Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is an international scheme encouraging independence and self-reliance, and is open to young people aged between 14 and 25. The scheme has three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Participants need to complete an expedition, provide a service for the community and learn (or improve on) a skill and a physical activity or sport.
At Withington, the Bronze Award is offered to members of Upper Fourth (Year 9) and the majority of this year group take part. They attend weekly after school sessions throughout the year, where they receive training for the expedition and support with the other sections. Following at least two training walks and a practice expedition during the year, they undertake a qualifying expedition in the Summer Term. Participants are required to navigate using a map and compass, camp overnight and walk 24km over 2 days carrying all their equipment. The girls enjoy the teamwork throughout the year and the physical and mental challenges of the expeditions.
Many girls progress to the Silver Award in the Fifth Form (Years 10 & 11), where they continue the three sections for longer periods and also have to prepare for, and carry out, a 3-day expedition. Participants at Silver and Gold level can take part in a walking expedition or they have the opportunity to arrange their own expedition using another mode of transport (eg horse riding, sailing).
The Gold Award is available to members of the Sixth Form. This involves an even longer stint of each of the three sections, a 4-day expedition and a residential project. It is possible for members of the Sixth Form to enter the Award scheme at Gold level.
Some girls who particularly enjoy the service section of their Award may choose to complete 200 hours of voluntary work over 12 months to qualify as a Millennium Volunteer.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme at Withington relies heavily on – and is most grateful for – the support of enthusiastic parents who checkpoint and assist with walks and expeditions, particularly at Bronze level.
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