Useful Documents

Volunteering Idea

Building resilience and rewarding perseverance

The Academy offers an opportunity for all sixth form and Year 9 and 10 pupils to get involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme at bronze and silver level. Participation in the scheme is voluntary. It offers a series of constructive individual challenges that encourage personal development and is highly valued by employers and universities.

The award at Ark Alexandra Academy is led by DofE Manager and assessor Nicholas Burchell with 12 years experience; Nicholas is also the Contingency Commander for the Army Cadet Force.

Pupils form teams of four to seven and receive guidance from a member of staff who acts as mentor for their programme. The scheme is very popular at the College: 86 pupils are currently working towards their bronze and silver award.

It is a four section programme with three progressive levels:

  • Bronze (for those aged 14 and over)
  • Silver (for those aged 15 and over) – minimum length of time: 12 months (unless you hold the Bronze Award)
  • Gold (for those aged 16 and over)

The sections involve:

  • Service (helping other people in the local community)
  • Skills (covering almost any hobby, skill or interest)
  • Physical recreation (sport, dance and fitness)
  • Expeditions (training for, planning and completing a journey on foot or horseback, by boat or cycle)
  • Residential Project (Gold Award only - a purposeful enterprise with people not previously known to the participant)

What are the benefits of involvement?

The Award is widely recognised by employers and people involved in education. Some of the benefits to young people include;

  • developing or discovering a sense of achievement
  • new skills and interests
  • self-confidence
  • self-reliance
  • leadership skills and abilities
  • exciting opportunities
  • friendships
  • experience of teamwork
  • problem solving & decision making
  • increased motivation
  • enhanced self-esteem
  • development of communication skills
  • a network of local, national and international connection

The award is highly valued by employers and universities.

Pupils are enrolled onto the bronze programme in year 9 and silver programme in the spring term of Year 10 and onto the gold programme in the Lower Sixth with an outside provider. The Wealden area is the destination for the practice expeditions during the spring and summer term. Those pupils working towards their silver award go to the Wealden area or Ashdown Forest for their assessment.

Successful completion of a gold award is a very impressive achievement, and shows that a participant has the skills, determination and mentality to succeed. Gold award presentations are highly prestigious events, held at St James’ Palace in London.

Visit the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards website to find out more.