STUDENTS at The Wey Valley School have exceeded expectations this year with ‘remarkable achievements’ in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme.

A total of 120 Valley students entered the scheme in 2015 – representing 40 per cent of the school’s Year 10 and 11 pupils.

Elsewhere in the UK this figure was just four per cent.

The Wey Valley students also achieved a completion rate of 71 per cent, more than double the national completion rate of 30 per cent.

Ten pupils earned the highest-ranking gold Duke of Edinburgh award, with 42 accomplishing the silver award and 48 the bronze award.

Mark Salmon, head of PE at Wey Valley, said: “The students who have taken up this challenge are a special group, and what they’ve learnt in the process will help them develop into more rounded, confident adults.

“I’m particularly impressed by those who persevered to complete all three levels of the award – this is an amazing achievement.”

Mr Salmon said that Wey Valley is delighted to have such a high DoE take-up, because the awards are valued by colleges, universities and employers, as well as providing the participants with a raft of new skills and experiences.

The DoE Award, which is aimed at young people between the ages of 14 and 24, is achieved by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections.

Mr Salmon added: “Our students take part in a diverse range of activities across all sections from helping at charity shops, to zumba, karting and sports leadership.

“The DoE scheme challenges them to help other people, get fitter, develop skills and go on expeditions.

“Every aspect is an adventure and the way our students meet the challenges they choose is inspiring.

“The expedition element is always a favourite part of the awards. The students learn key skills of navigation, first aid, camp craft, cooking and working as a team as well as independently.”

Wey Valley students taking the bronze award visited the Fleet and the Milton Abbas area, those taking silver visited the Quantock Hills in Somerset and students taking the gold award visited Nepal, the Brecon Beacons, the Purbecks, the Lake District and Sweden.

Georgia Brooke-Potter, in Year 10, said: “The camping and walking was excellent, with great team work needed for things like map reading.”

Classmate Carla Harper said the group discovered new talents and abilities, including problem-solving, presentation skills, and leadership and team-working skills.

This is the 20th year The Wey Valley School has entered students for the DoE scheme.

Previous participants have been inspired to progress to longer and more challenging expeditions, working in partnership with The Dorset Expeditionary Society.


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