Well done to the Year 13s who last week completed their expedition portion of their Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Gold award. After five nights in the Brecon Beacons, the 19 students returned to school very bedraggled but also incredibly satisfied with their expedition.

This assessed expedition took place from 24-29 September and saw 19 students travel to the Brecon Beacons in Wales. As part of their assessment, they were required to spend at least eight hours “journeying” per day plus another two hours “exploring”. In reality, our students did much more than this over the course of the five nights, showing their commitment to the cause.

At the beginning of the expedition, the team were delighted with the weather – mostly dry with intermittent showers. This was good as the group explored the forest, set up camp and cooked all their own food on the campfire. However, the last day was extremely wet – with two inches of rain in 24 hours! As you can see from the photos above, though, the students maintained their smiles and showed great resilience in difficult conditions.

The group’s assessor said afterwards that the school produces the strongest Gold candidates that he sees – high praise indeed! This is the result of months of preparation to get students ready, including after-school sessions plus practice expeditions. We aim to give students a framework for them to plan independently – an important skill for the Gold award. Indeed, several of our candidates’ preparation has been rewarded with a designation as “outstanding ambassadors” – meaning that they will be heralded nationally as the best the scheme has to offer.

We would like to thank the school staff who accompanied the students on the trip and gave great support throughout. The last word, though, must go to these students – shining examples of Isleworthians with their commitment and perseverance, battling through tricky conditions to achieve their goals. We are proud to be the only school in the local area who run all three levels of the Award – Bronze (Year 9), Silver (Year 10) and Gold (Sixth Form).


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