Last weekend, 33 students from Year 11 completed their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award qualifying expedition with two days walking in the Lancashire countryside between Horwich and Chorley.

The students had to be self-sufficient in their teams of 5 or 6. They planned their routes, did all their own navigating, carried their own camping equipment and supplies, cooked their own evening meals on their camp stoves and put up and took down their own tents. They also carried out a project to identify and record different species of trees, birds and grasses that they found during the weekend. All 33 passed with flying colours.

Unfortunately, the students were not able to sleep in their tents overnight due to current government restrictions on overnight school trips. All students returned to sleep overnight at home before rejoining their expedition early on Day 2. In all other respects the students were able to get the full Bronze expedition experience.

All the students had gained valuable experience and learned lessons from their training walks last November and this September in the countryside close to school. Their qualifying expedition went smoothly as they put their experience to the test in the warm September sunshine.

On the first day, teams walked from Rivington Lane to Bibbys Farm in Heath Charnock via the top of Anglezarke Reservoir. Some teams pushed themselves further by taking in White Coppice and the views on Healey Nab. On Day 2, we returned to Rivington Lane via the fields, woods and meadows on the west side of Anglezarke Reservoir.

Prior to their expedition, Year 11 students have been working on their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award through Year 10, organising and completing their own activities in three categories:- Skill, Physical and Volunteering, over periods of 3 or 6 months. Some of their activities have included running regularly with the school’s Running Club, volunteering in childrens’ sports clubs or in cubs or brownies or at mosque and learning a musical instrument or a foreign language in their own time. They have really had a varied experience.

Most importantly perhaps, the students have developed and repeatedly shown teamwork, independence and resilience, organising and planning their own activities, showing commitment in getting them done and supporting each other with smiles on their faces. They have persevered resiliently when things have gone against them (not least the interruptions and changes to their activities during lockdown and the postponement of their expedition in July) and they will carry these qualities and maturity with them in their GCSE studies and in all that they do after that. Congratulations and very well done!