The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme at Sydenham School 

 What is the Award?

The Award is a challenging programme of activities that will help the young person to learn new skills, help others and experience adventure. It will provide the student with a great sense of achievement. In addition to this many organisations such as employers and universities take a good view of the Award and what it says about the person who has achieved it.

What does it involve?

There are three levels – bronze, silver and gold. For each, you complete activities in four sections – service, skills, physical recreation and expeditions. At the Gold level you also take part in a Residential Project. In each section there is a wide range of options that can be chosen from, or the young person can find other similar activities that interest them. This can be something entirely new or you can continue with an activity that is already enjoyed. The award is about having a go. It’s not a competition – it just needs a bit of enterprise and perseverance.

Who is it for?

The Award is open to anyone between the age of 14 and 25 years. Special qualifications are not needed, just a willingness to have a go. At Sydenham students can start the Award in Year 10, 12 or 13. Year 9 students may be eligible to start once they have reached the age of 14. At present there are 30 students studying for a bronze Award.

What will the student get out of it?

  • self-belief
  • sense of identity
  • sense of responsibility
  • new talents and abilities
  • ability to plan and use time effectively
  • skills including problem solving, presentation and communication
  • understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses
  • self-confidence
  • independence – of thought and action
  • awareness of potential
  • new relationships
  • ability to lead and work as part of a team
  • ability to learn from and give to others in the community
The key principles of the Award are :
  • Non-competitive – a personal challenge, not a competition.
  • Available to all – anyone can do it
  • Voluntary – it’s up to the individual what they do – it’s their ‘leisure time’.
  • Flexible – each programme is designed specifically for each person.
  • Balanced – it will stretch the young person in all directions.
  • Progressive – you improve at your own pace.
  • Achievement focused
  • Marathon not a sprint – it takes more than a short burst of enthusiasm.
  • Personal development – it’s the taking part that matters.
  • Enjoyable –it’s about getting out there and having fun!
How long will it take?

Students have until their 25th birthday to complete any of the awards, but it takes at least 6 months to achieve Bronze, at least 12 months at Silver, and at least 18 months at Gold. The minimum time requirements are expressed in months during which there should be regular commitment averaging at least an hour a week.

Bronze Award (14+ Years)
Service Skills Physical Recreation Expedition
3 Months 3 Months 3 Months Plan, prepare and undertake a two day, one night venture

All participants must undertake a further 3 months in either the service, skills or physical recreation section.

Silver Award (15+ Years)
Service Skills Physical Recreation Expedition
6 Months Either 3 months or 6 months Either 3 months or 6 months based on preference for skills Plan, prepare and undertake a three day, two night venture

People who do not have the Bronze Award must undertake a further 6 months in either the service or the longer of the skills or physical recreation sections.

Gold Award (16+ Years)
Service Skills/Physical Recreation Expedition Residential
12 Months One section for 12 months and the other section for 6 months Plan, prepare for and undertake a 4 day, 3 night venture Undertake a shared activity in a residential setting away from home for 5 days and 4 nights.

Participants who do not have the Silver Award must undertake a further 6 months in either the service or the longer of the skills or physical recreation sections.

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