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DofE Award scheme is a wonderful legacy

Fri, Apr 16th, 2021
Worth School

Worth School is extremely proud of its long association as a Licensed Centre with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Doing the DofE Award is an experience that should be available to all young people and when Kurt Hahn charged his protégé HRH Prince Philip with just such a challenge this was its mission. The youth achievement award was conceived and established by Prince Philip in the United Kingdom in 1956 and now operates worldwide in more than 140 countries. The programme aims to inspire and transform the lives of young people aged 14 to 25 through volunteering, skill, physical activities and expeditions and each year at Worth we are proud to see many of our pupils proudly achieve and receive their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

The Volunteering section resonates strongly with our School’s mission and ethos and is therefore an important part of the Award for us at Worth. Time, work and school commitments all impinge on our ability to dedicate a portion of our day to helping others. Consequently, this section of the DofE Award aims to ensure and facilitate those opportunities. Our pupils can choose an area of society that interests them, whether that be the local environment, vulnerable people or animals in need of care, or raising funds for a much-valued local resource. It is arguably this section of the award that has the greatest positive impact on our pupils.

Of course, the Expedition section is what most people think of when asked about the DofE and it is naturally this that our pupils remember as the highlight of their award, for many different reasons. I have taken many young people through their DofE Award most of whom operating well outside of their comfort zones. Very few of them know how to navigate, cook outdoors, perform emergency first aid or know what to do in the event of an emergency and all of this possibly in foul weather. But something magical happens over the weeks and months leading up to and during their final qualifying expedition. They build skills, friendships, interdependence, and resilience. They develop a ‘never give up’ attitude and support each other when the wind picks up and the tiredness kicks in. They stay calm when things go wrong, stop what they are doing, assess the situation and make informed decisions. And what’s the point? Well, these young pathfinders are forming a skillset and a resilience that cannot be bought and employers from every industry up and down the land crave for this from their employees. From real-life situations and experiences that they will be able to talk about at interviews, to the memories, laughter and friendships that are formed, there really is nothing like it.

It is not an exaggeration to state that the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award changes young people's lives. It provides innumerable benefits, skills, confidence, builds self-esteem and many other important qualities, but most importantly it sets our young people on a path for life. The Award has grown and the demand for the DofE at Worth and worldwide is today stronger than ever. The Duke of Edinburgh’s legacy will live long in the memories of everyone involved in his award and we are indeed indebted to him for his visionary foresight which has provided our young people with such wonderful opportunities.

Mr Julian Williams, Assistant Head (Co-Curricular)

*Pictured are some of our Year 12 students on their recent Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold Practice Expedition.

For more information on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at Worth click here.