Head of Psychology and Upper School, Mrs Shea, is the Duke of Edinburgh lead at Westonbirt and is passionate about encouraging students to grasp all that is on offer with this diverse and enriching programme. She says:
“A common misconception is that the Duke of Edinburgh Award is just about the expedition, but it is so much more! Yes, the camping and walking unaided do require resilience, but the other sections of the DofE award also encourage participants to try out activities that they would never normally do; this year students have been volunteering at the Brewery Arts Centre, learning the skill of campanology and trying out new sports such as climbing and rowing. Students certainly discover what it means to be committed to something, as well how to become excellent communicators in a range of situations. I completed all levels of the DofE when I was at school and am now privileged to be able to help others achieve their awards and to develop into proactive, well-rounded individuals.”
Currently, Westonbirt students are undertaking the award at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels with students required to volunteer, learn new skills, improve their physical fitness and undertake an expedition. For the Gold Award, participants also have to complete a residential project.
Year 13 student Charlotte who completed her Gold expedition last summer said that it was “a really big challenge, but great for pushing your limits.' She finished with a real sense of achievement and reassures future students that “although it was hard, it was also great fun.” Charlotte’s favourite part was climbing Pen Y Fan and working as a team to reach the summit.