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Another great year of D of E award

27.09.2016

Today (19th July) marks the very last day in the Duke of Edinburgh Award calendar at The Sutton Academy for the 2015/2016 academic year.

17 days, 9 overnights, 12 tents, 9 stoves, 7 staff members, 1 minibus, and a lot of tins of beans all allowed 44 of our students to achieve their awards this year. We really should also give a special mention here to the now renowned 'Sutton Academy tow rope' that managed to get a very stuck van out of a quagmire of a camping field!

All the paperwork was set, risk assessments were approved, groups were briefed but none of this could stop the force of the great British Summer weather. May looked promising, the start of June didn't look too bad either... It was almost as if nature was luring us into a false sense of confidence.

On the 27th June (the first day of the Gold participants expedition to the Lake District) it not only rained, but it hammered it down. There was absolutely no hope of a break in the clouds. By the second day of the expedition the only glimmer of joy on the faces of the Sixth Formers was that they were looking forward to a trip on the ferry across Lake Windermere! Uplifting rain related quotes were shared with the group like:

"Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards" - Vladimir Nabokov

This didn't really work, if anything, it wound them up more. Even though they could have kept goldfish in their boots, the group soldiered on to complete the expedition.

The next week saw Bronze participants completing their awards and again, because of the rain, the campsite was a tad on the watery side! Members of year 9 and 10 Gold Group plus other participants from year 9 made the journey to Rivington, just on the edge of the West Pennine Moors. Here they were able to walk around the now totally full reservoirs and camp overnight at Bibbys Farm Scout Camp.

As researched by the year 9’s we can now report back that Rivington and Winter Hill are both fantastic Pokemon hunting areas, with many Pokestops, gyms and a wide variety of pokemon to catch. We did need to assure Mr Hogarth that Pokemon would be written into the next risk assessment though! He warned us of the perils of playing it, including falling off cliff edges whilst eyes are glued to phones! But we all know a grazed knee is a small price to pay in exchange for a wild Charizard.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents and staff members that have supported the Duke of Edinburgh Award this year, without their cooperation and understanding, we would not be able to give the students at The Sutton Academy this hugely worthwhile life experience.

A special mention has to be made for Miss Swift who has really helped us out this year and I would also like to thank Mr Smith for his dedication and time he puts into developing the award at the Academy.

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