The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has become the most sought after non-academic qualification in the UK by universities and employers. This is not surprising as, to gain an award, participants have to develop a vast array of skills and attributes which purely academic study does not cover. At The Abbey our DofE Award programme is one of the leading examples of the DofE Award in the country, both in terms of number of participants and in terms of award completions. The DofE Award has become an important part of the culture of the School rather than an ‘add on’ and most staff will be keen to discuss activities and progress with girls.
The DofE Award seeks to inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and recognise their achievements. To achieve an award girls have to take on activities under the following headings: volunteering, skill, physical, expedition and residential. Girls need to show motivation, organisation, commitment, a willingness to try new things, meet new people and overcome challenges. It is therefore no surprise that to complete a DofE Award is seen as such a worthwhile achievement. Such is the recognition of achieving a Gold Award that Gold Award holders are presented, by the Earl of Wessex, in a ceremony at St James' Palace or Buckingham Palace.
The expedition section, which often provides memorable moments and tall tales of adventure from the participants, dovetails into The Abbey’s wider Outdoor Education programme. The Silver Award programme involves a UK walking expedition; the Gold Award programme comprises a UK walking expedition, canoeing, and occasionally, an overseas expedition. Examples of locations used in the past for Abbey DofE Expeditions include New Forest, River Severn, Snowdonia, Morocco and Ecuador.
The Abbey provides opportunities to enrol on the Silver and Gold levels of the programme. Usually over 90% of Upper V enrol on Silver and approximately 50% of Lower VI enrol on Gold.
The timescales of the Silver and Gold levels are as follows:
The Abbey is a Directly Licensed Centre, meaning that we have the expertise to license our own programme of activities under the DofE Award heading.