All posts by Mandy Hickman

DofE News



It has been a really exciting year for us this year.  We have record  numbers of students participating with 135 starting bronze, 65 silver and 19 gold.  This is well up on last year when we had 88 bronze, 58 silver and 4 gold.

We have also record numbers completing their awards with our first ever gold award holders.  Congratulations to Roz, Farah (2015-16)and Sudiksha(2016-2017). We have at least four other students who should complete in the coming weeks.

We have awarded 67 Silver awards and 76 bronze awards to the 2015-16 cohort and we have  83 bronze and 53 silver awards (from the 2016-17 cohort) which just need the assessor reports to be completed before those individuals will also complete the award!

Well done to all involved.

Miss Hickman


Bronze 2017-18 teams and dates

Bronze DofE:

Due to large numbers we have added an extra training day and we have changed one of the practice expedition dates as it was straight before year 9 exams. This means that we will run the training and expeditions as two equal sized groups.

Group 1

Training         Saturday 24th Feb 2018

Practice         28-29th April 2018           

Qualifying     16-17th June 2018

Group 2

Training        Sunday 25th Feb 2018

Practice         12-13th May 2018

Qualifying     23-24th June 2018

Italics indicate added dates from the information evening. This was due to one of the original practice dates being right before examinations. Extra training day due to numbers.

There will be twenty teams and ten will be in each group. In order to arrange your team you must write their names on the team sheet. These can be found in the wallet on my door of F28. Once filled these should be put into the other wallet on my door labelled ‘completed forms’. The maximum number in a team is 7, if you do not have 7 in your team then you may be split into two smaller groups and be put with others. If you do not know anyone then do not worry as I will assign you to a group, (just put a note into my wallet if you cannot do one of the dates). Please tick the boxes to say which dates your team are able to do. As there are only 2 new dates added, I would expect the majority of people to be able to make the dates. Groups may have to be split if individuals cannot do the new dates. Please complete these sheets by Friday 17th November or you will be randomly allocated to a group.

As you may be aware all of your accounts have been set up on edofe and you will have been sent an email to confirm this. I will go over how to use this in meetings once I have your team sheets.

Costs and Payment 2017-18

Costs and Payment


A deposit of 50% should be by cheque made payable to Altrincham Grammar School for Girls.

The pupil’s name, Form Class and D of E award level should be clearly marked on the back of each cheque. This should be handed into reception by 19th October 2017


Unfortunately, failure to meet a payment by this date must mean that a place will not be booked.


The balance should be paid by Parent Pay by 1st January 2018 and all monies are nonrefundable.  If the balance is not paid by this date then the deposit will be lost and your child will not have a place on the scheme.  Any issues with paying this please see Miss Hickman.


Parents/Guardians must note that on top of the payment cost for the programme, they may need to buy personal equipment.




Bronze Walking: £300

Includes: DofE book, access to edofe system and training on this, 1 training session /2 day Practice Expedition/ 2 day Assessed Expedition, certificate, and badge.



Silver Walking: £400

Includes: DofE book, access to edofe system and training on this, 1 x training day/3 day Practice Expedition/ 3 day Assessed Expedition, certificate, and badge.



Gold Walking: £500

Includes: DofE book, access to edofe system and training on this, 1 x training day/3 day Practice Expedition/ 5 day Assessed Expedition, certificate, and badge.


Gold Direct Walking: £600

Includes: DofE book, access to edofe system and training on this, 2 x training day/3 day Practice Expedition/ 5 day Assessed Expedition, certificate, and badge.

Training/Expedition dates 2017-2018

Duke of Edinburgh Expedition Calendar: 2017/2018

Bronze Walking

Training Day/s:        Sat 24th Feb 2018   9am–4pm

Practice Expedition:   12th-13th May 2018 (19th-20th May 2018) if 13 groups or more

Assessed Expedition: 16th-17th June 2018 (23rd-24th June 2018) as above

Silver Walking

Training Day/s:       Sat 3rd March 2018 9am-4pm

Practice Expedition:   8th -10th June 2018

Assessed Expedition: 15th-17th September 2018 

Gold Walking 

Training Day/s:       Sat 10th March 2018 times TBC

Practice Expedition:   13th-15th July 2018

Assessed Expedition: 30thAugust – 3rd September 2018 

Gold Direct Walking

Training Day/s:       Sat 3rd March 2018 9am-4pm and Sat 10th March 2018

Practice Expedition:   8th -10th June 2018 and 13th-15th July 2018

Assessed Expedition: 30thAugust – 3rd September 2018


Parent/carer information evenings for bronze, silver and gold awards 2017-2018.

Bronze information evening : 4/10/17 6-7pm main hall
Silver/gold information evening: 11/10/17 6-7pm main hall
Parents/carers and pupils must attend.

IMPORTANT: Change of Plans

Due to cancellation of flights by Virgin, our arrangements have changed for the Spring break trip.

Our new flights are

1/4/18  11.50am London Heathrow to San Francisco

11/4/18 Arriving back in London Heathrow at 12.05 pm

Of course these are subject to change.  We will now be taking a coach to London and back again.


I am sorry for any inconvenience.

Mandy Hickman

Silver Qualifying Expedition

See below for the letter from Kevin at Outlook.

Tel: 07980 306869 | Email: |


Dear Parent / Guardian

Your child is due to attend their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Qualifier Expedition Saturday 16th Sept to Monday 18th Sept. I’m contacting you to confirm the arrangements. If they no longer can attend please let the school know ASAP as this has an impact on the viability of their group.

I will be coordinating the event and will remain in the area all the time to support the staff. I’ll be on-duty overnight on the campsites and should be your ‘First contact’ if you need to get in touch with your child. I’d remind you that there is often patchy signal in the area that we will be working, (possibly no signal on the first campsite and none on the second one). You can leave a message and I’ll return it when I pick it up. You should also not be asking your young people to be ringing you to keep them updated. Assume ‘No news is good news’.

During the Qualifying expedition, each group will be remotely supervised by a team of 3 staff who meet groups regularly at checking in points along the way. Staff are not allowed to walk with groups. On most days, they will be out for at least 7 hours and be walking at least 12km and ascending about 400m. Please ensure that they have been keeping fit and well in the run up to this event. If there are any changes to medical conditions you should have them checked by your doctor and declare them to the school.

Saturday morning drop off: 9:30am prompt.
Dove Stone Reservoir Car Park
Oldham OL3 7NE,-1.9820489,16z

Monday Afternoon pick up: 4:30. They may be later than this so please be patient and remember that they have to do a debrief with their assessor after they arrive.

Tegg’s Nose Country Park
Buxton Old Rd, Sutton, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 0AP’s+Nose+Country+Park/@53.256318,-2.076051,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xdad515d9d2aac45f

Google Maps Alert – we have had problems recently with parents getting lost on the way to the drop off / pick up because they were using:
Postcodes only – please be aware that postcodes in the countryside are for a far larger area than in a city. You will need to check a map before setting off and bring a map with you.
Google Maps and not a dedicated SatNav or SatNav app. Google Maps can struggle in the countryside as it relies on you receiving a 3G or 4G signal to update the map position. Please take precautions.

These are the campsites we are using in case you need to pick up a child.

Boarfold Scout Campsite
Far Woodseats Lane, Chisworth, Charlesworth, Derbyshire. SK13 5RS.,-2.0201845,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xc546cf3be17c0e2f

Seven Springs Guide Camp
Corks Ln., Disley, SK12 2AZ,-2.0246516,16.75z

Mobile phones
The Duke of Edinburgh Organisation recommend that we do not allow participants to have mobile phones whilst on expedition (day or night). There are many reasons for this:
The participants are encouraged to ‘un-plug’ from the outside world and focus on becoming part of their team by socialising and supporting each other.
Mobile phones don’t stand up well to rain, mud, being crushed in pockets. They run out of charge and there are no charging facilities on campsites.
There is patchy coverage in the countryside, and batteries die and so if you are waiting on a phone call from your young person and don’t receive it or you are trying to ring them to check on them, and they don’t call back – you get anxious for no reason.
For these reasons, we have always run and supervised expeditions in such a way that mobile reception is not required for supervision or safety:

Sometimes it is necessary for me to contact home if a young person takes ill or has forgotten equipment. I have all the emergency contact details that you provided the school with and can contact parents if I need to. You can contact me directly on the number above – please only do this if it is an emergency, and remember, I too will have patchy reception and so may not get straight back to you.

Thanks for your support.

Kevin Beattie
Programme Manager

Azul Wasi

We’re back from Azul Wazi! The owner of the home, Alcides, visited us on Monday night to brief us and despite him not speaking a word of English and Erin thinking he was a bus driver, we got lots of useful info.

We’ve had a brilliant time – the boys all greeted us with hugs as we left the bus and after setting up our tents, we were quickly playing a game of football with the kids. Needless to say they beat us! In the afternoon we started our work building a security fence, making up concrete in big piles and carrying it down the hill in a chain gang. We definitely built up our upper body strength while we were there! In the evening we played football again as it got dark then cooked dinner by our tents.

On Wednesday some of us separated rocks for the wall and mixed concrete. At lunch Alcides bought us lovely sweet bread and cheese (although we couldn’t finish it all).

  • We were all very sad to leave. The boys were really welcoming and we’ve become quite close to them. We contemplated taking Percy home with us! After lunch we had a final meeting where we gave them our gifts and they presented us with little bags and purses. After a final game of football we said our goodbyes and returned tired and happy to Cusco, where we are resting before Puerto Maldonado.


Continue reading Cusco

Not long now!

11 hours!