Big brave steps on Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award training

Friday 3 May 2024

It’s all-go with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at the moment in College.  Year 10 students will be undertaking their Silver practice expedition next week, and we are also launching the Gold Award to Year 11.  Meanwhile, two dozen of our Year 12 travelled to Hamsterley on Wednesday for their Gold DofE training expedition.

The intrepid sixth-formers were greeted with warmth and sunshine.  Tents were rapidly erected, and Sharya Osman took the first big step outside the comfort zone by braving the wild waterfall shower!  After cooking and eating, it was time for the team building tasks, where leadership and listening skills began to shine.  As darkness descended, the Connect 3 game became more heated and team mates really did get very close to each other as they strived to ‘Turn the sheet’.

The next two days saw students learn navigation and test their physical endurance over a 13-mile walk and also spend time looking at risk assessment and micro navigation, including a very challenging orienteering course (most of the markers had been removed!).  Students experienced four seasons in one hour as hail and sleet showers were blown through on Thursday, but the sun also triumphed.  Evenings were filled with night navigation and code-sending exercises and, although nights were cold, they revealed wonderfully starry skies.  Students marvelled at the ‘Uphill Stream’ and staff were kept happy with a magnificent breakfast of venison steak and eggs. 

It was off to Wolsingham on Saturday to put all the skills into practice, and as ever catch the first sunburn of the year.  Students made plenty of mistakes over the four days, but that is how they learn, and they are certainly now well prepared for independence and the challenge of the Cheviots in July.  This group never complained and were eager to push themselves and learn.  They will go far!