DofE is a popular choice at Ditcham Park School with the majority of pupils in Forms 3, 4 and 5 taking part and completing Bronze and Silver, and moving on to complete Gold.
There are four sections at Bronze and Silver level: Volunteering, Skills, Physical and Expedition. Further information about DofE in general can be found at www.dofe.org.
Pupils choose a variety of activities for the Volunteering Section at Ditcham including helping with local and school sports clubs, charity shops, Scouts and Guides, neighbours in need including elderly (e.g. gardening, dog walking), the disabled (e.g. Riding for the Disabled); animal rescue centres, local libraries, homes for the elderly, local conservation groups, nurseries and infant schools; or raising funds for charity by taking part in sponsored challenges (sponsored bike rides and runs) or organising a stall at a local fete (e.g. toy stall), or collecting recyclable items (such as used printer cartridges, stamps and mobile phones); managing the DofE Kit store, checking the school’s first aid kits, monitoring footpaths in the local area… the list is endless!
The activities undertaken for the Skills Section are also diverse. The most popular choices are music, drama, cookery, cycle maintenance, art, IT (including web design and computer programming), dressmaking, photography, model-making, and animal welfare.
A wide choice of sporting or individual fitness activities, held either inside or outside school, are taken up to fulfil the requirements of the Physical Section.
Training for the Expedition Section starts in Form 3 with a 6-hour Comprehensive First Aid Course. Training continues in Form 4 with a series of hikes, a Practice and a Final Assessed Expedition. Pupils are given the rare opportunity to wild camp during Bronze, thanks to a special agreement with the Forestry Commission.
At Silver Level, pupils complete a Night Navigation Challenge before taking part in a Practice Expedition and a Final Assessed Expedition. At Ditcham, pupils are able to take part in hiking, cycling, canoeing or horseback DofE Expeditions.
The areas used for Bronze and Silver expeditions have included South Downs, Isle of Purbeck, New Forest, River Wye, Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean, and Brecon Beacons.
The DofE at Ditcham is fortunate and thankful to have an energetic team of volunteer qualified DofE Instructors some of whom are members of staff, or current and past parents, and without whom we would not be able to offer DofE to all pupils who wish to take part.
Pupils who enjoy DofE and wish to extend the challenge further are encouraged to apply for expedition places with British Exploring www.britishexploring.org