At Cottingham High School, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) program offers an incredible opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the outdoors. Not only does it provide a refreshing break from the classroom, but it also offers profound benefits for mental health and physical stamina. Engaging in activities like hiking and camping creates resilience and improves skills in the outdoors.

In preparation, students meticulously planned their routes for the three-day hike, considering factors like terrain, distance, and landmarks. Additionally, they had to carefully strategise their food supplies, mindful of the limited space in their backpacks. They also had to take into account what the weather would be like making sure to pack appropriately. They were also trained to know what to do if someone injured themselves and how to help them without putting their self in danger.

One student commented “DofE has given me the chance to disconnect from daily life and enjoy being in the outdoors surrounding myself with nature” another acknowledged the physical challenges of the hike explaining how “the walk is probably the hardest part but with my friends motivating me it felt easier”.

DofE encourages teamwork and dedication through its variety of challenges. Students must record three different sections: physical fitness, skill development, and volunteering, all of which require commitment and collaboration. Whether it’s litter picking in the local area or helping neighbors by walking dogs, students are actively contributing to the community while pursuing their DofE goals.

Overall, DofE at Cottingham High School is not just a program; it’s an amazing experience that nurtures personal growth and lifelong memories.