Not all who wander are lost blog




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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