Cadogan and Hall Archive - The International Award
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56 FAMILY MATTERS + Issue 4 Journal of The British International School
The International Award:Accepting the challenge
By Mark AngusPrincipalThe British International SchoolShanghai, Nanxiang
TThe International Award is a well-established and much valued part of life at The British International School Shanghai. Hundreds of students over the years have been a part of the programme, and it continues to be a highlight of their school years for hundreds more. The Award helps to underpin our school’s core value of helping others to be the best they can be and enables our pupils to put this philosophy into practice, both in terms of what the International Award teaches them and in the way it encourages them to help others as well.
Journal of The British International School Issue 4 + FAMILY MATTERS 57
58 FAMILY MATTERS + Issue 4 Journal of The British International School
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was established in the UK in 1956 by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as a response to growing social concern about how to engage young boys and men between 15 and 18, the ages at which they could leave school and had to enter National Service, respectively. At first the programme was only available for boys, but it didn’t take long before a scheme for girls was launched in 1958.
Further evolution followed, until the current format was established in 1980. Although the Award has always been arranged around four sections, these have changed over the years. In 1956, the four sections were: Rescue & Public Service Training; the Expedition; Pursuits & Projects; and Fitness. In 1980 these became, and remain: Service; Adventurous Journey; Skills; and Physical Recreation. Furthermore, in 1980 it became possible for young people up to the age of 25 to take part in the programme
The value of the Award quickly became apparent to schools and organisations around the world, and the Programme was soon to be found in a wide range of international schools and youth organisations throughout the British Commonwealth and beyond.
In1971theAwardoperatedin31countries,andby 1989 this number had increased to 48, seeing
the Award delivered in countries beyond the boundaries of the Commonwealth for the first time. This rapid expansion saw the formation of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Association (IAA) in 1988, while the name became The International Award forYoungPeople.
Currently, over 120 countries operate the Award and over 6 million young people worldwide have taken up the challenge. The programme is now expanding to include groups of people who have not previously
had opportunities to develop themselves. Recent Award projects around the world have focused on involving young offenders, those with disabilities, street kids and aboriginal communities. The impact of the Award on many of these young people is extraordinary: it transforms their lives.
The challenges involved
The award is tough – deliberately so – but it is about young people challenging themselves as individuals, not about reaching specific standards set by others. However, the Award does challenge them to re-examine their own beliefs about what they can achieve. Award holders are also highly valued by both educational establishments and employers because of their self-confidence, ability to work as part of a team and leadership skills.
The programme has three levels, each requiring more commitment than the last:
• Bronze Award – at least 14 years old and requiring a 6-month commitment
• Silver Award – 15 or over and requiring a commitment of at least a year
• Gold Award – 16 or over and requiring a commitment of at least 18 months
Candidates are required to complete activities in the four different areas:
• Service• Adventurous Journey• Skills• Physical Recreation
Service – Candidates are required to undertake work that shows a commitment to wider society, such as community service projects, conservation work or voluntary service in
The impact of the Award on many of these young people is extraordinary: it
transforms their lives
Journal of The British International School Issue 4 + FAMILY MATTERS 59
hospitals or homes. This can also include specialised training in areas like lifesaving and first aid.
Adventurous Journey – This part of the Award is about adventure and discovery. Participants can hike, ride or cycle, and on the way develop an understanding of the environment and the importance of working as part of a team with a common purpose. They learn the significance of training, preparation, self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
Skills – In this section of the Award, candidates have the opportunity to develop their personal interests and learn practical skills. They are not required to reach any set standard – rather, they set their own goals against which they can measure their progress.
Physical Activity – All participants are required to undertake organised and regular physical activity, showing perseverance and improving fitness. They will record their own progress, and can participate in individual or team sports of their own choice.
The Award in action
In June 2010, the first participating pupils at The British International School Shanghai, Nanxiang received their Bronze Awards in a ceremony in front of their families and friends. All the pupils who received the Award had relished the exciting opportunities for self-development, adventure and camaraderie that the Award afforded them, and had gladly
embraced the challenge of reaching out to their local communities and beyond.
Overthecourseoftheschoolyear,Nanxiangparticipants undertook three adventurous journeys – to Nanbeihu Mountain in September,toTianmuMountaininOctoberand to Hainan in March. These journeys were both physically and emotionally demanding,
as pupils had to be largely self-sufficient, taking responsibility for their own kit, equipment, food and drink, as well as having to navigate and read maps. These journeys were undertaken alongside pupils from our sister school in Minhang, meaning that our pupils also had the opportunity to mix with a range of new and different people and make new friends.
As part of their community service, participants spent three months teaching at the local Ma Rong Kindergarten during their ECA time. This proved to be a most enjoyable and rewarding experience as our pupils began to have an understanding of how demanding it can be to assume responsibility for the learning and wellbeing of others. These sessions were warmly appreciated by the pupils and staff at Ma Rong, and it is very much hoped that this will become a regular part of our International Award in the future.
In addition, pupils were introduced to the skill of public speaking, culminating in a public speaking competition in April. The competition, judged by Kevin Foyle and Dr Terry Creissen, was conducted according to the rules of the English Speaking Union and took as its theme ‘Regeneration and Renewal’.
Why not get involved?
As all of the above demonstrates, the International Award is the ideal project for pupils at international schools to become involved in. It promotes civic values, recognises and rewards physical courage and achievement and teaches pupils that self-improvement is the most valuable critical skill that they will ever develop. The British International School actively promotes the Award and encourages the participation of pupils at all three of our locations in the city, meaning all our pupils have the opportunity to join in this truly international and worthwhile scheme.
It promotes civic values, recognises and rewards physical courage and
achievement and teaches pupils that
self-improvement is the most valuable critical
skill that they will ever develop
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mark Angus read English and Drama at Flinders University, Adelaide, where he specialised in the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre. He also has an MA in Early Modern Studies from King’s College, London where his main focus of study was the repertories of 16th- and 17th-century playing companies. He gained his PGCE in Secondary English from the Open University and was previ-ously the Academic Deputy Head and Head of Boarding at Westminster Cathedral Choir School, a boys’ preparatory school in central London.Mark Angus has published articles in a variety of journals on a diverse range of
subjects, from Victorian crime to the theatre of Sophocles, and has also written for the theatre and radio. His interests include literature, theatre, wine, sport and travel.