Beaumont College has a team of seven students working towards achieving their Gold level for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. It is the first group to attempt this level of the Award and all were very keen and committed to take up the challenge.
Back in February Half Term they had an energetic week away at Calvert Trust in the Lake District, as part of the Residential Section for their Award. It gave them an amazing opportunity to work together as a team prior to the Expeditions planned for this summer. The students and staff who supported the adventure were tested to participate in a High Ropes courses and Zip wires, horse riding, rock climbing, swimming, orienteering and Bush craft activities. It was a fun and fast week with each student learning the individual needs and best support strategies for each other. They were excited for the future challenge of Expedition.
Since lock down the Expeditions have had to be put on hold which caused worry for the students. Some remain at home with family and others living residentially at college. This great excitement and build up had, in a way been deflated. However the focus has now been diverted back to the other sections of the Award. They still have 6 – 12 months left of their Sections to complete in developing a Skill, taking part in a weekly Physical activity and helping others with a volunteering task.
With supporting students and their families to refocus on their DofE and encouraging them to continue the Section activities has presented some wonderful feedback. Initially there was anxiety from students and families that they wouldn’t get chance to complete their Gold Award. This was having an impact of student’s motivation and wellbeing. It is a big part of their time at college to be involved in the Award and they had been working so hard. With a refreshed purpose and goal to work towards, students started to engage in daily activity with improved motivation.
One student, Harry has been walking to his allotment and watering the plants he has been growing. This is his Volunteering Section as he will be sharing what he grows with others. He and his mum have been gathering evidence for his Award, taking photos and writing up gardening tasks. He has also been spending more time outdoors with his brother on their rugby skills for his Physical Section. His mum reports that the whole household are finding the routine beneficial as they get up early to stick to the allotment visits. Harry is focusing less time worrying about the news and enjoying his daily tasks, through which he feels he is making progress.
Other students have been using their daily exercise time to cycle and recording this towards their Physical Section activity. Four of the students have completed Sections of their Award, for which they gain a Sectional Certificate. These have been either posted or presented to them to reward their hard work and keep the motivation going.
Although the pandemic has brought about drastic change in some cases, these students are find a way to carry on with their activities which give them familiarity and routine. Anxiety levels are reported to have reduced and focus restored for some. Such positive examples of commitment and motivation towards achieving their DofE Awards.