Ark William Parker Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) students were thrilled to pass the expedition phase of the Bronze Award.
After months of training, planning and preparation the Year 10 students finally got to test themselves and their training on the assessed weekend.
The students arrived on Friday evening at the assessment centre in Cranbrook, Kent. Bags packed but this time around considerable lighter having learnt, on the practice weekend, that the kitchen sink is not required as part of the required kit.
Tents were quickly pitched and equipment stowed away. There was a sense of anticipation. Assessment weekend is exactly as it says on the tin and this ramps up the pressure and fear on failure.
Sttudents met their assessors and were examined on their training, understanding of the 20 requirements to pass and their knowledge of first aid. The assessor also spent time checking their maps, route cards and compass knowledge. Having impressed the assessor they were deemed competent to start Saturday morning on the assessment expedition.
Saturday proved a challenge for all teams, checkpoints were found, though it took a little longer to reach them than initially planned. A combination of locked gates, hidden paths, fences across footpaths and cows.
Students were visibly relieved to return to the campsite Saturday evening having walked from Sissinghurst through to Biddenden. A nourishing meal was cooked under the watchful eyes of the assessors and soon it was time for bed.
Students were up early Sunday morning and out of the campsite by 8am having met the assessors during breakfast. The sun was up and the heat began to syphon the strength from the already weary students. Having spent a long day on the Saturday the students spent more time analysing their routes which showed dividends through the day with all checkpoints found and within the timescales set.
With parents waiting in Rolvenden to take them home there was an air of hope as the assessors gave their final summing up of the weekend and the verdict as to whether they has passed the expedition phase. Smiles all round indicated they indeed had been successful and the assessors had pointed out how impressed they were with the students demonstrating how successful their training had been.
Nick Burchell the leader at Ark William Parker for the Duke of Edinburgh programme expressed how delighted he was with their achievement and how proud he was when he saw them in action during the weekend, “This is a marvellous programme and the process changes the students both in school but more importantly giving them skills for the rest of their lives.”
Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Observer series titles by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Observer simply click here (www.localsubsplus.co.uk)