Duke of Edinburgh


Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – 2023/ 2024 update

During June 2023 we had 6 groups out in Glen Tanar completing their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition. These current S5 pupils are in the process of signing off the other sections of the Award. This includes the Physical, Volunteering and Skill sections. A growing number of the Bronze 2022 – 2023 cohort are finishing the Award. So far congratulations are in order for Caitlyn Mundy, Glen McNulty, Iona Douglas, Wynn Mardall and Bronwen Jones with Rosie Miller, Calum Blair, Harris McCutcheon nearly there…Other S5 pupils are encouraged to follow suit and get all of the other sections signed off.

We have had a very busy time with the current S4 Bronze cohort (2023 – 2024) as we wanted to get the groups out on expedition before the October holidays. This meant a Bronze Expedition Training Day at the start of September, where we covered the prerequisites for surviving a two-day one-night backpacking trip. We did camp cooking, navigation and map reading, route planning, first aid as well as kit requirements and putting up tents. It was a busy and productive day with 56 pupils taking part and 10 D of E leaders. Many thanks to all of the leaders who were so enthusiastic and committed; a combination of parent volunteers and school staff who make a very solid team of leaders. 😊

The expeditions took place in September and were mainly in Upper Deeside, the Invercauld/ Linn of Dee/ Derry Lodge area, with a few expeditions also taking place closer to home in Glen Tanar. All expeditions were a success and saw our pupils really delving deep to overcome the physical challenges of completing significant distances with a large and heavy rucksack. As well as the physical challenges, the groups showed impressive teamwork skills, supporting and encouraging each other as well as creating some exemplary camp cooking (in most cases!!). With the expeditions now over it is time to fill in the details for the other three areas of the award and start to get the other sections signed off.

Other news for this session is that some of the S5 pupils who have completed their Bronze Awards are now embarking on their Silver D of E, where the sections remain the same but the expedition is three days long and rather than an Expedition Training Day, the participants must complete a 3 day practice expedition. The planning for this will start soon, but the expeditions will take place in June 2024, after the exams.

 In the New Year we hope to enrol our next cohort, the S3 Bronze participants, with their expeditions being planned for May 2024 😊 Watch this space!


Some of our past students went to receive their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award from Holyrood House in Edinburgh. Each year a ceremony takes place for those young people who have completed the highest level of the award. We extend our congratulations to Maia, Eilidh and Daisy for their outstanding achievement!

Maia Ferguson, Eilidh Henderson and Daisy Cooper at the Gold Award presentation.


Since the 2021-2022 session our pupils have returned to the the DofE Award. We have an integrated team of school staff and parents who lead the expedition section.
If you would like to find out how parent volunteers can help support expeditions, please contact sally.pease@aberdeenshire.gov.uk who coordinates D of E at school.

What does it involve?
The Award consists of three levels; Bronze, Silver and Gold. Participants must be aged between 14 & 25. Whatever activity is undertaken is assessed and then recorded online on the eDofE platform. This provides a record of achievements, effort and progress.
Each level of the award has four separate categories: 1. Volunteering   2. Skills   3. Physical Recreation   4. Expedition.

What does the School offer?
The school has volunteer staff and parent volunteers who help us to manage the large number of pupils who are enthusiastic to take part. The school offers the expedition section, while the pupils manage the other three sections themselves.

How long does it take?
It is expected that each Level of the award should take a minimum of 6 months to complete, realistically each level will take around 12 months.

What are the costs involved?
There is an annual charge of £30.00 to participate in the Award.  This fee is to cover enrolment charges and also operating costs. Participants will require certain key outdoor clothing for the expedition section, (a list will be provided) though there may be the opportunity to loan some equipment from the school.. It is also important to note that no pupil should be prevented from taking part in the Award because of a lack of funds. There are funding opportunities available so if this is a concern, please make sure that you ask Ms. Pease.

Behaviour expectations
It is expected that you will conform with the Aboyne Academy Positive School Climate at all times whilst participating in the Award.


Pupils organise their own D of E sections and ask someone who is involved in their activity to be their assessor. Self-motivation, initiative and organisational skills are all areas the Award should help to develop. For this reason, it is up to the pupils to take responsibility for all sections other than the expedition.

To find out further information about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme ask Ms. Pease in English or visit the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme website: https://www.dofe.org/