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Silver DofE Stars!

Published by Leighton Park School on Thursday 6th of April 2023

This Easter our Silver DofE students went on their much-anticipated expedition as they left the Park at 4.30pm on Thursday 30th March  and the expedition lasted until Tuesday 4th April when they all came back very tired!


Their journey started at Llangorse Activity Centre, through the Brecon Beacons National Park and ended up in Crickhowell. All students camped for the duration of the trip but as they were doing the practice and the expedition back to back they were in a bunkhouse accommodation for a night to break up the two journeys and ensure they were better rested after lots of walking!


All students undertook six planning sessions earlier in the term during their CAS lessons and planned appropriate routes for the duration of their expedition.


Richard Duckett, Head of Politics and keen DofE trip leader, commented:


“In terms of weather, it got progressively better from pouring with rain on day one to sunburn sunshine on day four and five.  There had clearly been a lot of rain in Wales, as much of the first day was spent squelching around in mud before going up and over to our second campsite.  After a wet night, students set out on day 2 of practice in the rain, but by the time they reached the campsite for night three, the sun was out.  This didn’t prevent some students slipping over in the mud as they descended the last 100yds to the campsite!  It was alright though, because to get rested for assessment, we had a lovely warm bunkhouse with loads of space and nice showers to prepare for the next three days.

 

 

Flooding necessitated a change of route and a check on a ford to ensure that day one of the assessment went smoothly.  Mostly lowland walking took students to a new campsite on a hillside at the foot of the Brecon Beacons.  It had been a clear day so it made for a cold night with no cloud cover.  Icy tents in the morning, balaclavas on along with most spare layers.  It was not long before layers were peeled off, however, for the climb up Fan y Big to start the day.  Students weren’t keen on the journey up, but all agreed it was worth it when they got there for once again the weather had cleared and beautiful views made a pleasing reward.  It was also pretty much all downhill from there to campsite four.

 

 

Another cold overnight in a valley, but hardened by the night before there was no grumbling, just a determination to get on with the final day of assessment, but day five of hiking.  The chilly morning soon developed into a beautiful day, the warmest yet, worthy of T shirts and short sleeves for the first time since arriving in Wales.  The expedition finished with a lovely stroll beside the picturesque canal with proud Welsh daffodils decking the banks.

 

 

Our students were all absolutely superb.  Five days hiking and camping is quite a feat, and they all managed it extremely well, if a little achy by the end.  Every campsite was left clean and tidy which is probably a first for us a supervisors, and broad smiles were seen every day on happy faces.  Skills were honed and motivation for Gold sustained.  All in all, a very successful trip!”

 

At Leighton Park we deliver the national DofE Bronze experience as part of the curriculum, then students can choose to do Silver (usually in Years 10 and 11) and Gold in the Sixth Form.


As part of all DofE programmes, remote supervision was used along their journey where the student’s safety and well-being of the group was monitored at a distance, with limited direct contact with the pupils to check they were okay!


Leighton Park Staff members and external Mountain Leaders were impressed at the integrity of the students, as everyone positively persevered to reach their end goal; they did so with much enthusiasm.


We are very proud of our participants as they showed great resilience building up their self-confidence and independence whilst feeling a strong sense of purpose, leaving themselves and the adults on the expedition inspired.

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