The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme at Sydenham School 

The Award is a challenging programme of activities that will help the young person to learn new skills, help others and experience adventure. It will provide the student with a great sense of achievement. In addition to this many organisations such as employers and universities take a good view of the Award and what it says about the person who has achieved it. What is the Award?

What does it involve?

There are three levels – bronze, silver, and gold. For each, you complete activities in four sections – volunteering, skills, physical and expeditions. At the Gold level, you also take part in a Residential Project. In each section there is a wide range of options that can be chosen from or the young person can find other similar activities that interest them. This can be something entirely new or you can continue with an activity that is already enjoyed. The award is about having a go. It’s not a competition – it just needs a bit of enterprise and perseverance.

Who is it for?

The Award is open to anyone between the age of 14 and 25 years. Special qualifications are not needed, just a willingness to have a go. At Sydenham students can complete the Bronze award in Year 9 and the Silver award in years 10 and 1. Next year we are hoping to enrol students onto the Gold award in year 12.

  • What will the student get out of it?
  • self-belief
  • sense of identity
  • sense of responsibility
  • new talents and abilities
  • ability to plan and use time effectively
  • skills including problem-solving, presentation and communication
  • understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses
  • self-confidence
  • independence – of thought and action
  • awareness of potential
  • new relationships
  • ability to lead and work as part of a team
  • ability to learn from and give to others in the community
The key principles of the Award are :
  • Non-competitive – a personal challenge, not a competition.
  • Available to all – anyone can do it
  • Voluntary – it’s up to the individual what they do – it’s their ‘leisure time’.
  • Flexible – each programme is designed specifically for each person.
  • Balanced – it will stretch the young person in all directions.
  • Progressive – you improve at your own pace.
  • Achievement focused
  • Marathon, not a sprint – it takes more than a short burst of enthusiasm.
  • Personal development – it’s the taking part that matters.
  • Enjoyable –it’s about getting out there and having fun!
How long will it take? 

Students have until their 25th birthday to complete any of the awards, but it takes at least 6 months to achieve Bronze, at least 6 months at Silver, and at least 12 months at Gold. The minimum time requirements are expressed in months during which there should be regular commitment averaging at least an hour a week.

Bronze Award (14+ Years or in the School year in which your peer group turn 14)
Volunteering Skills Physical  Expedition


3 Months 3 Months Plan, prepare and undertake 2 two day, one night expeditions.

All participants must undertake a further 3 months in either the volunteering, skills or physical section.

Volunteering Skills Physical  Expedition
6 Months Either 3 months or 6 months Either 3 months or 6 months based on preference for skills Plan, prepare and undertake 2 three day, two night expeditions.

People who do not have the Bronze Award must undertake a further 6 months in either the volunteering or the longer of the skills or physical sections.

Gold Award (16+ Years)
Volunteering Skills/Physical  Expedition Residential
12 Months One section for 12 months and the other section for 6 months Plan, prepare for and undertake 2, four day, three night expeditions Undertake a shared activity in a residential setting away from home for 5 days and 4 nights.

Participants who do not have the Silver Award must undertake a further 6 months in either the volunteering or the longer of the skills or physical sections.

useful links