A group of pupils from Springfield School were presented with their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award on Monday 10th July at a special ceremony at Blenheim Palace. Five pupils; Gabby Bennett, Charlie Collins, Sasha Stewart, Emily Davis & Tom Mytton and one former pupil, George Hiley, have spent the last two years working towards the DofE Bronze award. In that time, they needed to complete a range of activities that comprise skills, volunteering and physical elements and two expeditions. Receiving the award represents a huge achievement to the group who have a wide range of physical and learning difficulties as well as some communication and behavioural issues. In addition to the six pupils receiving their bronze award, pupils; Matthew Simmons, Jessica Kowalski, Joshua Dalton and Theo Blackstock, received certificates of achievement following successful completion of their first year of the DofE Bronze Award. The awards were presented by Alice McLinden, DofE Operations Officer, Tim Walker, Springfield School’s DofE co-ordinator and Susan Davis, a volunteer DofE leader.
Tim said ‘Being part of the community is an important part of the DofE award. The pupils have been involved in sports teams as well as volunteering in care homes, collecting for the food bank and working in charity shops. Everyone involved is immensely proud of how they have demonstrated their capabilities and made a positive impact on the local community.’
For the expedition element, pupils canoed down the River Thames and camped along the way. The local charity Adventure Plus supported the school and pupils in achieving this. Next year the school plan to run their own expeditions.
Springfield Special Needs School launched a Duke of Edinburgh Awards Programme in 2016. It is one of only a handful of special needs schools in the country to be licenced to run a DofE programme. The school has received a lot support and funding from the DofE programme as well as a generous donation from the local RAF Thrift Shop in Carterton.