The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme (DofE)

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a voluntary, non-competitive programme of practical, cultural and adventurous activities, designed to support the personal development of young people aged 14 – 25. It offers an individual challenge and encourages young people to undertake exciting, constructive, challenging and enjoyable activities in their free time.

Participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s award enables students develop communication skills, problem-solving abilities and proves they have dedication and perseverance. It also proves they can be responsible and work as a team to attain a predetermined goal. These are valuable qualities when looking to enter into higher education and employment.

Three progressive levels:

  • Bronze (Year 10)
  • Silver (End of Year 10 and Year 11) and
  • Gold (Years 12 & 13)

What does a D of E programme consist of?

  • Volunteering (helping other people in the local community)
  • Skills (covering almost any hobby, skill or interest)
  • Physical (sport, dance and fitness)
  • Expedition (training for, planning and completing a journey on foot)
  • Residential (Gold only – 5 day residential taking part in an activity, course or service)

Aim of the Volunteering section
To encourage service to individuals and to the community.
The Principles
You should identify the voluntary service required, gain some knowledge of the needs of those whom you are assisting and then receive briefing and training in the skills required to give that service. The value of participation in the Volunteering section comes from training, giving practical service and appreciating the needs of the community.

Aim of the Skills section
To encourage the discovery and development of practical and social skills and personal interests.
The Principles
This section should encourage you to pursue activities within a wide range of practical, cultural and social environments. The skill may be an existing interest or something entirely new.

Aim of the Physical section
To encourage participation and improvement in physical activity.
The Principles
This section offers a wide range of programmes in the belief that:

  • Involvement in some form of enjoyable physical activity is essential for physical well-being.
  • A lasting sense of achievement and satisfaction is derived from meeting a physical challenge.
  • Sports are enjoyable and can lead to the establishment of a lasting active lifestyle.

Aim of the Expedition section
To encourage a spirit of adventure and discovery.
The Principles
All ventures involve self-reliant journeying in the countryside, conceived with a purpose and undertaken without motorised assistance. The venture must present you with a challenge in terms of purpose, planning and achievement with minimum external intervention.

Aim of the Residential section (Gold only)
To encourage spending time away from home on a shared activity with people never met before.
The Principles
To build on a talent developed in another section, learn something completely new on an intensive course or do something to help others.

Over a number of years the school has developed a strong team of expert staff and volunteers who lead the activities and expeditions. Most of which are ex-students themselves that realise the value of outdoor learning experiences. Currently we have approximately 480 students involved at various levels of the Award.

If you need help or any further information, feel free to contact the Outdoor Learning Team or visit the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award web site –

The Duke of Edinburgh’s award requires commitment and effort on your part.
The awards are not automatic; they have to be earned by hard work!

Bronze DofE
This first level of the Award introduces participants to the benefits of giving service to the community, healthy living and pastimes as well as a 2 day expedition.

As part of a 2 year transition we are moving Bronze into Year 9. Potential participants will be recruited at the end of Year 8 and they will then have until the Christmas holidays of their Year 9 to submit evidence that they have completed the Volunteering section (roughly an hour a week for 3 months). Those that have completed will be invited to join the Bronze level,

We provide training for the expedition section and have 2 day practice and assessment expeditions run in the Summer term. The practice expedition currently takes place in the St Eval area, the assessment in the Padstow area.

For the expedition assessment, groups will be appraised by external DofE assessors and will show that they can self-sufficiently look after themselves in all aspects of safety, campcraft and navigation.

This next and important step on the DofE ladder requires the same sections as Bronze but with increased commitment of 6 months for 2 sections, 3 months for 1 section if you’ve done Bronze. The expedition is over 3 days, 2 nights with a practice on Bodmin Moor and the assessments in West Penwith. Due to the heavy commitments of Year 11 we currently deliver the entire expedition section over October half-term. This relieves pressure on students later in the year but requires an excellent level of commitment to achieve. As part of our year group transition after 2017, Silver will be run in the summer term with Year 10.

The pinnacle of DofE achievement this internationally acclaimed Award is a powerful addition to a CV and provides memories to last a lifetime. It requires a lot of commitment sections taking 12-18months to complete, an additional 5 day Residential section and an expedition lasting 4 days, 3 nights. We proudly offer two ways to carry out a Gold expedition. Solid Gold by foot, on Dartmoor and in the Lake District and Liquid Gold by canoe, on Cornish rivers and the River Wye.