Common Time 2019

Duke of Edinburgh's Award Programme

Boys on hiking trip

The Duke of Edinburgh Award Programme has been running for over half a century and is probably the highest-profile youth programme that there is. Of all co-curricular activities, it is the most highly prized by the major employers of graduates. At each of the three levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold - participants undertake Volunteering, develop a Skill and engage in Physical Activity. There is a rigid framework that establishes how long the various sections must take, but there is almost no limit to the variety of activities that will count. Participants may stick with current enthusiasms or they may try something new: all that matters is that they should set themselves some goals and then make personal progress while working towards them. Each activity is overseen by an adult assessor, who writes a short report when the time requirement has been met.

Perhaps the best-known component of the programme is the Expedition. In teams of between four and seven, participants plan a journey in considerable detail, and then undertake it, while being monitored by an external assessor. During the journey they must undertake a project, and they must give a presentation based on their project when the journey is over. The scale of the Expedition ranges from three days with two nights under canvas at a relatively civilised camp site for Silver to a 60-mile, four-day hike, including three camps at wild locations for Gold. Many young people rate the Expedition as one of the most enjoyable activities they undertake in their teenage years or early twenties.

The Award Programme has been available to all Wykehamists on a voluntary basis for several years. Participants may enroll for the Silver Award as soon as they enter Vth Book and for the Gold Award in VIth Book ii. We do not offer the Bronze Award at Winchester. There is a meeting every other week during term time but participants are also expected to put in the necessary hours at times that are individually convenient to them and their mentors. The Co-ordinator is available to advise participants at certain times during the week. Expedition training is carried out by qualified and experienced staff at scheduled times during the year.

The detailed requirements are quite complex: more information is available nationally on http://www.dofe.org