It was great news last week to hear that our Duke of Edinburgh teams, ably led by Mrs Smart, completed and passed their assessed expedition.
I speak often about the fact that students need to have an ‘edge’ – to be able to talk about their personal profile of examination results and the very important ‘all rounded’ skills that will set a candidate apart from someone else at an interview. I believe strongly that when you are asked the question: ‘tell me about yourself’ that we can speak confidently and with animation about our experiences; that this should not just be our academic achievements.
When listening to an Admissions Officer for a London Medical School recently, he told Headteachers that, after looking at a candidate’s academic profile, the next thing they looked for was participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. He said that, fifteen years ago, solid qualifications would have ensured a university place but that applicants are now also required to show evidence of ‘soft skills’, like commitment, the ability to work in a team, timekeeping, good communication and people skills, and a range of ‘wider achievements’ to prove suitability for a course. This is supported by the United Learning Trust who commented that the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as a ‘brand’ means things like ‘stickability’, resilience and teamwork; highly attractive attributes. That is why we offer the award at Bronze, Silver and Gold Level at Invicta!
Providing this opportunity to all pupils requires substantial commitment and drive from our staff. Mrs Smart, our Duke of Edinburgh Coordinator does an excellent job of organizing and encouraging the girls at all levels, along with Mrs Laxton and Miss Campbell, who also do a huge amount of work for this and for our Adventure Service Challenge for Years 7 and 8. These Schemes also rely on the goodwill and voluntary engagement of a lot of additional staff who devote enormous amounts of time and energy to supporting the girls in their Duke of Edinburgh Award of a weekend. Without this, the scheme would not be able to run! We really do have a great team of hardworking and committed staff.
The ‘stickability’ and ‘resilience’ as referred to above, has undoubtedly made me think about the fact that all our year groups are presently preparing for examinations – both internal and external. There is no doubt that these qualities will be required for the forthcoming challenges in this period as in deed, they are in Duke of Edinburgh Award. ‘Sticking’ to a revision plan, not allowing ourselves to be distracted; along with having a resilient approach to the fact that a particular exam may not have gone well, but being positive that you can ‘put this right’ in the next paper will definitely be a characteristic, derived from D of E, that will help our students over the next few weeks! I really shall be keeping everything crossed for them, but feel strongly that with these experiences and qualities, their chances of success will certainly be increased! Good Luck Girls!