Duke of Edinburgh. The International Award: teaching international values

Route planning before the final award trip

The Duke of Edinburgh Award was set up in 1956 and its main aim has not changed; self-improvement. True to the original aim, at Caxton we place great emphasis on the self. Students are expected to be independent wether they are taking the award at bronze, silver and gold level.  This year 36 students have taken part in the award, with numbers expected to rise next year to over 50.

At each level students partake and set objectives in various areas. They must volunteer in their community, learn a new skill and take part in some form of physical recreation.  Each of these must be planned and organised by the students themselves, improving their independent thinking.

They also take part in two expeditions. They receive training in a variety of areas, including route planning, camp craft and basic first aid. These skills are used to plan a multiday hike including camping, where everything needed must be carried by the students.

This presents a number of challenges, both physical and mental and allows the students to develop their leadership skills. Our students have a lot of demands on their time and spend a great deal of it increasing their academic knowledge. The International Award allows students the time and space tto develop the skills that will set them apart from the crowd, whilst also forcing them out of their comfort zone. The friendships formed in such testing conditions are often ones that are unexpected and last for a lifetime.

The International Award isn´t easy, but it´s not supposed to be. It teaches students that often in life, the harder the test, the greater the reward.

http://www.dofe.org/

Lewis Wright
International Award Coordinator

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