Silver and Bronze awards for DofE students
This year we’re celebrating having the largest group of students to date, enrolled for the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, a significant achievement for all the students involved and the staff who’ve supported them and enabled them to take part.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme helps students to challenge themselves and get involved in different activities, such as expeditions which involve using problem solving skills and motivate them to spend time outdoors. It also encourages them to have commitment in following something through which is required particularly in the skills, physical and volunteering sections, one of which has to be done regularly for a period of six months.
The DofE is a prestigious and widely recognised award and, for those students hoping to get a job after leaving Treloar’s, it will be of huge advantage to them to put it on their CV.
This year’s students made their own decisions and acted independently on their DofE account as much as possible given each individual student’s level of disability. Karen Masson, The DofE Coordinator, had special access to manage students’ accounts so that she was able to upload evidence on their behalf when required.
For their Silver expedition, Treloar’s students went on a trip to Moor Green Lakes and had an overnight stay at Woodlarks Campsite in Farnham, Hampshire. The aim of the expedition was to observe wildlife of the lakes and to navigate round the lakes using a compass and maps. The students also used binoculars to spot different animals, especially ducks.
I really enjoyed it, but it was very full on. We did not get time to chill until after dinner. I would really have liked to camp outside all night, but I tried to be outside as long as possible.
Ellis, Treloar College student
With the wildlife and seeing swans being one of the major highlights of the trip, the students also had to do some map reading using a compass. One of the students said: “Originally, we found map reading difficult as we were a bit unfamiliar, but it got easier with time, and we used a compass to orientate the map.
“On the first day, we got stuck in the mud, because it was very thick and not suitable for the wheelchairs in places. At about 4 am that morning it rained heavily and this made it challenging and very difficult to drive.”
Another student said about the experience: “It was nice to settle in and make a meal together. We made a chicken curry on the first night, and on the second night we made a macaroni cheese and it was a joint effort. We tried to escape the torture of washing up after but then came along Mandy and wasn’t taking any prisoners. Joe felt really tired by then.”
- A total of 35 students were enrolled for their DofE award last academic year of which 30 were Bronze level and 5 were Silver level
- 15 students have already completed their awards as of 17th July and 4 further students are due to complete their outstanding sections and complete by 30th October
- This was the largest group of participants we’ve had in recent years at Treloar’s
Students completed their various sections by participating in after school clubs such as Art and Dungeons & Dragons clubs. Some students chose activities from the School curriculum such as cooking, swimming and physiotherapy.
The more remarkable volunteering activities included one class writing a book of poems which was published and sold for their chosen charity. The charity representative even came to visit the school personally to say ‘thank you’.
One class grew plants and had a plant sale to raise money for their chosen charity. A popular choice for the volunteering option was to help out in the running of an after school club. Students chose: Nail bar club, Uno club and Twilight club.
The students all had to engage in a certain amount of map reading, according to their abilities on the expedition. The silver group had an external assessor to assess their skills and had to stay overnight at Woodlarks Campsite in Farnham, where they had to plan, prepare and clear up after themselves for their day’s activity. They spent a lot of time in each other’s company and had to engage in conflict resolution, as there were some minor arguments whilst on the expedition. Furthermore, they had to manage their time and attend their various activities regularly and in some cases learn a new skill.
During the expedition, one of the students felt cold and wanted to go inside, which would have invalidated some of the expedition purposes, but he was encouraged, according to his pre-expedition training, to try other methods of warming up first and these did work.
Impact and Benefits
Completing the DofE award has given the students a sense of pride and self-confidence and the feeling that they can achieve what students from other schools can achieve.
A level of teamwork was encouraged on the expedition, with each student taking turns to lead their group and do the map reading, asking the others for help when needed.
Overall, the students had a positive experience of the DofE. At the silver presentation to external visitors and their younger peers, all said, without exception, that they would definitely recommend the experience.