Rob Reynolds, Director of External Relations and DofE Manager
I write this from Dartmoor on a sixth form Gold Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) award expedition. Thirteen students are enjoying good weather and the beautiful surroundings of this national park which is the largest and wildest area of open country in the south of England. Working in teams, students are walking, navigating, carrying their kit, cooking, wild camping, and supporting each other, under the expert eye of Ridgeline Adventures who provide the specialist training and assessment.
Bedales is proud to offer DofE which is delivered through the Activities programme for Blocks 3-5 where students can progress through Bronze and Silver, and the Enrichment programme for sixth formers to pursue Gold. Virtual information sessions are offered by the DofE for parents where you can find out more about the award and how to support a young person through DofE. Click here for more information.
The DofE award was founded by its namesake in 1956, and has become an internationally recognised mark of achievement. For many participants, the DofE can be a life-changing experience and a lot of fun. Students discover new interests and talents, and the tools to develop essential skills for life and work. Participants describe how they have developed character traits like confidence and resilience, which have boosted their mental health and wellbeing and helped them face and overcome personal challenges.
The programme has three progressive levels with four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver, and five at Gold. They involve helping the community/environment, becoming fitter, developing new skills, planning, training for and completing an expedition and, for Gold only, working with a team on a residential activity.
As a Round Square school, Bedales has made a commitment to character education and experiential learning built around the six themes of International Understanding, Democracy, Environmental Stewardship, Adventure, Leadership and Service. The DofE award has a lot of synergy with Round Square, both having been heavily influenced by the thinking of educationalist Kurt Hahn.
At Bedales each level is overseen by a DofE ‘leader’. To find out more, interested students and parents can contact one of the Bedales DofE team: Paul Beauchamp (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Block 3; Allen Shone (email@example.com)/David Mann (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Blocks 4-5; Julia Bevan (email@example.com) for Sixth Form. I oversee the award programme, organise the expeditions in conjunction with Ridgeline Adventures and liaise with the DofE staff (contact: (firstname.lastname@example.org).