An impressive 31 students at a Weymouth school overcame the obstacles created by lockdown and coronavirus to secure Duke of Edinburgh badges.

Their efforts have also seen them awarded special certificates in recognition of their achievements.

Three pupils from Budmouth Academy secured their Gold award with the remaining 28 completing the first leg of their DofE journey by picking up a Bronze award.

In a normal year, students would set their own objectives, goals and aims across four different areas: Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition. Those striving for gold have an additional Residential category.

Due to the pandemic many of the students have been unable to complete the expedition or residential sections of the award. However, in recognition of their resilience and determination, the DofE introduced a special Certificate of Achievement last summer (June 2020). It has been made available to any young person who completes their Skills, Volunteering and Physical sections at Bronze, Silver or Gold.

Article published in the Dorset Echo

Geography teacher Sam Temple, the DofE co-ordinator at Budmouth Academy said she was very proud of her students for the dedication and commitment they displayed despite the obstacles encountered by the pandemic and lockdown.

She said: ‘’I feel very proud of my students. They have persevered under exceptional circumstances by choosing to start their Duke of Edinburgh journey during lockdown. The students adapted to the demands of the pandemic by volunteering to make a difference in their communities from shopping for their neighbours or in many instances siblings have helped their younger sisters or brothers with home schooling. The pandemic has been a great lesson in resilience.’’

Martha Brown & Alfie Swindell

A-level student Martha Brown, 18, achieved her Gold award. She said: ‘’The Duke of
Edinburgh programme has changed my life for the better. It has given me life skills and improved my confidence. I’ve learnt to speak Spanish, I travelled to Ecuador in 2019 before lockdown and I volunteered with the CCF (Combined Cadet Force) to help the younger recruits.’’

Alfie Swindell, 14, completed his Bronze award and said: ‘’I’m now a lot healthier and fitter than I was before and I’ve enjoyed volunteering with my local cubs group. It has definitely improved my confidence.’’