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The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards



The school offers all three levels of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – Bronze, Silver, and Gold. The Award Leader is Miss K Scott:  She is assisted, at Bronze Level, by Mr C Cowley: There are also a number of qualified staff and volunteers.

At each level, students have to complete four distinct sections: volunteering, physical, skills, and an expedition. These activities, which vary in length depending on the level of the award,  help students to develop a range of qualities and skills which are of benefit to them at school and beyond.  We place a high value on the Awards and the uptake by students is exceptionally high at all three levels.

A charge is made for registration onto the Award and for the expeditions.  This can be made in installments over a period of time. Our online payment system is the most efficient way to pay and allows parents to keep track of the required balance.  Payments can be made as and when convenient as long as the final deadline date is adhered to.

If students are not able to afford the expedition cost, we have a number of ways that we can find funding to support these families, so no student should be unable to take part in the DofE Award if they want to.

We are extremely lucky at Burford School to have a large number of skilled and knowledgeable volunteers to help us to deliver the DofE expeditions to our participants. This enables us to offer the award to a large number of students. We are able to deliver the Silver and Gold expeditions using our volunteers, which helps to keep the cost of our expeditions down to a minimum, but it also allows us maximum flexibility in terms of where and when we run our expeditions. At Bronze, we employ an AAP (Approved Activity Provider) to deliver the training for the expedition section, due to the large numbers of participants.

COVID-19 and the DofE Certificate of Achievement

With the current COVID pandemic situation expeditions cannot take place. However, if students complete their volunteering, physical and skills award sections, once approved they will receive the DofE Certificate of Achievement in recognition of their hard work. For more detailed information please see:

We will of course get the expeditions up and running again when we are allowed and we consider it safe to do so – they may take a different form from previously, but our aim is to engage students and give them the best experience possible. Once the expedition section is completed, students who already have their DofE Certificate of Achievement will then receive their full award as usual.


COVID-19: DofE with a difference – Activity ideas

As many activities are cancelled or restricted, students may need to look for alternative activity ideas – please see the following link for some ideas on how students can start or continue their sections remotely from home:

The following PDF file provides an additional list of COVID-friendly volunteering ideas (and examples of who could assess these):  Volunteering activities 2021. 

Once signed up, each student is given an online edofe account: where they must detail their activities, their assessor name and contact details, and can upload evidence of their activities. These can then be approved remotely. If they have already started an activity and have to change it because of COVID-19, they can do this easily on their edofe account.

As with the usual awards, a member of the student’s family cannot assess the activities but they can ask a family friend or neighbour and their assessor report can be completed remotely online.

Below is an overview of the different levels of the award before expeditions were suspended.

The Bronze Award

The Bronze Award is open to students who are in Year 9. It is introduced in October with a parents’ information evening, at which the requirements of the award are explained.  Following this, students who wish to take part can apply.

Before the practice expedition we hold a series of training sessions that comprise map reading skills, route planning and rucksack packing.  They also learn how to use a meths trangia, erect tents, gain some knowledge of essential first aid and understand the Countryside Code.  Both the practice and assessed expedition take place locally, over two days, with an overnight camp in between.

Alongside the expedition, students work independently towards achieving the volunteering, physical and skill elements of the award. A wide range of activities are open to them and there is something to suit all tastes.

In total the Bronze Award usually takes between six and nine months to complete.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Bronze Award Co-ordinator, Mr Cowley:


The Silver Award


At Silver the length of time taken for each activity  increases and the expedition is extended from two days to three. The Peak District, Exmoor and the North Devon Coast or The Welsh Borders are our preferred destinations for this award. In total the Silver Award usually takes around twelve months to complete. Students start it on completion of their Bronze Award in Year 10 and complete it in Year 11.


 The Gold Award

The Gold Award carries with it a high level of prestige.  It shows commitment, endurance, social skills and tenacity and is highly regarded by universities and employers. Many of our Year 12 students continue on from Silver towards Gold. For those who did not take up the option in previous years, it is also possible for students to start at Gold as direct entrants. In this situation they are required to undertake an additional training expedition and complete their volunteering activity for eighteen months, which is six months longer than those who have achieved their Silver Award.

The expeditions, which extends over four days with a minimum of eight hours of walking, may also involve one night of wild camping.  Here at Burford, we usually walk in the Yorkshire Dales or the Brecon Beacons.


In addition to the volunteering, physical, skill and expedition sections, the students also have to undertake a residential stay of at least four nights. They can do this with one individual whom they know, but all other contact must be with people they are unfamiliar with.  In total the Gold Award usually takes around eighteen months to complete.

The significance of achieving the Gold Award is reflected in the invitation to visit St James’s Palace, to receive their award. This is a fitting culmination to a challenging, but rewarding, venture.



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