The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a four-Section programme. The levels currently offered at St James Senior Boys’ School are:

  • Bronze (offered to Year 9) and
  • Silver (offered to Year 10 upwards)
  • The School was lucky enough to host its first Gold Award group last year and hopes to do so in future years

The Sections involve:

  • Volunteering (helping people, and being of service to the community)
  • Skills (covering almost any hobby, skill or interest)
  • Physical (covering almost any sport, dance and fitness-related activity)
  • Expedition (training for, planning and completing a journey, usually on foot)

All activities are undertaken in the boys’ free time and take place after-school or at the weekends. There may be information sessions during School hours.

For the Volunteering section, participants are encouraged to support a local charity or not-for-profit organisation. Work can include volunteering in a charity shop, serving meals at a soup kitchen or helping with the maintenance of a building, e.g. redecorating. It must not replace the work any paid employee would normally undertake.

The Skills section allows boys to develop an existing interest or skill, or to learn a new one, for example learning a musical instrument, developing craft skills, mechanical skills, cooking or even languages.

The Physical section is very wide-ranging: boys can pursue a physical activity of their own choice, and they must be seen to make progress during the length of their commitment.

The Expedition training is carried out initially at school at the weekend. There is then a training camp weekend, where the Qualifying Expedition is emulated. The boys organise themselves into teams of 4 – 7 and co-operate with navigating, cooking and camping. At the weekend camps, boys must carry all their equipment and navigate their chosen route to an overnight camping ground. Once there, they must set up camp and cook dinner. The next morning, they must clear up and ready themselves for another days hike.

The Award can be an extension of a young person’s personal interests and activities, but also encourages them to seek out new experiences and develop themselves as individuals. The Award can fit around school quite easily. Taking part is extremely rewarding and the achievement of the Award is often very appealing to universities and employers.