Why the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is the most incredible legacy for our young people

The Duke of Edinburgh started the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme in 1956, inspired by his former headmaster at Gordonstoun, Dr Kurt Hahn. Some 6.7 million young people have taken part in the award scheme to date.

It takes about six months for most participants to complete the four sections of the bronze award: volunteering, a physical challenge, developing a skill and taking part in an expedition, which usually consists of two days of walking and a night of camping. The silver and gold awards are more challenging and take longer to complete.

When the news of The Duke's death reached the public arena, many celebrities and Duke of Edinburgh's Award participants shared the value of the awards to them personally:

"Through the Award, I gained the confidence that I can do anything I want to" Hannah Cockroft MBE

"I learned so many skills from doing the DofE. It shaped me a lot, it made me a much more positive person and I was able to engage with people." Dame Kelly Holmes

These sentiments are shared by our community here at Royal Hospital School.

As a Duke of Edinburgh's Award accredited centre, we help over 100 pupils each year to complete their awards at bronze, silver or gold level. We see for ourselves the resilience, courage and confidence taking part in the scheme gives young people. Vitally each level of the award requires some community service which is part of the DNA of our school.


Jonathon Pooley, Head of CCF at Royal Hospital School said, "The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is so much more than just something to add to our CV or University application form. It teaches our pupils crucial life skills such as teamwork and how to overcome challenges which are vital when they emerge into the real world as adults."

Covid has affected the scheme but here at Royal Hospital School we have found ways to continue working with our pupils on their progress. Pupils have gained certificates in the skills and volunteering elements of their awards and we have completed 'expeditions' on the school grounds and will be running further expeditions off site in the summer term when the government guidance allows. All of the pupils' hard work will pay off.

During lockdown many pupils went above and beyond to complete the volunteering sections of their awards. Alys C volunteered with Families in Need Ipswich, Georgie S ran a pen pal befriending scheme for senior citizens during lockdown, Tom L raised almost £700 for British Heart Foundation during lockdown and Jack R delivered cakes, bakes and ready meals to local elderly residents. Just a few examples of the great contributions pupils are making to the wider community.

Our Headmaster, Simon Lockyer said, " our primary aim for pupils is giving them the best and broadest education we can. We feel that equipping them with confidence, courage and resilience are really important elements of developing their character if they're to thrive when they leave us. The Duke of Edinburgh Award delivers this in abundance. Every year dozens of our pupils engage in the DofE scheme and we are proud to continue the wonderful work that the Duke started so many years ago."

Carrick from Year 12 reflects on what The Duke of Edinburgh's Award has given him:

"D of E has encouraged independence in me by making me travel across the country by myself multiple times, and team work by planning routes and food as a group for the expedition. I've also gained life skills such as leadership through volunteering (by being a leader at scouts), and confidence in my own abilities (through the skill section) by achieving grade five ABRSM saxophone in under a year from no knowledge of the instrument."


Royal Hospital School supports pupils in achieving their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. The scheme is open to all pupils.


Find out more about the opportunities at our school by joining us on one of our open days or events. Click

https://www.royalhospitalschool.org/admissions/ope... to find out more.