This year for the first time ever at the Skills Hub, students completed their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition in the Lake District, a mountainous National Park in the north of England. As part of their route, they completed an ascent up the Old Man of Coniston a mountain with a height of 802 meters in stature. The students stayed for a total of three days and had a 6-hour minibus drive to get there!
Students completed their expedition routes alongside some amazing OAA activities such as visiting Coniston Lake and a mountain beach walk at Roanhead followed by a game of beach football. The Duke of Edinburgh expedition is arguably one of the most challenging parts of the Award and really tested the students. From Bronze through to Silver, they are faced with Rocky Mountains and babbling brooks, all topped off by the weight of their rucksack. The expedition teaches students something that academic learning cannot, because of all the challenges they face. Whether that is pushing through difficult weather conditions or reaching a mountain peak they never thought they could complete.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award programme develops a wide range of skills for our young people. The extent of the organisation and commitment that comes hand in hand with the Award is something that will push every student, but the lessons and connections that students make will shape how they develop and face other challenges in the future and give them lifelong memories. The Duke of Edinburgh Award helps us prepare our pupils for their next destination, it helps to develop communication skills and the ability to work under pressure, which are lifelong skills that can be taken with them through every challenge they face in life. The reality is that most students living in Greater London are not familiar with the mountainous areas, so taking them into a different environment to push and challenge themselves is a valuable experience.