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March 21st 2018

Going for Gold

What makes the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award different to the Silver and Bronze Awards is the addition of a fifth section: the Residential.  Participants can choose an activity that falls into one of four categories: ‘Service to Others’, ‘Environment and Conservation’, ‘Learning’ and ‘Activity Based’. 

This term, two of the five students working towards their Gold Award completed their residential during half term.  Here’s how Kathryn and Harriet, Year 12, got on.


“During the half term, I went to Scotland to do a week of snowboarding as part of my Gold DofE,” explained Kathryn. “I stayed in a lodge with a group of people I’d never met. I found I settled in faster than I thought and we would spend the evenings making dinner together, playing games and joking around.

“It was a lot of fun doing snowboarding, as it was a new experience for me and its something I’ve always wanted to try.  I learned new skills and by the end of the week could go down the slope fairly confidently despite still being quite slow. During the week, even though I fell over many times, it was a lot of fun and I would love to go snowboarding again.

“This week really pushed me out of my comfort zone as I travelled by myself and stayed with new people. Despite it being challenging, I learned a lot and had an amazing time.”

Taking a different approach was Harriet, who opted to learn a new skill.

“For my Gold Duke of Edinburgh residential section,” Harriet begins, “I completed a cooking course in Worcestershire. I really wanted to do Gold DofE to push myself out of my comfort zones in many areas, and I am most looking forward to the expedition section, which we will be doing in the Cairngorms in Scotland.

“I decided to do a cooking course as the skills that I did have were extremely basic, and I realised that I needed to know more than just how to boil water! I learned many new skills on the course, such as how to create a meal plan, how to cook to a set time-frame, (producing four courses twice a day as well as biscuits and cakes), and how to make and present a wide variety of dishes. I also got to take part in a wine tasting evening, and learned how to make a swan out of an apple!

“It was hard not knowing anyone and quickly having to work together in a small space, but by the end of the week we all had lots of inside jokes and danced around the kitchen together!  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the memories that I made, and my new-found confidence in cooking!”

- Kathryn and Harriet, Year 12

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