Duke of Edinburgh Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is the UK’s leading youth achievement award and has helped countless young people all over the world to develop confidence, resilience, compassion, leadership and communication skills, and much more.

For over 70 years, the Charity has inspired and transformed the lives of millions of young people, including many Strathallan pupils, encouraging them to take part in volunteering, physical activities, life skills and expeditions.

The Award, which is divided into three progressive levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold is a fun adventure and major challenge which provides an added edge when applying for college, university or a job.

Bronze, silver and gold levels

Strathallan offers all three levels of the award. Pupils can opt to take part from Fourth Form onwards and achieve their award by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections– Volunteering, Physical, Skills, Expedition and for Gold, a Residential.

We believe in encouraging pupils to be personally responsible for earning their own award, as opposed to relying on their teachers, Housemaster/mistress or parents. So, while we support and encourage them, a key element is every pupil taking responsibility for their own progress. As a result, we see a huge sense of achievement and some real life-changing results.

Volunteering Opportunities

At Strathallan, we have a wide range of volunteering activities for our pupils to attend ranging from helping out with school duties, such as Junior Prep to gaining experience coaching other students.

Some examples of the volunteering activities are:

• Helping in the library:
During this activity, the pupils:
Help organise the library resources.
Keep the library tidy.
Help younger pupils find books for their homework.

• DofE storage:
During this activity, the pupils:
Maintain expedition equipment such as checking and cleaning stoves.
Check for missing/damaged equipment and report them so they can be replaced.
Store the equipment for easy access.

• Junior sport:
During this activity, the pupils:
Help train and play sports with the Riley pupils.
Teach new skills to Riley pupils.
Assist in the refereeing of their evening games.

• Junior study:
In this activity pupils:
Spend one hour a week helping younger pupil with their prep work.
This benefits both students as teaching often re-enforces their own understanding and learning.

• John Muir Award:
Caring for nature is, and always will be an important factor in our lives.
In this activity, pupils learn to protect and interact with nature.
They build gardens and shelters for the animals and plants living in our school.
Pupils have been working on restoring the old school grave yard and making it a better habitat for the local wildlife.

Why Duke of Edinburgh? What employers say

In a recent study by the United Learning Trust (ULT) employers were asked about the most attractive attributes for candidates. The organisations interviewed represented 12% of UK employers. The following attributes were rated the highest:

  • leadership
  • teamwork
  • self-motivation
  • communication
  • confidence
  • consideration
  • the ability to learn

76% of the organisations emphasised how important it is for schools to enable ‘life skills’ to be developed. The sample was asked what they considered to be the most important activities undertaken at school and were asked to rate them from 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest.

The top three, in order were:

  1. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (D of E)
  2. Work experience
  3. Community activities

What students say

An extensive impact research study conducted by the University of Nottingham asked DofE participants and leaders there opinions on what impact DofE had made to their lives. A summary is below. The full study is available here.

An enjoyment of community engagement

90% of young people said doing their DofE has given them opportunities to help others 

82% said it had made them want to continue with volunteering/voluntary activities

Increased physical and mental wellbeing

93% of participants feel that doing their DofE developed teamwork skills

74% of young people said they developed self-esteem

Better employability prospects

84% of young people feel they have become more responsible

80% of young people reported the ability to reflect on learning and increased self-awareness

84% cited the ability to stick at tasks until they’re complete