Action and adventure are a big part of Abingdon life. The DofE Award Scheme is very popular with boys sailing, canoeing and walking their expeditions in some of the most beautiful scenery that the UK has to offer. In addition to a myriad of subject-related trips for languages, history, classics, science, music and sports tours we also offer exciting opportunities to explore the globe: trekking, volunteering, climbing, sailing and carrying out research.
Duke of Edinburgh's Award
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme is a nationally recognised scheme and is the single most sought after non-academic qualification with UK employers. It consists of three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold and within each level there are four component parts: Skill, Service, Physical recreation and Expeditions. At Gold there is a fifth section, Residential.
Each year approximately 225 boys sign up for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award at Abingdon School. The school run all their expeditions in house using teachers as supervisors to give the boys the extra support and mentoring that adds value to the experience. By completing the Duke of Edinburgh's Award boys demonstrate their team work, commitment and organisational skills; and as a package it gives them the life experiences that develop them into well rounded young men.
There are four Sections in the Award: Service, Physical, Skills and Expedition. Participants will need to show commitment and determination to organise their activities, and will need to do two of the first three Sections for at least three months and one for at least six months. However, with the wealth of Other Half activities on offer it is usually possible to complete these requirements in school.
For the Expedition section, initial training takes place in the fourth year during the Lent term. Planning sessions and the expeditions themselves follow in the Lent and Summer terms. It is vital that participants attend all these commitments, which are advertised well in advance. The skills covered on expeditions will be learned in real situations and should remain of use throughout life. Boys may also complete their expedition phase by canoe or by sailing. Numbers for this activity are limited.
The Bronze level of the award usually takes about a year, but is not time-bound and can extend for longer if needed.
Silver and Gold Awards
The Silver and Gold levels of the award allow participants to build on the skills and abilities they have gained from the Bronze level and apply them in more challenging situations. At Gold the assessed expeditions are normally run in remote areas of the Scottish Highlands.
At Gold we offer boys three methods to complete their expedition: walking, canoeing or sailing. Numbers for latter two activities are limited.
Lower School Adventure Trips
The aim of the first year trip is to allow the boys the opportunity to experience a wide range of outdoor activities and team building exercises within a purpose-built centre. The activities include abseiling, archery, climbing, a high ropes course and quad-biking.
The second year trip provides the opportunity to take things a stage further and includes similar activities to the first year trip, plus canoeing, gorge-walking and hill-walking – all in their natural environment within the Brecon Beacons. Both trips are residential and are organised with fully-qualified instruction.
The school has a strong tradition of embarking on challenging and adventurous trips and expeditions to various parts of the globe. They are for anyone interested in trekking and experiencing new cultures and climates. Trips have included: expeditions to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Madagascar and throughout Europe. Boys have also experienced dog sledging and cross-country skiing in the Arctic and cosmonaut training in Russia.
In the most recent trip to Madagascar boys spent one week in the jungle working with research scientists to study jungle species and record ecology data. The second week was spent learning about coral reef ecology and studying the species that make up the coral reef while scuba diving.
The trips are designed to be challenging, both mentally and physically, with boys taking responsibility for much of the organisation themselves (both before and during the trip). It is hoped the boys will develop their leadership skills and ability to work as a team during the expeditions. With many trips boys are asked to raise a substantial portion of the cost of the trip themselves.