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Gold Award

Registration: September
Who:  Year 12 students who have completed previous D of E Awards and students new to school who have not had the opportunity to participate in the Award previously.
Person in charge:  Mr Chris Gibbs

The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award recognises long term commitment in a number of activities.  Each participant has to complete a period of time in a voluntary capacity, skill and physical activity.  The length of time varies but is normally from six to 12 months (eighteen months if a direct entrant).

In addition candidates have to complete a week's residential course (Independently arranged) and a four-day expedition on foot.  

(Candidates have until they are 25 years of age to complete, although with years of experience we encourage completions before leaving the school).

Each level is broken into sections.  The Skills section is normally a hobby or non-physical activity.  The Voluntary section is normally a service to the community/a person in need or a uniformed service activity.  The Physical is a sporting activity.  Finally, the Expedition section is four days in length and can be completed by foot, canoe, kayak, horse, mountain bike or boat. If the students complete their expedition section with school it will be completed on foot.

In addition, the Gold level of the Award has a section called Residential.  This section encourages a young person to live away from home within a community for a period of five consecutive days.

All the students receive a comprehensive brief of the Gold Award at their initial briefing.


The Award Scheme has a strong ethos of Self Motivation and Personal Organisation and all the students are asked to uphold these values and support the Award in this way.  Essentially this means that the onus is on the student.  Obviously students will need support and mentoring, but on the whole it is something they should sort out independently.  Employers regard the award highly as it is such a good measure of personal responsibility and commitment.

Voluntary work – painting and decorating skills in the D of E centre.

Cost  £330

This is divided into 3 sections:

  • £28 Registration Fee
  • £265 Expedition x 2: This includes; use of group kit and navigational equipment, transport, overnight costs for practice expedition plus the assessors fee for the actual expedition and instructor and training fees
  • £7 Resource materials


These sessions are usually run as a lunchtime or after school activity. They are staffed by members of staff who have a keen interest in the outdoors and recognise the benefits that D of E has to offer.

The sessions include, all the theory training including first aid, incident management, kit packing, kit care, cooking and nutrition on the mountains, mountain hazards, team work, basic and advanced navigation, navigation in poor conditions and much more. 

Additional costs may be incurred depending on what Service, Skill and Physical activities a student undertakes.  These can be almost minimal if activities are confined to school activities.


Changing an activity - The Award Scheme allows a candidate to change one activity once during the commitment period.  This is useful for pupils that are involved in a seasonal sport for example.

Marathon not a Race - A major part of the Award is to show commitment over a long period of time - be it 12 or eighteen months.  If a student chooses an activity for a period, they need to show commitment for that whole period working an average of one hour per week.  There are some activities like volunteering with the National Trust take for example one day per month.  This is acceptable with special permission. 

Record keeping – Students are provided with a Participants Hand Book, which has sections to be completed. They are also provided with an on line account known as e D of E. All their activities must be recorded on their e D of E site and a written assessors report MUST be uploaded in order for the section to be completed. Without this evidence the Award cannot be signed off by school or the local authority.

Residential - The residential rules are quite clear, and I brief the candidates quite thoroughly on what is acceptable.  The activity must be for five days, four consecutive nights.  The activity must not be for monetary gain, and accommodation must be within a community.  A hotel is not acceptable.

Can't make a School Expedition – In order to complete the expedition section students must complete the practice and actual expedition. If there is a problem with the dates students can access an open expedition which is run by external providers and companies can be found on the internet. 

Failure to hand in an Expedition Project - This is a real sticking point!  Having spent money on the Expedition Section and arduous days in the hills doesn't mean the section is complete.  The Assessment Expedition has to follow with a presentation to the assessor or group leader after the expedition. (Usually at the beginning of the Autumn term). This is covered in the initial brief and more information can be found on the Award Website.

Back-dating Activities - The Award accepts that some candidates have participated in activity prior to starting the Award.  It will (with advance warning) allow back-dating for up to three months on special occasions.  This is a privilege however and not recommended.

Dates - Please ensure all dates fit as required.  The computer will spit them out otherwise.  For example, start dates must not be before the minimum age of entry.  Start dates must be after the sign up date unless special permission to back-date has been obtained.  Finish dates must be after the commitment period for the activity.  Expedition training dates must be filled in and the training signed off prior to an assessment expedition (as this could invalidate insurance).

Insurance - All pupils engaged in school activities are insured by the schools' very comprehensive insurance.  All pupils that are in possession of a correctly filled out record book and registration ID number are insured by the Award Scheme whilst on recognised Award Activities.  This insurance is very basic and details can be sought from the Award website.


Pupils and students will get training on expedition packing and preparation prior to their expeditions. Expensive group items will be provided by school.  A comprehensive kit list can be found on the D of E website.


As with all things there is an element of risk in all parts of the Award, however every effort is made to minimise risk. Risk assessments are compiled prior to every expedition, and a process of dynamic risk management is ongoing throughout an expedition.


On completion of the Award, the student will be asked to complete an online GAP (Gold Award Presentation) form.  This will be despatched to the Award HQ in Windsor where the information will be processed.  Sadly, with the number of completions it can take up to 18 months before the student will get an invitation to the Palace to collect their certificate.


If you have any further questions, and you can’t find the relevant information on the Award website, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Periodically I shall invite candidates to make an appointment to update me of their progress.


Consent forms will be sent out prior to the expedition.  This ensures that relevant medical and contact information is current and up to date.

All students receive a comprehensive brief of the Gold Award at their initial briefing.

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