For many schools preparing students to get into higher education is only part of their mission. Schools are asking us to help them offer a broad and balanced curriculum that helps prepare students for their future lives and the world of work. The demand for evidence of a student’s ability beyond the classroom was highlighted by the recent Results for Life report, published by the Prince’s Trust and HSBC, which shows that 91 percent of UK teachers think schools should do more to help pupils develop teamwork and communication skills.
Excellent schools complement the academic programme with a co-curricular programme which supports the development of what are sometimes called ‘soft skills’. One well-structured option, popular around the world, is the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. The programme is designed to challenge students in a number of ways that broaden their experience and helps them to develop compassion, resilience, teamwork and self-confidence. Students have the opportunity to develop their own skills, interests, pursue physical recreation, experience community service, and develop confidence through carefully managed adventure.
‘Taking part in The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, you have to learn how to cooperate with others. Such activities help you to not only develop your leadership but also teach you how to communicate, collaborate and negotiate in new situations.’ – Eleni, Year 12 student
Schools are supported by a well-established network and clear guidance and standards are provided. Cambridge believes that this programme provides excellent learning experiences that are complementary to our own programmes and qualifications. Just as Cambridge qualifications enjoy wide recognition, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is internationally recognised as evidence that a student has completed an excellent co-curricular programme that will have challenged them and nurtured the development of desirable character traits and qualities.
Some schools link the Duke of Edinburgh’s International award with Cambridge programmes. One excellent example of this is the Jamieson Programme at Frensham School in Australia. All the Year 9 cohort complete a diverse and challenging programme that includes the Cambridge IGCSE Global Perspectives course and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award scheme. Students experience an outdoor education camp, a caving expedition, overnight expeditions and service activities such as visiting nursing homes, environmental management and the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital Project.
‘You don’t have to do something extraordinary in your life to make a change in the world; little steps can have a big impact.’ – Sophie, Year 9 student
Do you do the Duke of Edinburgh’s international award? If so we would love to share your experiences with others through this blog.