Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Expedition
On the last weekend of September, 32 students from the Academy embarked on a two-day expedition as part of their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award. For many this would be a significant challenge with over three hours of walking each day carrying heavy backpacks. Not only would there be a physical challenge, there would also be the mental challenge of having to navigate using only a paper map, a compass and a route card. Teamwork would be vitally important too as each group needed to work together to achieve success and find their way to the end point, unaided by teachers.
In the run up to the expedition, the students had undertaken 8-hours of training spread across a range of after school sessions, run by teaching staff, covering topics from navigation and map reading to stove safety and tenting. As part of the expedition requirements, students would also need to cook a hot meal at the campsite so they planned what they would eat for each meal and how they would carry all their ingredients too.
Saturday morning started early, meeting at 9.00 am at the Academy. The students were briefed by team leaders before completing a challenging navigation task on the sports fields followed by leaving the school after lunch by minibus for the campsite. Once they arrived, they chose their spot for their team tent and put it up unaided by teachers. The afternoon was spent completing a series of team building tasks before students cooked their hot meals on camping stoves (supervised by staff). The evening ended with marshmallows around a campfire before the rain came down forcing most into their tents.
On Sunday morning, the students were up early packing their bags, eating a filling breakfast and dismantling their tents ready for the big walk. The first group set off at 9:30am while the others eagerly awaited their chance to begin. The route took them through woodland, maize fields and finished at Shustoke Reservoir. Successfully arriving at every checkpoint, all groups made it to the end point with exhausted smiles on their faces.
All 32 students successfully completed their expedition and have passed this section of their award. As an Academy, we could not be prouder of their brilliant achievement and the resilience they showed across the weekend. Whether they had wet feet or sore shoulders from heavy backpacks, they kept on going and pushed themselves further than they thought possible. For many students, this was a real challenge but also a huge accomplishment and fantastic experience that they will remember for years to come.
Grace Academy Solihull’s first DofE Expedition was a huge success. Congratulations to all the DofE students!