Not all who wander are lost blog



Silver 2018 - 2019

Not all that who wander are lost…

(And this time they conquered the mountains!)


This year is the first year that we as a school have run Silver DofE in house, rather than using an external provider. We had 4 groups across Year 10 and Year 11, with 22 pupils in total working towards their Silver Award.

Having completed the necessary training at Bronze Level the Silver cohort went straight on their practice expedition at Easter to the Lake District, joining the Geography cohort; however whilst the Geography group (and staff) stayed in a luxurious, warm, dry hostel, the DofErs pitched their tents and camped out in the freezing temperatures, waking up to ice on their tents!

Silver Practice 3      Silver Practice 5     Silver Practice 6

Over the 3 days they completed 2 practice hikes. The first up Catbells, a 450m high mountain with views stretching over Derwent Water, though many of the DofErs were focusing on simply putting 1 step infront of another, and realising that they had maybe packed a little bit too much, as they struggled up the hill…with lots and lots of breaks! However the views from the top were simply amazing!

The 2nd hike featured a longer walk up Red Pike, an 800m high colossus! As we worked our way up we took a break by a waterfall to cool off, but quicly then disappeared into the cloud as the weather set in!

Silver Practice 2          Silver Practice 1


The final day brought new challenges, as we learnt how to Ghyll Scramble. Having walked up 200m in wet suits and some weird but fluffy and warm onesies, we got into the freezing cold river and slid, jumped, dived and swam our back down the river via rock slides, plunge pools, ghylls and rapids!

Silver Practice 4


The qualifying expedition brought new challenges. Setting off from school at 11pm we drove overnight and arrived again in the Lakes at Ennerdale Water at 9am the following day. Bags were considerably lighter and we set off on the 8 hour hike over the ridge to Buttermere village where we would be camping for the night. The challenge got even tougher on the 2nd day where we climbed 800m up and walked along the ridge past Honister before dropping down into Borrowdale nearly 12 hours later! (and with 1 person’s boot being significantly worse for wear!)

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The final day brought a nice easy walk along the river heading for Keswick, where upon reaching the checkpoint we debagged, before heading for a celebratory McDonalds!


Well done both Y10 and Y11 Silver DofEr’s….You’ve been amazing!




Bronze 2018 - 2019

Not all that who wander are lost…

(And they didn’t get lost…!)


The New Bronze DofE Cohort this year have had yet another busy year of training in preparation ready for their qualifying expedition.

In various after school sessions the DofEr’s have learnt how to read OS Maps, how to put up a tent; even in the wind; what to and not to cook on a camping stove, and the countryside code.

Pupils then got to learn First Aid from a trained Paramedic called Martyn, and are all now certified to perform First Aid in the Outdoors having learnt CPR, what to do for broken arms, legs and sprains and more!

1st Aid 1                                     1st Aid 2


Their map reading was then tested in 3 practice walks where we explored Mote Park where we practised our navigation,  Upnor where we walked over 5 miles in 3 hours and Horton Kirby where we covered over 7 miles in 3 hours.

Practice Walk 1          Practice Walk 2       Practice Walk 3

These set them in good stead for their practice expedition back in June. After meeting in school for the bag check and safety briefing groups set off and caught the train from Beckenham Hill down to Otford. By themselves they set off, up what is possibly the steepest hill in Kent…with many regretting already packing sooo many clothes and soo much extra stuff! Over the course of the day the race to the camp site kept changing as groups kept over taking each other, others crashing out for long rests in the sun, whilst others pushed on through the heat to reach Badgells Wood before sundown!

However they were all glad of the shorter route the following day, as the weather had changed and torrential rain meant we, including staff, were all soaked through, and couldn’t be happier to reach the end point (after 2 groups went round in a bit of a circle…) and get into the nice warm and dry minibuses!

Then the time came for the qualifier. Bags were significantly lighter this time….more carbohydrates were packed, and they were ready! Setting off from school to get the train to Grove Park they knew this was it, and that they were completely alone. On arriving at Knockholt groups followed a winding route covering nearly 12 miles over 6 hours before all successfully reaching Downe Scout camp! Tents pitched it was time for dinner of various forms of pasta, chilli con carne and curry, though for some it was all too much and they just wanted to sleep!

Qualifer 1        Qualifer 2  Qualifer 3   

Qualifer 4

The next day brought the final day and each group set off in anticipation, eager to beat each other to the finish point, and walked at such a pace they beat some of the staff to checkpoints, covering nearly half the route by mid-morning! 1 group struggled to find the final path, but all eventually reached the end point before throwing off their bags for the last time!

This has been another successful year for Bronze Duke of Edinburgh at Bonus Pastor, and we’ll be celebrating that and presenting the awards at our Awards Evening in the Autumn Term. W


Well done Y9 Bronze DofErs 2018 – 2019! You’ve been great!



Bronze DofE 2017 - 2018


Not all that who wander are lost…

(And they didn’t get lost…and successfully passed!)

So, after a year’s worth of intense training, practice walks, practice expeditions and qualifying expeditions, it is with great pride that on Tuesday we celebrated with all of those pupils who had successfully completed their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award!

At a formal red carpet ceremony, and following a speech by the Lewisham Duke of Edinburgh Operations Manager, Kathryn Connell, the following pupils were recognised for their outstanding achievements, perseverance, dedication and skill:

  1. Melissa Bucio: Who volunteered at Cancer Research, Completed 3 months and swimming and learnt Korean.
  2. Karim Cole: Who volunteered at Sydenham Library, played Tennis and designed a website
  3. Emily D’Apice: Who volunteered in her local library, went power walking, and learned how to care for animals.
  4. Esther Eka: Who volunteered for Oxfam, learnt the Violin and went to the Gym
  5. Angus Murray: Who volunteered for his local scout group, learnt how to cook and went cycling,
  6. Ania Musset: Who volunteered coaching dance at her dance school, danced herself, and learned the theory to pass her GCSE Dance exam,
  7. Daniel Orizu: Who volunteered in his church, played badminton outside of school and learned how to cook
  8. Ella Reynolds: Who volunteered at Cadets helping out with the younger groups, played football and learned Drill,
  9. Matthew Scully: Who volunteered in a local charity shop, played football outside of school and learned how to cook,
  10. Augustine Shaw: Volunteered for his church youth group, went to the gym and learned how to cook.

Combined that to me works out: 200 hours of volunteering, 160 hour of Physical and 120 hours of learning new skills which is a staggering achievement!

A new award, the Wainwright Award, recognising outstanding effort and dedication, was awarded to Ania Mussett, for best summing up the qualities and character traits of the DofE, and for eating a lot of cake on her expeditions!

Across Lewisham last year only 207 pupils achieved their Bronze Award, putting these pupils in the top 8% of their peers across the borough, which is phenomenal!

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with these pupils over the year, many of whom are going on to begin their Silver Awards, exploring the Lake District.



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Not all that who wander are lost…

(but did get this week…and had a nap with some sheep)



So, after all our practice and training, last Thursday and Friday was our Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition! Pupils were given their rucksacks, camping stoves and tents on the Tuesday evening, and shown how to pack their bags correctly, and arrived in school on Friday morning looking as if they were just about to set off on a mammoth trek into the wilderness, with backpacks bulging full of food and drinks, tents strapped on top and roll mats dangling beneath. 



  After a final safety briefing each group set off and walked to Beckenham Hill station before catching the train to Otford. It was here that their adventure began! The groups set off into the North Downs, climbing the brutally steep hill out of Otford before emerging into the sun to some spectacular views over the Kent countryside. Here, already, some groups managed to get a little bit lost, with 1 group even walking all the way down the hill (only to then realise that was the wrong way and so they had to go back up it again!), and others managed to get ambushed by horses. Despite this each group made it to the first checkpoint, and then onto the 2nd, where as you can see, some of them felt rather tired.


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It was now where they were left entirely by themselves to independently navigate the final section up to the campsite, whilst the staff went ahead. 1 group decided to have a mid afternoon nap…in a field of sheep…and after a little bit of confusion managed to navigate their way and were on track on get to the campsite. The other group however truly went round in circles, and eventually called to be rescued! However this meant that they did learn a valid lesson, to always keep checking the map, and to agree on decisions collectively as a group. Groups should have walked around 11 miles during the day, but with a few meanderings some clocked up significantly more!

On arriving at the campsite which was in the heart of the woods by Vigo village groups pitched their tents and rustled themselves up some dinner, with Julia and Melissa making a rather mean Sausage Tikka Curry before settling down for the night. 

The next day involved a shorter walk to the final pick up point, but again with each group being by themselves. This time group 2, the group who needed to be rescued the day before, navigated their way almost perfectly, and reached the pick up point with no assistance from us as staff at all, whilst the other group, who had taken a simple right turn rather than left, needed to go and be saved.

Overall everyone enjoyed themselves, and this is only their practice expedition. Their real expedition takes place on the 10th and 11th July.


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