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100% Pass: DofE Celebrated

GMS have a thriving Duke of Edinburgh uptake, which has resulted in students acquiring leadership qualities alongside achievement, success and pride at achievement, in the expedition section of this prestigious award.
This year, the Bronze award cohort completed their expedition training in March, just before lockdown. After a decision to restart expedition practices, just before end of summer term, an amazing 66 students completed two full days walking around Marlow, over hills, fields and woodland, and were allowed to progress to their official assessed Bronze practice expedition.
As if the weather had decided to add a new challenging complexity to the Bronze challenge, the assessed expedition took place on the wettest weekend on record since 1891, enough rainfall fell across the UK to fill the huge expanse of Loch Ness. Unwilling to allow the deluge to prevent their achieving Bronze, GMS students soldiered on showing masses of resilience, spirit and camaraderie. Their night under canvas was at Pheasant Hill, Hambledon.

Every single student completed the weekend, to the loud praise of the expedition instructors, who were hugely impressed with the students.

Congratulations, too, to the six Silver and 10 Gold participants who have completed their awards. Combining river competence with Duke of Edinburgh skills, the students undertook their expedition on the River Thames (Coronavirus relocated them from the River Wye.) In small teams, with all their luggage on board the students navigated large stretches of the Thames.
The Gold award groups were involved for four days three nights; Silver for three days two nights: some feat. Every student had to prepare for the man overboard drill and the capsize drill: truly important water safety procedures.  The river meant weirs and locks had to be carefully negotiated; moreover, manoeuvring around working and leisure craft had to be carefully piloted. Physically, the expeditions were very demanding in both physical strength and mental resilience.
GMS have so much to celebrate and so much to praise in a year when most schools did not complete any expeditions. The GMS Duke of Edinburgh students have successfully finalised a major part of their award: the expedition pass rate was 100%, despite the unparalleled challenges of Covid19, which meant more risk factors were factored in. Our Duke of Edinburgh cohorts experienced trials and tribulations that showed they were resourceful, resilient, responsible, ready to face difficulties, supportive of each other in times of adversity, and celebratory of each other in times of triumph.
Every student is a credit to the school and their parents and carers, without whom these expeditions could not have taken place. GMS thanks all those who planned and executed all the paperwork required to make these expeditions happen. The PE Department gave up whole weekends: special thanks goes to Mr Goodright, who worked for 26 days consecutively, to ensure a successful outcome for the students. The assessors were hugely impressed, stating GMS students were, “a pleasure to work with”, a high accolade indeed.
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