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Over the May Half Term, Year 10 and Year 12 were finally able to get out and complete the expedition components for their Duke of Edinburgh's Awards. With the pandemic forcing delays, and changes to the way that we can do things, it was an immense relief to be able to get out and enjoy the sun and perfect weather!

As always, our students were enthusiastic, resilient and particularly ambitious with their plans, walking great distances in Richmond Park, the Thames Valley Reserve, and Chobham Common.

The Year 10 students [Bronze Award] completed six hours of hiking each day of their two-day expedition. They befriended a giant stick named Jonathan, cooked their own meals in the evening on Trangias [portable stoves] outside. Each expedition had an activity focus - the focus for this group was wildlife and they were particularly successful in finding and identifying a wide variety of wildlife, including caterpillars, butterflies and they even managed a brief sighting of a snake!

Dylan commented: ‘I most enjoyed developing map-reading skills, problem-solving and being outdoors, getting to know people in my Year Group better, especially after such a long time away from School.’

The Year 12 students [Silver Award] completed seven hours of hiking each day of their five-day expedition. They cooked a variety of meals on their Trangias including some very questionable potatoes! They practised making fires with sparks from a flint, identified various wildlife and made a video diary to rival Attenborough.

Thanks, as well, to the large number of staff who joined as volunteers on different days, enjoying the company and glorious weather.

Finally, congratulations to every student who participated – all have passed this component of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award!

A further feather in the cap of the DoE cohort is the 104 hours of volunteering Heston students have completed, with a social value of £473.20.