We have a long and successful history of students signing up to and completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at Quest and this year saw our largest cohort of students getting involved! Year 9 students were invited to participate in the Bronze Award and years 10 and 11 the Silver Award.

The D of E Award is an internationally recognised award which encourages students to develop skills beyond those they develop in the classroom, including teamwork, problem-solving, time management and resilience as they work through the four sections:

  • Physical (developing their aptitude in an individual or team sport)
  • Skills (developing a new or existing skill)
  • Volunteering (being productive members of their community)
  • Expedition (navigating their way through the countryside and camping for either 1 or 2 nights)

In their enrichment sessions over the year, students have been learning skills for the Expedition section. Sessions have been based around map reading and navigation, compass skills, first aid, how to put up a tent, cook on a Trangia and how to pack a rucksack. Students have done incredibly well, and this term marked the time for them to put their skills to the test in their practice and real expeditions.

Practice expeditions took place in late June around Downe where students navigated the area, getting lost and finding themselves again and learning the importance of packing lightly when you are carrying all of your belongings on your back the entire day!

Downe provides an excellent place for us to do the practice as it gave students experience of walking up and down hills and through a variety of different places. A highlight of the Silver practice expedition was making hot chocolate on a real campfire! The students did incredibly well on the practice expedition and learnt a lot in terms of what they would do differently on the real expedition.

Last week 90 students travelled to the New Forest to complete their real expedition where the students were assessed against the 20 conditions of the expedition section. The students excelled themselves and were a huge credit to the Academy.

Students spent their days navigating very different terrain than Downe and getting friendly with the local horses, donkeys and cows! Some students decided to ‘embrace’ the natural terrain by walking through bogs, rivers and lots of mud, but kept their spirits up and managed to find their way back to camp each day! Meals cooked this time by the students were of much better quality and rivalled the staff’s dinner. Setting up camp was a much smoother process which of course meant lots more time for volleyball and football before bed!

Despite the very hot weather, our students were the best versions of themselves during the real expedition and it is with great pleasure and much pride that I can say all of those on the real expeditions passed this section of the Award with flying colours! All students need to do now is complete their remaining sections and we can begin handing out awards!

Thank you to all the staff and students for making these expeditions a pleasurable and successful experience. Well done to those who passed; you were brilliant. If you’d like to find out more, please speak to the students or come and find me!

Miss E Thomas