Duke of Edinburgh

We have a thriving Duke of Edinburgh Award programme at Parkside Community College with about 70 students working towards their Bronze and Silver Awards.  Participants are engaged in a whole range of activities from cooking and origami to coaching tennis, football and rowing.  As well as walking and camping locally, we also run expeditions in the Chilterns and the Peak District. 

What is it? 

A life-changing experience. A fun time with friends. An opportunity 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 programme is many things to many people, supporting generations to successfully navigate adult life. 

14-24 year-olds can do a DofE programme at one of three progressive levels which, when successfully completed, leads to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. 

There are four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver level then five at Gold. They involve helping the community/environment; becoming fitter; developing new skills; planning, training for and completing an expedition; and, for Gold only, working with a team on a residential activity. 

Any young person can do their DofE – regardless of ability, gender, background or location. Achieving an Award isn’t a competition or about being first. It’s all about setting personal challenges and pushing personal boundaries. 

Through a DofE programme young people have fun, make friends, improve their self-esteem and build confidence. They gain essential skills and attributes for work and life such as resilience, problem-solving, team-working, communication and drive, all of which will enhance CVs and uni or job applications. Top employers recognise the work-ready skills which Award holders bring to their business. 

The DofE licenses organisations (such as schools, colleges, youth groups and clubs that work with young people) to run DofE programmes. Through the Licensed Organisation (LO) young people (or their parents/carers) pay for a Participation Place and are supported through their programmes by Leaders who help them to choose their activities, set their objectives and achieve their Award. 

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a registered charity, funded by donations, participation fees and licences. The charity works with LOs across the UK to increase opportunities for young people to gain the benefits of doing their DofE. 

Why do it? 

For the hundreds of thousands of young people who take part each year, the benefits of achieving a DofE Award at any level are endless. DofE is about helping you along the path to a productive and prosperous future. As many of our participants say, it’s life-changing. 

Achieving an Award will give you skills, confidence and an edge over others when you apply for college, university or a job. Beyond your academic achievements, universities want to see evidence of so called ‘soft skills’ that you have developed through extra-curricular activities, such as communication, commitment, leadership and teamwork. Your DofE Award is a fantastic way to demonstrate and evidence these skills in practice. 

You’ll also make a difference to other people’s lives and your community; be fitter and healthier; make new friends; and have memories to last you a lifetime. Our participants also tell us that doing their DofE builds their confidence and resilience, which boosts their mental health and wellbeing and helps them overcome personal challenges.   

How old do I need to be? 

Bronze – 14+ years 

Silver – 15+ years 

Gold – 16+ years 


There are three levels of programme which, when successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The main differences between them are the minimum length of time it takes to complete them, how challenging it is and the minimum age you can start. 

Activities for each DofE section take a minimum of one hour a week over a set period of time, so they can be fitted around academic study, hobbies and social lives. Development and regular progress must be shown and all activities must be completed by the participant’s 25th birthday. 

Depending on your age, you are free to start at any level but most people prefer to start at Bronze and work upwards. 

How much will it cost? 

The DofE endeavours to keep your costs down so the current Welcome Pack, including the participation fee, costs around £30. There are additional costs for the expedition.  All particpants chose their own programme of activities to follow for the volunteering, fitness and skills sections.  Depending on your selection there may be additional costs involved.  For instance, if you choose to swim regularly to increase your fitness then you will need to pay the pool entrance fee.  However, if you chose to improve your fitness by running, then that would be a free activity.  There are many after-school clubs organised by the school which can count towards the different sections of the award.  Joining one of these clubs would keep these additional costs to a minimum.

For further information go to: https://www.dofe.org/