A number of pupils from Three Ways School in Bath have started working towards their Duke of Edinburgh bronze awards, the first time that that any pupils from the school have taken on the challenge. Over the past year, two small groups of pupils from the school, which provides for children with a wide range of Special Educational Needs, have been challenged to complete the programme, one from the Secondary and another from the Sixth Form department.

Throughout the course of the year, participants have been working on the four key areas of the programme; volunteering, physical, skills, and expedition. They have attended sessions aimed at developing their teamwork, communication, map reading and survival skills, as well as independently volunteering to support younger students with a variety of needs.

Class teacher, Tom Kavanagh, explained, “Much of the year has been spent preparing for the final expedition and developing the skills required to independently navigate and survive an unfamiliar rural location with only the support of their fellow group members. They have learnt to put up tents, cook using a Trangia, read and follow a basic map, and work together as a team to solve problems.

“Just before the Easter holidays all participants took part in the school’s first Bronze Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition. On Day one all three groups caught the bus to Bath and then the train to Bradford on Avon, where they had to use their maps to guide them to the canal, where the walk started. The Sixth Form group walked a significant distance along the canal and completed their journey at the Angel Fish café. The secondary groups, meanwhile, had a slightly longer journey, travelling the same part of the canal and then all the way back to school.

“Everyone arrived back in school a little tired, but still excited and feeling proud of themselves, eagerly pitching their tents and preparing to camp overnight. All of the young people were required to cook their own meal and help put up their tent for the night.

“On day two the groups travelled in different directions along the Bitton to Bath cycle track. This was a shorter distance than on Day one. All participants completed both days and I think they all learnt a lot from the practice expedition ready for their assessed expedition later in the year.
All staff involved are very proud of each and every one of the participants that took part.”