Any thoughts of easing up towards the end of the summer term have been out of the question at the Glyn School in Ewell as the latest batch of would-be Duke of Edinburgh award winners have taken to the New Forest, South Downs and Brecon Beacons.
The highly prized extra-curricular award rewards skills including community involvement, charity work and outward bound expeditions, and the end of the academic year has seen the latest round of outdoor tasks.
Teacher Lizzie Butler, who runs the scheme at the school, said it was an experience that pushed students out of their comfort zone, but brought huge rewards – and it was proving more popular than ever. “I took over running the scheme at the school two years ago, when we had just 30 students taking the bronze level badge – now we’ve up to 45 bronze, 35 silver and 15 going for gold, which means you get to go to Buckingham Palace and receive the gold award from the Duke himself,” she explained.
There can be few people better placed to instill a love of the scheme in youngsters than a teacher who has been through all the stages herself. “I did it myself, and it was something I absolutely loved doing, so the opportunity to be part of it at Glyn and to present the students with the same opportunities I had, is something I enjoy hugely,” she said. “It’s a wonderful scheme – it puts them in places where they have to do things that they wouldn’t necessarily do in their ordinary lives, and it gives them a love of the outdoors and a respect for the environment.”
As well as the character-building experiences that individual pupils go through, the wider community also reaps the benefits of the award. Participants have to give up designated amounts of time to take part in community service and charity projects, and Ms Butler said this was something that had made a real impact on the community, both within and beyond the walls of Glyn.
“We’ve had pupils helping out at groups like Beavers, Cubs and Brownies, doing sports coaching to younger children at the school, visiting old people’s homes, helping with reading projects at local junior schools and assisting in charity shops,” she explained. “The award is primarily about self-discovery, but part of that process is about interacting more with the world around you. It’s a hugely positive experience, and one with benefits for the students, the school and the community they live in.”
Barking Dog Media
We provide a range of media services to help you promote, market and represent you or your organisation, club or business in public.