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Remembering HRH The Duke of Edinburgh through the transformative impact of the DofE Award Scheme

Date Posted: Thursday 15 April 2021

As School community, we join the country in sending our deepest condolences to Her Majesty The Queen on the passing of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.  

Our involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award Scheme, of which Prince Phillip was the Patron and Founder, is something we are all extremely proud of. It has been offered to students at Ashford School for nearly 60 years, starting in 1963 before becoming a Directly Licensed Centre in 1995. Since that time, hundreds of pupils have gained Bronze, Silver and Gold awards and the scheme has become an integral part of life at Ashford. It is led by parents, teachers and staff volunteers, is run as part of the co-curricular programme, which currently boasts 80 activities offered to the students. 

We are collecting memories of Ashford School students participation in the scheme and as such, we’d like to encourage our current and past pupils who have worked towards or achieved a DofE award to participate.  

Share your memory here:

The Gold DofE Award sets out several challenges, both physical and mental, and is completed by only the most dedicated of participants. 

We currently have 164 pupils completing an award (94 Bronze, 55 Silver and 15 Gold). In the last three years, Ashford has had over 250 participants that have completed and received their award.

"The DofE Award Scheme offers our students so many opportunities. They learn so much from the experience – life skills which are invaluable in the working world. Mr Simon Burke, Staff Sergeant Instructor for CCF and Leader for DofE "

The progression of the DofE Awards at Ashford School: 

  • 1962/1963 – 15 upper 4th and lower 5th students achieved their Bronze Awards. Interests ranged from drama and elocution to basketry and swimming. In the Design For Living segment, they attended a lecture on what to wear and when to wear it, including a lesson on good manners and poise. For the group’s assessment, the students organised a party and arranged a fashion show with clothes that were loaned to them by Marks & Spencer.  
  •  In 1966 Jan Brookshaw (1966) became the first Ashford School student to be awarded the Gold Duke of Edinburgh award.
  • In 1995Ashford Girls’ School became a Directly Licensed Centre. 
  • In July 2019, Ashford School was one of the first in the country to successfully see a team of staff members through the challenging Gold DofE Award. 
  • In March 2020, students from Ashford School and Wye School were selected (out of hundreds of students across Kent) to attend a prestigious Royal visit in Dover. The pupils, who were members of the School’s CCF and DofE Award participants, demonstrated a navigation lesson to HRH The Earl of Wessex when he flew in for a morning spent meeting local school children and DofE participants at Dover Christ Church Academy.
  • Expeditions have taken place in a whole variety of locations including the Lake District, the Breacon Beacons, the North Downs, Ashdown Forest, Mont Blanc, and Holland. 
"I was lucky enough to gain my Gold Award the year I left school (1969). I wouldn't have had any of those great experiences without the initiative and support of the staff involved. They went the extra mile to enable us to do our activities and expeditions. Terrific memories! Joanna Godfree (née Robertson, Alfred, 1969) "
The School Tie excerpt: 1994 - Duke of Edinburgh Silver Practice Expedition to the Lake District
The School Tie excerpt: 2000-2001 - Gold Residential
The School Tie excerpt: 2003-2004
The School Tie excerpt: 2007-2008 - Gold Practice Expedition