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The Duke of Edinburgh Award

There is more to education than exams. Doing a DofE award builds young peoples confidence and expands their horizons - whoever they are and wherever they are from.

What is a DofE award? 
It is a  life-changing experience. A fun time with friends. An opportunity to discover new interests and talents. A tool to develop essential skills for life and work. A recognised mark of achievement; respected by employers.

The DofE is many things to many people, and has been supporting generations of young people to successfully navigate adult life.

At CHSB we run 2 progressive levels which, when successfully completed, leads to a Bronze (Yr 9) and Silver (Yr 10) Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.As young people must be 16 years old to start a Gold award we do not offer this level of the award. Young people just need to transfer their online account to a new ctr wherever they go to complete the final stage of the award.

There are four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver level and five at Gold. They involve helping the community/environment, becoming fitter, developing new skills, planning, training for and completing an expedition.

Any young person can do their DofE – regardless of ability, gender, background or location. Achieving an Award isn’t a competition or about being first. It’s all about setting personal challenges and pushing personal boundaries.

Through a DofE programme young people have fun, make friends, improve their self-esteem and build confidence. They gain essential skills and attributes for work and life such as resilience, problem-solving, team-working, communication and drive, enhancing CVs and uni and job applications. Top employers recognise the work-ready skills Award holders bring to their business.

At CHSB young people (or their parents / carers) pay for a Participation Place and are supported by Leaders who support them through their programmes, helping them to choose their activities, set their objectives and achieve their Award.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a registered charity, funded by donations, Participation Places and licences. The charity works with centres across the UK to increase opportunities for young people to gain the benefits of doing their DofE.


Why do it?

For the hundreds of thousands of young people who take part each year, the benefits of achieving a DofE Award at any level are endless. DofE is about helping young people on the path to a productive and prosperous future. As many of our participants say, it’s life-changing.

Achieving an Award will creates skills, confidence and an edge over others when a young person applies for college, university or a job. Beyond young peoples academic achievements, universities want to see evidence of so called ‘soft skills’ that are developed through extra-curricular activities, such as communication, commitment, leadership and teamwork. A DofE Award is a fantastic way to demonstrate and evidence these skills in practice.

The award also makes a difference to other people’s lives and the community, be fitter and healthier, make new friends and have memories to last you a lifetime.

Timescales -
At CHSB there are two levels of programme a young person can do; Bronze & Silver. The main differences between them are the minimum length of time it takes to complete them, how challenging it is and the minimum age you can start.

Activities for each DofE section take a minimum of one hour a week over a set period of time, so they can be fitted in around academic study, hobbies and social lives. Development and regular progress must be shown and all activities must be completed by the participant’s 25th birthday.

Depending on your age, young people are free to start at any level but most people prefer to start at Bronze and work upwards.

BRONZE Timescales 

It will usually take at least 6 months to complete a Bronze programme.

  • Volunteering section: 3 months
  • Physical section: 3 months
  • Skills section: 3 months
  • Expedition section:  2 x 2 days/1 night. This runs as a practice and training walk/camp then an assessed expedition in the summer term, usually before the 1/2 term summer break.

A Bronze award participant also has to spend an extra three months on one of the Volunteering, Physical or Skills sections. It’s their choice which one and, though they can change their mind later, they should decide which section they want to do for longer at the beginning. Knowing how long they’re going to do it for will help them to choose a suitable activity and set their goals for each section.

SILVER Timescales 

It will take at least 6 months for Silver if already Bronze has been achieved, or 12 months if a young person jumped straight into Silver. This is called 'Direct Entry' and as such requires a slightly longer timescale.

  • Volunteering section: 6 months
  • Physical and Skills sections: One section for 6 months and the other section for 3 months
  • Expedition section: 2 x 3 days/2 nights. This is run as a formal practice and assessed expedition. A refresher walk and hike/camp is open to all Silver participants when the Bronze are being assessed. The refresher is held before the summer 1.2 term then the 2 formal expeditions are held towards the end of the summer term.

If a young person didn’t do Bronze, they must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills sections.


Staff Responsible:

Mr Thomas has been involved with the DofE for 10 years. Starting as a volunteer when he first entered the teaching profession he became a Centre Manager after 2 years and hasn't looked back since. He says,

"This is the best part of my job! I love to see young people develop as they progress through the awards and really enjoy the bonds that are formed along the way. I think a DofE award is the best thing a young person can do at CHSB which gives them the personal skills to be successful in life. Our Centre runs as a family with the Silver participants being paired up with the Bronze for support and guidance. This runs very well as the boys support each other to complete their awards."