential activities that boys have chosen include cookery, music and outdoor pursuits.

Internationally recognised

The DofE is internationally recognised and seen as a valuable achievement by both universities and employers. Much of the programme overlaps with the Creativity, Activity 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.

Where next?


Combined Cadet Force


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