The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has been described as a “a life-changing experience”. It is a personal programme of activities, set up in 1956 (1958 for girls) to “inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and recognise their achievements.” It is an internationally recognised award which is highly respected by employers and universities alike. It provides the tools to develop essential skills for future life and work whilst giving students an opportunity to make new friends and experience an exhilarating adventure.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award consists of three levels:

  • Bronze - open to Year 9 students

  • Silver - open to Year 10 students

  • Gold - open to Year 12 and 13 students.

It will take between six and eighteen months to complete, depending on the level and you have until your 25th birthday to complete the award.

Each level is divided into four sections (five if you are doing Gold): volunteering, skill, physical recreation and the expedition itself. You can find more information about each activity below.

people walking with rucksacks on for there DofE


Volunteering is simple. It’s about choosing to give time to something useful, without getting paid. Volunteering could fall into one of the following categories:

  • Helping people

  • Community action and raising awareness

  • Coaching, teaching and leadership

  • Working with the environment or animals

  • Helping a charity or community organisation.


In short, physical recreation is anything that requires a sustained level of physical energy and involves doing an activity. This could fall into one of the following categories:

  • Team sports

  • Individual sports

  • Water sports

  • Racquet sports

  • Dance

  • Fitness

  • Extreme sports

  • Martial arts


A skill is something that you will need to spend time on to develop. Ultimately at the end of your timescale, you must be able to prove that you have broadened your understanding and increased your expertise in the chosen skill. Some examples include:

  • Creative arts

  • Performance arts

  • Science and technology

  • Care of animals

  • Music

  • Life skills

  • Learning and collecting

  • Media and communication

  • Natural world

  • Games and sports


The aim of the expedition section is to inspire young people to develop their initiative and a sense of adventure and discovery, by planning, training for and completing an adventurous journey as part of a team. The duration of the expedition depends on bronze, silver or gold.

  • For bronze: Students will complete 2 days and 1 night.

  • For silver: Students will complete 3 days and 2 nights.

  • For gold: Students will complete 4 days and three nights.

Interested in completing your Duke of Edinburgh Award? Watch this short presentation!

Getting Started!