DofE at SMC Youth Club

The Youth Club was established in 1973 and works in partnership with the School and Youth Service for the benefit of young people in the local area.

The Club is open four nights a week for the following activities:

  • Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (Bronze, Silver and Gold)
  • Tuesday Club (for people with moderate or severe learning difficulties)
  • Youth Club – with traditional activities

The Club offers a wide range of activities, it is very successful and attracts large numbers of people on all open nights.  We see approximately 10000 visits per year.

The Club has been inspected by both Local Authority and OFSTED inspectors – both have given excellent reports regarding the Youth provision.

The Youth Club has an equal opportunities policy and makes every effort to accommodate young people with special needs.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

DofE at St Mary’s is an excellent scheme for young people providing an introduction to worthwhile Leisure Pursuits and Voluntary Services, as a challenge to the individual, to discover the satisfaction of achievement.

The scheme has a number of benefits to young people including:

  • Character Building
  • Recognised by employers and Institutes of Higher Education as evidence of an all-rounder who has determination, patience and self discipline
  • Team Building – allows young people to build close friendships with fellow candidates


We always put safety first.  The expedition element of all Award levels should cause the candidates to feel isolated and self reliant.  There is apparent danger, but the actual risks are minimal.  All routes at all levels are chosen carefully with safety and ease of supervision in mind.  The routes and possible points of error are well known by staff.

Since 1972 there have been no serious injuries to young people on St Mary’s College Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expeditions.


Candidates will walk in groups of between 4 and 7 people.  Their progress will be monitored by staff as they move between stages, leaving cards at checkpoints.  Staff will usually accompany the groups for part of their journey on practice expeditions as part of the training.  However, on the final, and for parts of the practice expeditions, the groups will usually be unaccompanied.

On the Bronze Expeditions the young people camp on the same site as the staff.  This is not the case with Silver and Gold expeditions, where groups are given more independence and may be camping 10 miles or more away from the staff base.

Expedition Staffing

  • Staff to pupil ratio is usually 1:5
  • The staff are skilled, qualified and experienced
  • Most are Mountain First Aid Trained and have been validated by the Local Authority for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award or have achieved Mountain Leader status
  • All minibus drivers have passed the Local Authority Test