The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is recognised and widely adopted as being one of the best programmes for the personal development of young people.

It is intended to provide for young people an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding programme of personal development, which is of the highest quality and the widest reach.

The Ten Key Principles of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award


The Award is a personal challenge and not a competition against others. Each participant’s programme is tailor-made to reflect the individual starting point, abilities and interests.

Available to All

With a commitment to equal opportunities, the Award Programme is available to all young people who choose to take up its challenge.


Young people make a free choice to enter the programme and commit their own time to undertake the activities


Young people design their own programme, which can be geared to their choice and personal circumstances and also to local provision. They may enter for whichever level of Award best suits them, and may take as long as they wish to complete an Award.


By choosing activities in each of four different Sections (five at Gold), participants undertake a balanced and wide ranging programme.


At each level, the Award Programme demands more time and an increasing degree of commitment and responsibility from the participant

Achievement Focused

Before starting an activity, young people are encouraged to set their own goals. If they aim for those goals and show improvement, they will achieve their Award.

Marathon, not a Sprint

The Award demands persistence and commitment and cannot be completed in a short burst of enthusiasm. Participants may want to continue with activities beyond the minimum time requirements set out for each level of the Award.

Personal Development

The Award is a programme of personal and social development. The value to young people is dependent on personal commitment, the learning process and the quality of the experience.


Young people and helpers should find participation enjoyable and satisfying.

The Award is widely recognised by employers and people involved in education. Some of the benefits to young people include developing self-confidence and self-reliance; gaining a sense of achievement and a sense of responsibility; discovering new skills, interests and talents and developing leadership skills and abilities. They can also discover exciting opportunities; make new friends; experience teamwork, problem-solving and decision-making; increase their motivation; enhance their self-esteem and develop their communication skills. They will also, of course, have fun!

The Government has recognised that the Award has a valuable role to play within a young person’s personal development. The Award is closely linked with many Government initiatives across the UK.

The Award gives opportunities for young people to:

  • enjoy a wide variety of physical, creative and aesthetic experiences which encourage personal growth and development
  • experience new lifestyles and cultures outside their own immediate neighbourhood, possibly abroad
  • experience a variety of learning and teaching styles with people from different walks of life
  • take decisions of increasing complexity and accept responsibility for the consequences
  • discover new talents and abilities and test values and beliefs
  • give a continuing personal commitment of service to others
  • establish and sustain inter-personal relationships
  • negotiate their own personal programme of participation, seeking out and researching relevant information, and gradually take responsibility for their own learning
  • understanding their strengths and weakness, assess their personal level of competence, increase their own personal effectiveness and take responsibility for their own lives having a great time!

The Award Scheme at School

The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme continues to go from strength to strength at John Henry Newman Catholic College. In the past 12 months we have successful completed the Silver Award with our first cohort of students. We are now beginning the induction for the new Silver group. Alongside this we are starting the Bronze Award with Year 10. We aim to be able offer students to complete the Gold Award in the near future.

We ‘target’ year groups for particular levels of the award (as seen below) and we enrol most students at the end of the Summer term so that students can ‘get on’ with sorting out what they are going to do for each of the various sections.

  • Bronze: Year 10
  • Silver: Year 12 (direct entry if not done Bronze)

Many more staff have been involved in the award this year and because of this we have been able to really concentrate on the crucial matter of training and development of youngsters before they step out into the wilderness. Expedition training has included map and compass work, camp craft (stoves and tents), first aid training with a long time spent route planning prior to expedition.

For the Volunteering section of the scheme this year, pupils have done various worthwhile things such as helping run clubs for younger students such as cub and scout packs, helping out at local Primary Schools and within our school itself, plus many others! The Physical section of the award has had students participating in the vast range of sports that the school offers and the local Sports Centre. The Skill section has included cooking, learning a new language, learning to drive and gardening/growing vegetables.

Full details of the countless opportunities available for the various sections and the time needed to spent on them at the various levels can be found on the award website at and on the School VLE. It is our policy to only take students on a practise expedition and then their venture if they have completed (or are well underway with) the other 4 or 5 sections.

The award offers a huge personal challenge to individual students but the benefits that they receive in terms of personal and social development continues to be immeasurable. We encourage students to at least find out about the award. Ask Mrs McMenamin and Miss Beddoes if you are unsure, but like all things you need to know that to complete it will require both hard work and commitment.

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