Last weekend we had our first silver assessed Duke of Edinburgh expedition in the New Forest. We had two expedition groups out with four students in each group.
Friday saw the students complete an Island-based walk which finished at school at 3pm. We then travelled by ferry to the New Forest and set up camp. It was getting dark by the time the camp was set up and a substantial meal had been cooked and eaten. It was a very cold first night as we realised the reality of October expeditions. Luckily the students kept themselves and others motivated with snacks, hot chocolate and supportive words.
On Saturday everyone had something hot for breakfast and then set off on their planned routes. All students had some knowledge of their routes and individuals took it in turn to lead their sections. Students supported each other through this by taking breaks when needed and enjoying the New Forest scenery together. We met the students at various checkpoints and students followed their route timings pretty much to the minute! Saturday overnight was another chilly experience but the positive attitudes of the students really shone through. A very early morning hot chocolate was also required to start the day right.
Day three was very successful. Students again led sections of the route, supported each other and answered the assessment questions confidently. Students had clear knowledge of first aid, the Countryside code as well as many other aspects of how to stay safe during an expedition. Students have done various things to prepare themselves for this expedition including doing Walk the Wight, walking in new boots and walking with their kit bags. Some students had also experimented with different meals on their stoves for the camp cookery elements of the assessment.
To complete the silver expedition through the restrictive times we have found ourselves in is truly remarkable. All students will be delivering their expedition presentations in early November to sign them off on their award. It has been really good to see the skills develop and to see students making positive changes the more expeditions they complete.
It has been a real pleasure to see the students on their Duke of Edinburgh journey with us and I can’t wait to start making preparations for their Gold award.
A huge well done to Fina, Orla, Esme, Lottie, Jessica, Olivia, Illeana and Holly.