John Mason School is committed to supporting students in KS4 achieving and engaging with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. This is a nationally recognised award that challenges students to take part in activities in four areas; Volunteering, Skills, Physical and Expedition. The award tests resilience and resourcefulness, the completion of the award is favourably viewed by employers and college admissions tutors. These skills also are invaluable in meeting the demands of GCSE and A Level exams.
Year 9 and 10 - The Bronze Award
All students will be encouraged to take part in the award, supported by a full Tutor Programme with advice and guidance from staff at all the main points. Each section of the Bronze Award needs to be sustained for 3-6 months.
Volunteering – Students will use one tutor time session a week to plan for volunteering. This may include delivering a lunchtime club or finding opportunities in the community i.e. litter picking/charity work, to complete outside of school hours.
Skills – Students will be given support in finding a skill to learn, they will be given either instructions or practice time for one session a fortnight so that they can meet the requirement of showing progress.
Physical - Students will be encouraged to think about their health and physical fitness by finding alternative activities outside of school or extra-curricular activities within school.
Expedition - The expedition section will take place at the end of Year 10, they will train for the expedition element for one tutor time a fortnight. During a full day of camp craft training students will receive instruction on all skills required to undertake an assessed, two day, self-sufficient camping expedition in May. Training for all students will be a compulsory part of the Tutor Programme, but participation in the actual expedition will be optional.
Year 11 - The Silver Award
All students in Year 11 are given the option of participating in the Silver Award. Unlike in Year 10, the expectation on commitment and organisation shifts onto the shoulders of the students. The same components will be tested, but students will be expected to organise this themselves.
Volunteering – They need to sustain this for six months.
Skills - They need to sustain involvement in this for a period of 3-6 months.
Physical – They need to commit to the chosen activity for a period of three or six months.
Expedition – Students will receive the training for the expedition element for one DEAR time session a week. They will attend a training day of training to develop navigation skills. They will undertake a practice expedition of three days and two nights in April on the Jurassic Coast, and an assessed expedition in the Forest of Dean in July.
Year 12 - The Gold Award
All students in Year 12 are given the option of participating in the Gold Award. They are given a higher level of support than at the Silver level but are still given the independence and opportunity to choose their own section programmes. The length of each section is dependent on whether the Silver Award was achieved, if this has not been achieved, then the participant must undertake a further 6 months in the Volunteering section or the Physical and Skills that would previously have lasted 12 months.
Volunteering - Must be sustained for a minimum of twelve months.
Physical and Skills – One of these must be sustained for twelve months while the other must be sustained for 6 months.
Expedition - Students will receive training for the expedition element for one timetabled session a fortnight. They will get instructions in all the skills required to undertake two self-sufficient, canoe and camping expeditions. A three day practice expedition in April and a five day assessed expedition in May. They will need to attend a full day of canoe training, often during September or October, with our provider, Adventure Beyond.
Residential – Students are required to complete a five day, four night residential expedition, undertaking a shared activity or specific course with people they do not know, away from home in an unfamiliar environment. We have found that the National Citizen Service (NCS) provides the ideal opportunity.