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Canons High School

Our Duke of Edinburgh Adventure is Alive and Kicking!

The Canons High Duke of Edinburgh Scheme is Up and Running again, and properly kicked off with a modest but very important first practice expedition.

Our active participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, along with everybody else's,  came to an abrupt halt when the whole country was forced to a stop by the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic... and it's unfortunately taken until this summer to get things up and running again.


Let's Get This Show on the Road!

On Friday 21st June, twenty eight Year 10 and 12 students undertook their practice expedition for their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. 

They started the day in groups and worked together to pack everything they needed for the hike. They had to complete a walk using nothing more than a map, a compass and a pre-planned route which they had studied and decided upon. No mobile phones allowed (unless it's a real emergency!) They then came back to Canons and spent the afternoon learning how to put up their tents, organise a campsite and how to cook using a camping gas stove. 

The weather was kind to our group, not too hot and not too cold, and it didn't rain despite some very threatening looking black clouds.

Our Duke of Edinburgh Coordinator is now Mr J Benstead, PE Teacher and member of the Faculty of Sport, Health & Wellbeing. He was very pleased at how this first event went but summed it up by how the students themselves were feeling.

"They had a lot of fun and were all tired by the end of the day!"



Just ignore those massive dark clouds behind you!







Mr Conway with one of the groups.



After all the exertion of the trek and making camp, everyone was looking forward to a hot meal, even if they had to make it themselves. But this was any area where many of the students surprised even themselves. Teacher and volunteer DofE 'Trail Master' Mr A Conway said...




 "I witnessed and was hugely impressed by the range of skills deployed, from teamwork to tent-making.

All food tastes great when you're hungry

and cooking with a small portable gas stove, but a certain team's 'smashed burgers' were Michelin Star standard!"




When you are cooking at home there is very little chance of your cooker falling over. The same is not true when cooking on a small camping stove. Site Manager and DofE Group Leader Mr J Patterson ensured our students took extra care not to watch their hotly anticipated hot food topple over and roll into the long grass!       
Huge thanks to all the staff members who volunteered to become Group Leaders on this practice expedition, Mr J Patterson, Mr A Conway, Miss S Snyder, Miss M Gilbertson and Miss H Dabasia; plus of course, our DofE Coordinator Mr J Benfield for getting this great scheme up and running again. 


  What is the DofE?

  • A life-changing experience.
  • An opportunity to have fun with friends.
  • A chance to discover new interests and talents.
  • A tool to develop essential skills for life and work.
  • A recognised mark of achievement, respected by employers.

The DofE is many things to many people, supporting generations to successfully navigate life.


It all started out...

...back in 1956 when Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (our late queen's husband), initiated a youth awards programme in the UK. It recognised young people for completing a series of self improvement exercises.

It has now expanded to 144 nations but its essence is still the same, to allow young people to undergo various challenges which will bring them new skills, confidence and self-belief, whilst making new friendships, discovering themselves and having fun!


It's a lot more than just tents and walking boots!

Today's DofE Award scheme runs at three different levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold.

Images of young people striding across dramatic countryside with rucksacks on their backs come to mind, but the overnight trekking and camping challenges are only one part of each award.


Each level of the DofE Award consists of a ...



A period of volunteering - this could be Community Action and Raising Awareness, helping a charity or community organisation, working with the environment or animal or coaching, teaching and leadership. 


  • SKILLS Section

Developing a new skill - this could be a Performing Art, Science & Technology, Care of Animals, Music, Natural World or Games & Recreation. 


  • PHYSICAL Section

Undertaking physical activity - this could be an individual or team sport, martial art, dance or fitness. 


  • EXPEDITION Section

Going on an expedition - this could be as far away or as close to home as suits your group. It will involve route planning, map reading & overnight camping including setting up camp and cooking your own hot meal.

Teamwork and support will be essential in this section, both physically and sometimes emotionally. It can be challenging but then that is all ;part of it. Participant discover they can do more than they imagined.

You will also undertake special tasks and mini-projects of your choosing whilst on your expedition.


Full guidance, suggestions and explanations can be found on the very good official Duke of Edinburgh DofE website. CLICK HERE to visit.

What next?

For the Silver and Gold awards, commitment, duration and dedication get considerably harder, PLUS an additional Residential section is required for the ultimate Gold award.