Further to our story earlier this month about the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Mr Harpin sent us a fuller account of what has been happening with some of our students during lockdown:
After receiving our Duke of Edinburgh licence in March, we have launched the Bronze Award with Year 9. The award is a superb opportunity for the students to develop a new skill, improve on something physical, give back to the community through volunteering and complete a two-day expedition. University admissions tutors and employers alike welcome applicants having completed the scheme, as it shows that young people have had to show initiative, creativity and leadership in completing the four different skill areas for their award.
Unfortunately, lockdown, as with everything, somewhat complicated how we had initially planned to proceed with the award. This being said, we are delighted that we have managed to get 41 Year 9s signed up and working towards completing their D of E bronze award. Whereas ordinarily we would have been able to work with students in school in lunchtime or after school sessions, we have had to adapt to using Microsoft Teams to manage our participants and ensure that they are making progress with their award.
COVID restrictions have obviously made it difficult for our participants to find tasks to complete for their award. Sports teams have not been training and playing together, volunteering is obviously a lot more difficult, to name but two examples of how creative our students have had to be. In spite of all of this, we have been blown away by how lucrative our participants have been in coming up with ideas for their physical, skill and volunteering sections, which are both appropriately challenging and allow them to develop.
For example, George Earl in Year 9 for his volunteering section has been rearing five baby ducks at a local care home. Max Collins has raised over £600 for a charity through making music on his Youtube channel. For her skill section, Katie Garwood has successfully learned to make a range of tye die clothing – they look fab! Elsewhere, as lockdown is beginning to ease, we are thrilled that students are able to get back into their former sports teams to start working on their physical element: so far we have rowing, archery, golf, cricket, fitness, running, weight training, cycling, basketball amongst other sports that our participants are doing to complete this section.
We are very proud of our participants for their work thus far. Our plan as a D of E centre in school is not just to run bronze award, but to eventually run Bronze, Silver & Gold. We look forward to 4 years down the line when we hope our current Bronze Year 9 participants will be completing their Gold Award.