Firstly, we would like to apologise unequivocally for the situation regarding payment for the expeditions planned for June. This has arisen through an absence of communication on our part and is something that we accept is simply not good enough.
To clarify, the reason why the cost is so much more than most people had been led to believe is because we now need to use an external agency to staff the expeditions. So many students (over 80) in Year 11 signed up to do the Silver Award that we do not have sufficient numbers of appropriately trained staff to run the expeditions ourselves. We are not short of colleagues willing to give up their own time to help with such events but, unlike most other school trips, the Duke of Edinburgh expeditions require staff with specific qualifications. A further factor in the cost is that, as a school, we are obliged to provide a relatively high staff-student ratio.
We are led to believe that one or two people on social media have questioned whether or not we are in some way attempting to save (or even raise) money by charging this amount for the expeditions. This is categorically not the case; the school does not, and never will, seek to make a profit on any extra-curricular activities. Our failure is one of communication; we should have informed parents and carers much earlier in the year that we were likely to need to use external assessors and, at the very least, given some indication of the likely cost.
We have given some thought to how we might be able to mitigate the problem and, in terms of next steps, there are a number of options available to you. These options are as follows:
- Go ahead with the two expeditions in June and pay the £340
- Take part in the practice expedition in June, but leave the second expedition (qualifier) until Year 12 – thereby splitting the costs (£170 each time).
- Take part in either one or both expeditions in June, but stagger the cost of payments over a period of up to six months (n.b. this option obviously assumes your child is staying with us for the sixth form).
- Withdraw from the programme altogether. In this case, we are willing to refund the initial £25 as a goodwill gesture
It should also be borne in mind that any work completed so far can be ‘banked’ and used with other providers in the future; it is valid up until their 25th birthday. Expeditions can be done through any approved activity provider, a list of which can be found on the DofE website. Participants can then submit their evidence via the DofE using their login which remains live until they have completed the award or reached their 25th birthday.
If you would like to pursue options (a) or (b), please ask your child to collect the medical/consent forms from Student Services and return by Thursday 5th May after making the required payments via Parent Pay. If you would like to explore option (c) please contact Mrs Ralph on 01925 755458 or via email@example.com. If you would like a refund (option d), please email Mrs ralph and she will arrange this via Parent Pay as soon as possible.
Once again, please accept our apologies for the poor handling of this issue. We have already started a detailed review in order to ensure similar mistakes are avoided in the future, but also to develop the quality of the programme in general. The Duke of Edinburgh is a fabulous scheme and we want to make sure that as many of our students as possible can gain the full benefits of it.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs O’Grady.
Ms J O’Grady Mr S Barton
Deputy Headteacher D of E co-ordinator