Burford School: The challenge and the satisfaction

Daisy on Gold DOE (1)Here at Burford School, we actively encourage all our students to get involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme at every level. We have a strong team of well-trained and enthusiastic volunteers who take the students out on expeditions, testing their map-reading (and cooking) skills, endurance and team work. We now have over 190 students taking one of these awards.

Daisy Light, from Milton, is one of those who will be completing her Gold this summer.

‘I started my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award in 2015 following an assembly given to our entire year group. The Bronze expedition was for one night in Uffington, and at the time, the bags on our backs were double the size of us! The Silver expedition soon arrived and the walking intensified, as did the weather. Finally, after four expeditions in total, I started my Gold award this year and I will complete my final expedition in July 2020.

Along with the long walk, the Award involves volunteering, skill and physical sections that are completed over the course of up to 18 months for the Gold Award. Since starting, I have been involved with around twelve of these sections in total, involving volunteering as a sports leader, a tennis coach and even a chick incubator – to name a few. I really enjoyed these sections as they integrated with daily life, without disrupting my school work. This part of the Award is an excellent way to get involved with your local community, meeting new people, and providing you with valuable experiences outside the classroom.

My recent Gold expedition involved a day’s travelling to our destination in Yorkshire. Routes were plotted and groups were taught how to use trackers in case of emergencies. In the morning, we headed off at 8.00am and began navigating our way out of the village, using OS maps and compasses provided by the school to follow our planned route. After a day of walking on rough terrain, steep hills and muddy grassland, we finally saw our new campsite, where the staff were waiting to congratulate us. We then repeated this for three more days – laughing, crying, walking, and of course, singing our way to the final few miles. My group and I thoroughly enjoyed the expedition, and it is often everybody’s favourite part – especially the evenings spent at camp, telling other groups of funny events from the day.

All aspects of the Award allow each participants to grow into an independent young person. The sense of camaraderie, accomplishment and gratitude (and relief!) in finishing one of the most physically and emotionally challenging experiences is a feeling I would never want to change.’

February – March 2020