The Duke of Edinburgh Award Experience | Portsmouth High School

The Duke of Edinburgh Award Experience

The Duke of Edinburgh Award is the world’s leading achievement award for young people.


The Duke of Edinburgh Award provides a balanced programme of activities that develops the whole person – mind, body and soul – in an environment of social interaction and team working. Girls progress through three levels of Duke of Edinburgh programmes to achieve a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.

Taking part builds confidence and develops self-esteem.  It requires persistence, commitment and has a lasting impact on the attitudes and outlook of all young people who do their Duke of Edinburgh Award. The award is held in high esteem by universities and employers.

Girls achieve an award by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections – volunteering (unpaid service to individuals or the community), physical (improving in an area of sport, dance or fitness), skills

(developing practical and social skills and personal interests) and expedition (planning, training for and completion of an adventurous journey in the UK or abroad). At PHS Silver and Bronze expeditions use our wonderful local countryside and take place in the South Downs, New Forest and on the Isle of Purbeck.  For our Gold Expeditions we travel further afield to the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia and in 2014 our pupils went to Morocco.

Portsmouth High School is a Directly Licenced Centre and holds a licence to deliver Duke of Edinburgh Award programmes to young people on its own premises. The award is launched at the end of Year 9 and girls start their bronze level in Year 10 and can go on to silver and gold. The award is very popular at the school with over 100 pupils taking part each year.

Rosie Tredray for web

Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award – Rosie Tredray

I had heard from older girls that the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award provides you with exciting and rewarding opportunities and I found myself in complete agreement with them once I started on my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.

I wanted to take up the Duke of Edinburgh Award because I enjoy camping and going for walks, and there is no better time to do these things than on a weekend away with your best friends! I started at the beginning of Year 10 and I am currently about to enter the Sixth Form and embark on my Silver Award having completed Bronze.

I had great fun completing the additional aspects of the Duke of Edinburgh Award aside from the expedition which are a physical activity, volunteering and learning a skill. For six months I recorded my physical activity focussed on dance (ballet, tap, modern and contemporary) and worked towards my dance school’s annual show.

I volunteered coaching girls aged 8-13 in dance which helped me to improve my leadership and communication skills, I see this as invaluable experience. My skill was my LAMDA Speech and Drama lessons. I completed my Grade 5 Spoken English with Distinction and started working towards my Grade 6 Speaking in Public examination promoting confidence and the very useful life skill of public speaking.

My expedition took place in the New Forest. I had great fun navigating, cooking and pitching tents and burning pasta with my group! During the two days we created a video diary for our assessment and to remember the event which perfectly highlights the fun that we had.

It is impossible to choose the single best thing about the Duke of Edinburgh Award because every aspect is thoroughly enjoyable, from beginning to end you are learning new skills. The transition from novice to being able to cope alone and be self-sufficient in an unknown environment seems completely seamless, you only realise how far you have come when you reflect on the experience as a whole.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award has given me the confidence to know that I can overcome any obstacles, such as having a fence built across a path that you intended to walk along! I can work confidently in a team, navigate and can do it all while having an amazing time!

Chloe cut out

Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award – Chloe Cook-Richardson

When I began my Duke of Edinburgh journey in Year 9 I never believed I would be able to complete my Gold Award. Between all of the expeditions and all the skills I have developed, I can say it has been one of the best experiences of my life.

For my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award I developed flute playing as my skill and have just played in the scholars and leavers concert at the end of the school year. I also developed my trampolining coaching and completed a course to become a qualified Level 1 Coach. For my sport I also did trampolining and got to compete at the regional finals this year.

To complete the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award you must also complete a five day residential with nobody you know which was one of the parts I was dreading. However I went on a conservation and activity week in Surrey and although I managed to break my thumb it was one of the best weeks I have ever experienced and I made so many friends I am still in contact with now.

I have always felt that whenever my group specifically completed our expeditions the weather was particularly challenging from scorching heat to the coldest temperatures of the year, and gold expeditions were no different. On our practice in the Brecon Beacons it never stopped raining but the weather was a little better for our assessed expedition.

I completed my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award in November 2014 and in January 2015 I went up to St James’s palace in London to collect my award. Although I was excited for the day I was nervous as many of the people there were older than me as I was only 17 at the time. However I had a great day and was really proud of myself for achieving such a prestigious award. I would really recommend doing the Duke of Edinburgh Award as I know the memories will remain with me for the rest of my life.



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Portsmouth High School is part of the Girls Day School Trust

The Girls’ Day School Trust, 100 Rochester Row, London SW1P 1JP
Tel 020 7393 6666