1,100 hours of service

DOWNEND School students put in more than 1,100 hours of voluntary service to the community as part of an awards scheme.

Nearly 100 pupils in Years 9 and 10 have spent the last six months working towards their bronze or silver Duke of Edinburgh awards. 

To achieve the award they have to develop a new skill or interest, improve their fitness, complete an overnight expedition and contribute to their community by volunteering.

Downend students have volunteered at Rainbow or Beaver Scout meetings, coached younger children in sports and carried out charity work, putting in a total of 1,105 hours.

The final challenge is an overnight expedition, and pupils went on practice runs during the recent half-term holiday to hone their navigational, teamwork and survival skills ahead of the assessed expeditions in July. 

School D of E manager and maths teacher Chris Ashworth said: “It’s great to see so many students build confidence, self-belief and resilience through the programme. The skills and experiences such as problem solving, presentation and communication skills are not only fun but can also help open doors to colleges, universities, and employers in the future.”

The school is appealing for donations of rucksacks and walking boots to help more students get involved next year.