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Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

We strongly believe in inspiring our pupils to become independent, confident and resourceful young adults, eager to take on a challenge, able to accept and manage risk and be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme helps us to do just that.

The DofE is many things to many people and has supported generations of young adults to successfully navigate adult life. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme was initiated at the Academy in the 1960s and boasts one of the largest and most successful school schemes in the UK.

Any pupil can do their DofE – regardless of ability, gender or background. Achieving an Award isn’t a competition or about being first. It’s all about setting personal challenges and pushing personal boundaries. Through our DofE programme our pupils have fun, make friends, improve their self-esteem and build their confidence. They gain essential skills and attributes for work and life such as resilience, problem-solving, team-working, communication and drive, enhancing their CVs, university applications and future employment opportunities.

Pupils from Form 3 upwards can participate in our DofE programmes at one of three progressive levels which, when successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. There are four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver level – this includes 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 project. Pupils are required to organise and complete the volunteering, physical and skills sections of the award themselves. They are taught the required skills to navigate and camp in the mountains in regular after school classes in preparation for the expedition section of the Award. They undertake 2 practice expedition hikes in the Antrim Hills and Mourne Mountains prior to their assessed hike in the Mournes at the end of the Summer Term. Many pupils go on to complete their Gold Award in Sixth Form. Progression onto this level depends upon the pupils completing all sections of the Silver Award.

For further information, please contact Shelly Wilson on

Duke of Edinburgh Gallery

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Adam Jackson on a Gold Practice Expedition above Silent Valley Reservoir April 2008

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