The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme has been going since 1956 Nationally and for 20 years at St. Olave's. In that time a huge number of students have benefited from participating in the award. This last year has been no exception with around 170 students signing up across all 3 awards with the school running 8 expeditions throughout the year to ensure all students have an opportunity participate
The year started off with the Bronze assessed 2 from year 11 walking 30 plus kilometres over 2 days finishing at school. October brings the Bronze practice 1 with Year 10 walking out from school with staff at the end of the school day. This is somewhat a baptism of fire as the later stages of the first nights expedition are completed at night so new skills are quickly honed under torch light. The second day brings them back to school under their own steam and all self navigated.
Half term is when the Silver assessed is completed. This is a 3 day expedition often walking in excess of 75 kilometres. This year the students walked from Sevenoaks down to Tunbridge wells on a route designed to stretch their navigational skills and their physical endurance. Always a tough 3 days walking through the magnificent Kent and Sussex country side
The Dofe Expedition season restarts at Easter with the Gold practice in the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons. This was an extremely wet 4 days, testing the teams thoroughly both with their camp craft, which is always tough in the rain, but also the navigational challenges and the mountains creating a variety of different eco systems which are very testing.
Bronze assessed 1 swiftly follows with the students meeting early one bright sunny morning in a Kent town before walking through to camp and then on to school the next day. This is an opportunity for the Bronze group to do an expedition without any help and guidance, using their training to the full. Bronze practice 2 takes place in May with the students replicating the BP1 groups. The only difference is the amount of day light available and camping in a huge walled garden.
The end of GCSE’s see’s our Silver groups out on their practice expedition. This is always a warm affair with long days allowing the teams to enjoy the North Downs and beyond. However, to add variety, we start late afternoon walking to Kemsing so adding an element of a night hike. Teams then walk on to Biggin Hill, camping out in before heading back to school the following day.
The Dofe year finishes with the Gold assessed in Snowdonia with 4 days crisscrossing North Wales finishing their last day by walking up Snowdon passing the Gladstone Rock. As always the teams wild camp on this expedition ensuring they get the full experience.
This year we have had over 180 students across all 3 awards participate in the expeditions successfully. This would not be possible without a dedicated team of staff who help either on expedition or in the back ground, ensuring that we can offer the Duke Of Edinburgh award to all students.
A flavour of their expeditions can be seen below