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Duke of Edinburgh Award Students complete their expedition

Last weekend, 56 students from Year 9 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 to 7. 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 56 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. We had hoped that restrictions would have been lifted in time, but this was not the case. However, the students were not deterred by this and were still determined to enjoy their expedition. 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. They even continued to carry their tents and stoves on the second day to make it feel more realistic!

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

On the first day, teams walked from Rivington Lane to Bibby’s Farm in Heath Charnock via the top of Anglezarke Reservoir. 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 9 students have been working on their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, 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, even with the extra challenge of keeping going through lockdown.

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 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!