Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award at BISR


The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a key component of BISR’s Co-Curricular Programme. It seeks to support the school’s strategic vision, in which students are encouraged to ‘engage with the wider world, develop skills, have fun and flourish’. BISR has been licenced to deliver the Award for over ten years now and many of our staff have training and experience in supporting our students in completing it. 

Back in 1956, when renowned German educationalist Kurt Hahn got together with Prince Philip to create the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, one could only wonder if they realised the impact they would have on generations of people across the globe. Today, more than one million young people, in over 130 countries and territories, are striving towards their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Quite an achievement!

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award provides a global framework for non-formal education and learning. It is an exciting self-development programme that goes ‘beyond’ the classroom – and it is open to all young people (between 14 and 24), regardless of background, culture, physical ability, skills or interests. It challenges young people to dream big, to celebrate their achievements and to make a difference in the world. They will develop transferable skills, increase fitness levels, cultivate a sense of adventure and volunteer in their local community. In short, it helps young people find a sense of purpose, passion and place in the world. It changes individuals and has the power to change societies too.

The Award is split into three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. With each level, there are increasing levels of time, commitment and responsibility that are required. At Bronze Level, students (14 years+) will typically take 6 months to complete their Award. At Gold Level, students will typically take a full year to complete the Award.

One of the great aspects of the Award is that it is flexible. Each young person creates and designs their own ‘bespoke’ programme – choosing their own activities, according to their own passions and interests. It demands persistence and commitment, but ultimately it is achievable for all. There are four sections of the Award at Bronze and Silver level and a fifth section for Gold:

  • Service - To encourage a sense of responsibility to the community. This might be through community service projects, conservation work, voluntary service (sometimes at school) or maybe more specialised training such as life-saving or first aid. The emphasis of this section is regular giving of service.
  • Physical Activity -  Intended to improve performance and fitness, this section requires participants to take part in organised physical recreation and to show progress. This could be through a variety of disciplines including football, athletics, archery, swimming or martial arts.
  • Skills - To encourage the development of personal interests and learn practical skills. There are over 200 hobbies and vocational skills suggested by the DoE to choose from – from photography to metal work, cooking to magazine production.
  • Adventurous Journey - This is designed to cultivate a spirit of adventure and discovery, an understanding of the environment and the importance of working together in a team with a common purpose. Developing skills in map reading, cooking and camp craft encourages self-sufficiency and self-reliance in the context of a team. At BISR, we organise Adventurous Journeys in Thumamah at Bronze level. At Silver and Gold level we like to go further afield and have organised trips to places such as Oman and Nepal in recent years.
  • Residential Project - There is a fifth and final section, but only for the Gold Award. This involves spending five days away from home on a shared activity with people the students have never met before!

More details can be found below

Duke of Edinburgh