Reigate Grammar School DofE


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RGS DofE

Reigate Grammar School has run DofE at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels continuously for over 50 years, one of the longest running and most successful DofE school units in the UK.  Countless thousands of our students have benefitted from the challenge of the Award.

These pages are to help our students and parents navigate a successful Award.

Please use the links ABOVE to see pages designed to help participants.

moving typha down river


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Bronze qualifying expedition North Downs

Over 100 students trekked off for their two day Bronze qualifying expedition 9-10 October in fine settled weather with misty damp autumn mornings.  Most groups performed very well in expedition skills.  Groups met the standards required in navigation and camp craft and, where they met difficulties they mostly fixed these independently.  In particular, assessing staff were pleased with teams LEAVING NO TRACE at their camp.  As is usual, navigation skills varied somewhat but we could see an effort to improve in groups lacking natural navigators.  A willingness to improve and persevere with expedition skills is important for those going on to silver.  Remember that DofE expeditions are not a race and that safe, considerate and purposeful travel across the countryside is the priority, not raw speed.  Visiting every single check point is critical to safe travel, as is communication with your assessor if something goes wrong.  Groups arrived at the end between 10am and 2pm, which is usual.  It was heartening that many found the time to say thank you to their assessors and supervisors who had looked after them and camped out too.  Well done all!


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Bronze training hike May 2015

125 students and their Gold Award Leaders trekked off on their Bronze practice hike May3-4. The two day expedition covered 15 miles over the local North Downs area around Reigate and included 5 different camp locations.  The weather started wet and then improved to excellent walking conditions: cool and breezy. Groups performed well and supervising staff were pleased with their navigation ability.  A few groups went wrong but they corrected themselves effectively.  Camp craft was also pleasing with groups cooking some interesting meals, keeping a tidy camp and “leaving no trace” on departure.  As this was their first Bronze expedition it bodes very well for their October qualifying expeditions.


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Bronze conservation day March 2015

P107041625 Bronze dofe Third Year students started their conservation volunteering programme today on Reigate Heath local nature reserve.  They spent the day working hard clearing invading trees like scots pine, with the aim of restoring the threatened lowland acid heathland habitat which has become rare because of development like roads, housing, recreation and golf courses. This group of students were outstanding in the way they engaged enthusiastically with all the activities: they listened to instructions, worked well together and improved an enormous area.  They did the tradition of RGS dofe conservation proud on their very first day of conservation activities … well done!

This lowland acid heath habitat used to cover larger parts of the South East on sandstone areas like Reigate Heath.  When grazing stopped trees and scrub invaded and destroyed the heathland.   Restoring heathland will improve the habitat and chances for animals like adders, grass snakes, slow worms, lizards and birds like sparrow hawks, crossbills and stonechat to thrive in our otherwise overcrowded part of the country.  Reigate Heath is a SSSI – site of special scientific interest, so it is protected from development but the animals and plants still need our help.

The students worked very hard all day raking out the thick nutrient rich soil which smothers heather seeds and stops their growth.  Heather likes the nutrient poor sandy soils beneath, so our students raked off the overlying “alien soil” to expose the sandy grey soils.

The students also felled selected trees including some Scots Pine and some Oak and Silver Birch.  These pre-selected trees opened up significant glades and will encourage the growth of heath seedlings which have lain dormant for a hundred years.

RGS students have worked on the Heath and elsewhere for nearly 10 years and so they can truly say they have improved local habitats for the benefit of local people and wild plants and animals. We like to say RGS students “Save The World starting in their own backyard”… and they certainly helped save a little tiny bit of Surrey today!

More details here:

Many thanks, as always, to Reigate Area Conservation Volunteers who run the day.

contact Reigate Area Conservation Volunteers (RACV) here http://www.racv.org.uk/

http://www.racv.org.uk/heath%20leaflet.pdf


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Bronze Conservation Day December 2014

December 15 2014: Bronze dofe conservation on Redhill Common: clearing invading non-native trees and opening up clearings pathside to improve light for a greater biodiversity of species and improved habitat.  The group worked hard and achieved significant improvements in the natural habitat of Redhill Common.  RGS has been improving local habitats for more than 7 years now under the expert guidance of Reigate Area Conservation Volunteers. If you would like to help with active local habitat conservation then visit RACV at http://www.racv.org.uk/

Reigate Grammar saves the world… starting in our back yard!


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Bronze expeditions 10-11 October 2014

Over 130 students embarked on their Bronze dofe expeditions 10-11 October. They walked and cycled and canoed to various campsites, scout camps and farms around the North Downs, Medway and New Forest areas.  The weather was showery and there were thunderstorms overnight that woke many up.  This was the largest number of students ever fielded in one expedition by RGS.

 


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Bronze hiking, canoe and cycle expeditions

Canoe, cycle and hiking expeditions took place across Surrey during the last few days. The canoe group successfully completed their practice expedition on the Basingstoke Canal camping at Mytchett campsite.  The cycle group did an great job completing their long distance adventure starting near the south coast, camping at Peas Pottage scout camp and finishing near East Grinstead. Hikers climbed Box Hill and stayed at High Ashurst.   All groups coped well with the showery rainy weather.  Well done!


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Bronze dofe training expedition 4-5 May 2014

 

Excellent sunny dry expedition weather both days, though cool and frosty overnight.  Some 100 students undertook Bronze expeds hiking, canoe and cycling this weekend.  L6 Gold award leaders helped out too and numerous staff camped out and supervised group progress.  The Third Year did themselves proud and were a pleasure to organise and assist through their expeditions.  They were unusually good at clearing up after themselves at camp and some groups made an effort to cook some interesting food.  Some found their packs too heavy which is quite common at Bronze and hikers learn quickly to discard unnecessary or impractical  items like mallets and multi-cans of fizzy drinks!  Navigation was a bit hit and miss for some groups but they mostly found themselves again independently and managed to get “un-lost” by some careful map reading.   The usual difficulties around Headley Heath caught some groups out on Monday but this is a good chance to learn map reading and navigation by actually doing for yourself.  Well done to all the groups, staff were pleased with you and this bodes well for future expeditions.  Meet Thursday for lunchtime debrief concert hall.


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Elizabeth Rizzini presents RGS DofE Awards April 2014

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Elizabeth Rizzini, UK Met Office meteorologist and BBC weather presenter, presented our students with their DofE Awards last night at our annual award evening here at Reigate Grammar School.  Lizzie gave an inspiring talk after presenting awards to hundreds of our students including 27 Gold Awards.

Simon Elson, our conservation day organiser from Reigate Area Conservation Volunteers, was our special guest who was there so that we could formally thank him and his team for years of outstanding outdoor education in modern local conservation.

U6 Gold Award holders gave outstanding speeches about their experiences.  Very well done to the eight brave souls who gave extremely impressive and inspiring accounts of their DofE experiences: Will Appleyard, George Brill, Hugo Evans, Claire Forster, Laura Mak, Matthew Norman, Emily Ruiz and Charlotte Ward.

This year four L6 Gold students ran the entire evening and they did it superbly! Alanah Sheridan, Emma Findlater, Katy Welsh and Rosie Stanley hosted the event from start to finish and also organised displays and running order beforehand.  They were pioneers of this new style of student-run event and it shows how RGS students will rise to any challenge.  Well done, outstanding.  They also joined DofE staff for dinner with Lizzie Rizzini afterwards.

We hope parents and students enjoyed this special evening and congratulations again to all those students for being so determined to get their award and thanks to parents for the support as well.


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Conservation Day Petridge Wood, Earlswood

 

On Tuesday 1st April the new Bronze dofe students embarked on their first conservation day.  This one was at PetridgeWood between Salfords and Earlswood.  It is near the cricket pitch visible from the main road.  This was an area of mixed woodland and open ground allowing certain rare native plants to thrive.  Scrub encroachment has caused a loss of biodiversity and the conservation group worked hard to clear trees to recreate the diverse heath previously found here.  The group worked exceptionally hard throughout the day and the RACV were most impressed, as was the local authority countryside warden who inspected our work.  The team listened especially well to advice and learned a great deal about safe and efficient felling and clearing, as well as open fire safety.

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Well done team, RGS saving the world again, starting in our own back yard!

The next conservation day is on Tuesday 8 July and will be to a wetland environment so be ready to get wet!