Over two dozen Test Valley School students have successfully completed the Duke of Edinburgh Awards despite the Covid pandemic. 

Steve Langdown, head of key stage four, said: “They students were introduced to them in Year 9. They should have done their expedition in the summer of Year 10 but Covid stopped it completely.”

The three tiered, Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, develop skills for life and work, and was completed by 29 students.

It is run in conjunction with Andover Baptist Church’s Bronze coordinator Stephen Bennett and overall coordinator Simon Mason. 

One successful awardee was Year 11 Liam Jeans. He said: “I enjoy walking and I enjoyed the map reading and navigation part, although I found it difficult at times.”

Along with the physical challenges which involved hiking 30km over two days while carrying supplies, the awards include helping the community or environment sections. 

Head prefect, Archie Goddard, said: “I went to work with John Deere for a week working on tractors. 

“I used the DoE to experience that and from doing that I realised I want to go into agriculture.”

Ollie Argyle, Year 11, added: “I found the expedition the most challenging, just because of my size and the amount of weight I had to carry, about 7kg.”

The students are keen to continue with the scheme and found that, in addition to learning about yourself, the students found another benefit is making friends, as 40 students in all from across Test Valley took part in total. 

Mr Langdown added: “I am very proud of them because of the difficulties they had to overcome. One factor was it was much colder than when we normally do the DoE.”