Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award, bringing together practical experiences and life skills to equip young people for success.

Since it was founded in 1956 by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh (husband to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom), over eight million young people have participated in the Award in over 140 countries.

DESC is very proud to offer the prestigious International Award (better known as the Duke of Edinburgh Award in the UK) to all of its students in Year 10 to Year 13. It is an award that is closely aligned with the values of the College particularly in terms of equipping our students with the key skills of resilience, independence, collaboration, enterprise and innovation. The award is facilitated by a team of staff who oversee and encourage the students to complete all parts of the award and progress from Bronze through to Silver and Gold.

“You are not comparing yourself with anyone, you are not competing with anyone, what you are actually doing is creating yourself.”  

– Brendan Kennelly, Poet and President’s Award Leader

For many students, the highlight of each stage of the Award is the Adventurous Journey where the students must refine their camping skills and co-operate to navigate unforgiving terrain and expand their horizons. In recent years these excursions included overnight stays in locations as diverse as Cyprus and Scotland. The expeditions are rewarding and challenging in equal measure. Independence and commitment are also paramount and cannot be underestimated in terms of successfully completing a stage of the Award. Each student sets their own goals and records their own progress. The only person they compete against is themselves, by challenging their own beliefs about what they can achieve. Alongside the Adventurous Journey, students must also refine a skill, initiate and sustain an act of service and exert themselves in a physical discipline for several weeks.

Despite the emphasis on self-motivation, our students are supported throughout the process by our team of trained staff. The D of E Awarding Body itself recognises the importance of this aspect which they suggest plays a significant role in inspiring students to finish all parts of the award: service, skill, physical recreation, an adventurous journey and residential.


This section of the award provides our students with a sense of worth from having given service and help to others in their community.

The opportunity to give service over an extended period of time also enables them to witness and experience the benefits that service provides to others and encourages them to become better global citizens. Students often take part in service activities throughout the Gulf working with a range of environmental, charity and emergency services.


This section provides our students with the opportunity to either improve on an existing skill, or to try something new.

As with other sections, a level of commitment over time to progress in their skill leads to a sense of achievement and well-being. Popular skills students work towards include those in the fields of music, sport and games. Learning to play a musical instrument or a new language are always popular choices, for example.


Encouraging healthy behaviours has benefits, whether through improved health, or active participation in team activities. This section therefore specifically aims to improve the health, team skills, self-esteem and confidence of our students.This year students took part in Physical Recreation in areas as diverse as ball sports, athletics, water sports and martial arts.

Adventurous Journey

The opportunity to engage in adventurous activities in a new environment provides our students with the chance to learn more about the environment around them, as well as develop their self-confidence, teamwork and wellbeing.

The Adventurous Journey takes students out of their comfort zone but within a safe and secure setting achieved through sustained training and supervision led by the team. Typically our Bronze students camp overnight in Dubai, with Silver students exploring the rural coastline of Cyprus and Gold participants trekking across Scotland. All who took part thoroughly enjoyed and embraced the challenge.

Residential Project (Gold only)

The Residential Project is generally the last activity that participants undertake during their Award due to it being required to complete their Gold. It is also an opportunity to use many of the skills developed during the overall experience such as teamwork and leadership.

This year our Gold students have completed Residential Projects throughout the world in a number of capacities, most notably environmental and conservational projects. We have found that this part of the Award has a particularly lasting impact on our students and therefore provide both experience and legacy in equal measure.


Overall the philosophy of the Award and its impact on our students is immeasurable. It provides them with a further framework to develop their life skills and enables them to deal with the challenges that life provides: essentially the Award aids in providing them with the resilience to succeed in life.

For more information, contact your Parent Liaison or visit the D of E International Award website: http://intaward.org 

More details on how to sign up for the Awards will be on the Parent Portal during Term One.

On-Line Record Book (ORB)

For more information about recording your work towards the Awards, please view the ORB Participant's User Guide