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Duke of Edinburgh 2021 - Lasting Memories

As Duke of Edinburgh Manager here at St Clement Danes School, I feel privileged to be part of such a wonderful programme. The Award has had much publicity since the passing of HRH Prince Phillip. The award at St Clement Danes has gone from strength to strength with now over 700 students who have completed their Bronze Award, 97 Silvers, 24 Gold with many more awaiting to finish this year, delayed by covid. 

Students who took on their award last year and the year before are still working on completing them. Many have already achieved their Certificate of Achievement, completing their Volunteering, Physical and Skill sections for Bronze, Silver and Gold and are awaiting for expeditions to get back into full swing. This year has seen 1651 hours dedicated to Volunteering which has a social impact value of £7512.05 and an impressive amount considering lockdowns and covid restrictions that have been in place.

Despite the difficult year we have managed to run a Bronze qualifying session for 87 Year 10 students and 57 of them went onto do their Silver qualifying four weeks later. Both were challenging weather conditions suffering from yellow weather warnings for wind and rain on their practice and flash floods and lightning on their qualifying. They are now completing the expedition presentations which for many will see the completion of their award. 19 Year 11’s have also now completed both practice and qualifying Silver expeditions benefitting from some good weather on their qualifying in Derbyshire. 30 Year 12 and six 13 Gold’s took on the gruelling challenge of training, practice and qualifying expeditions, back to back over a 9 day period, with just one day rest in a hostel to repack and start again it was a true challenge. Each student completed at least 140km, (some many more due to slight navigational errors). 4 of the Year 13s completed their Gold Award and are just putting the finishing touches to their expedition presentation before their Awards can be sent off to Windsor for approval. 

Sadly we had to cancel the current Year 9 training day due to covid cases and staffing, they will be offered an opportunity next year to get it completed. The Year 8 were treated to an activity day to introduce them to the award and they can then start their challenge this summer.

A big shout out to all the staff and parent volunteers who help run the Duke of Edinburgh Award at St Clement Danes without you the students wouldn't have been able to complete their Awards. 

The Award not only instils in students perseverance, determination, resilience and confidence but truly gives them an opportunity to find out who they really are. 

Here are some memories of past and present students of their award along with a photo gallery of some of the expeditions run this year.

 

After just moving to St Clement Danes for sixth form I was so grateful to have the opportunity to make lifelong friends on my Gold DofE expedition. I will always remember trekking over the Brecon Beacons, playing cards in the camp and the support and encouragement of my other team members (especially when I sprained my ankle on the first day!) Aside from the expedition, DofE encouraged me to embark on a residential stay in Canada the summer after my A Levels, working as a summer camp counsellor. This trip gave me the confidence and ambition to challenge myself further and I went on to volunteer for 5 months in south East Asia. I cannot express enough the gratitude I feel for the opportunities that I received thanks to the HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. I am sure that his legacy will go on to change many lives for the better throughout the UK and internationally.

Cat Jones, Gold Award holder

 

I remember on our practice expedition we somehow ended up in a field of horses to which Sophie said "I'm good with horses" and "oo yeah, I have a carrot!" She cleared the path for us and told us she'd meet us once we had made it safely out the field. We waited about 10 mins to then see her running across to us. She said the horses wouldn't leave her alone! I also remember Bethan...? Shouting shut up to a crow in the morning that had woken everyone way too early. For the actual expedition I think we were all too trusting of the weather forecast and found the best way to keep warm in the evening was doing gangnam style round a large oak tree!

El Budden, nearly finished the Bronze award but kept forgetting to bring in the booklet …..

 

I worked towards my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award 1996/1997. I have clear memories of a practice camp on the school field. I am fairly sure we did it midweek as I have a memory of going into school the next day. For our practice expedition we camped at Phasels Wood and for our assessed at Braid Wood. How our group ever completed it I’ll never know. At that point map reading was not one of my strong points. But of course the expedition is not just what the award is about. The other three sections allowed me to develop in areas I enjoyed. From volunteering with Girlguiding to playing the flute in the school orchestra. I am still very involved in the award and I have been the Duke of Edinburgh Award coordinator at the school I work at for the last 14 years. I have even taken my groups back to Phasels and Braid Wood. I am very thankful that I was given the opportunity to take part in the award.

Jo Bayley, Bronze award holder and DofE Leader

 

I absolutely loved my DofE experience. The most memorable part had to be the expeditions. I remember one very rainy trip to the South Downs where the boys' tent leaked and we tried to persuade the leaders that we should all share a tent together (boys and girls) so they didn't get wet. The leaders didn't agree! I also have fond memories of developing new 'skills' - dressmaking for my Silver and (because I was over 18), wine making for my Gold!

Helen Cox, Gold Award holder

 

 

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