Lees Brook School – DofE Diamond funding

Alex Waterhouse – DofE Manager

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Senior Leadership Team at Lees Brook School in Derby decided to offer Bronze DofE to all students in Year 9. The School recognises that offering DofE will have a huge, positive impact on students’ mental health and wellbeing, as well as providing an opportunity to develop their own abilities. During these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to give them a sense of focus and achievement.

As a result of the pandemic many after-school clubs have been cancelled at Lees Brook, where it is recognised that a high percentage of students are from a disadvantaged background and may have challenging home lives. These home lives may have become more strained due to financial pressures on the family as a result of the pandemic.

To be able to offer DofE to all of Year 9, the school needs to double its usual cohort to over 200 students. To ensure this is feasible, the school have applied to the DofE Diamond Fund for the additional participation places and expedition kit, with a view to start expeditions spring 2021. Having these takes away the barrier many young people would normally experience when enrolling for their DofE.

Alex Waterhouse, DofE Manager at Lees Brook, says: “Our young people need something positive in their lives at the moment to work towards and focus on. We believe DofE will have a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing, as well as helping with their academic, social and emotional development.” Alex continues “We believe this will give those young people who are disengaged from school, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, the chance to excel – improving self-belief, raising aspirations, attainment and narrowing the gap for these young people.”

Mrs Morton-Riley, Head of Year 9, says “Our young people feel there’s no future for them, all they see is a future of lockdown and restrictions and it’s affecting their mental health massively. Something we keep hearing amongst our young people is ‘there’s no future and we’re fed up’. This project would have a huge impact on their future outlook. It would give them a focus and something positive in their lives. This project is just what they need.”

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