Sections - Ratcliffe College


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award comprises four sections (five at Gold level), and by selecting one activity within each section, you embark on a personalised journey through a diverse and balanced programme. Activities can be chosen from a variety of school clubs or those offered outside of school, but they must be co-curricular in nature and not involve paid work.

DofE is a marathon, not a sprint, and participants commit to dedicating an hour per week of their spare time to each section, over a significant timescale – this structured approach ensures that participants can fully engage with and benefit from the diverse experiences offered by the award programme.

  • Bronze level – 3 months per section with one section extended to 6 months
  • Silver level – 6 months per section with the physical or skill section reduced to 3 months. (Direct entrants who have not completed Bronze level must increase one section to 12 months).
  • Gold level – 12 months per section with the physical or skill section reduced to 6 months. (Direct entrants who have not completed Silver level must increase once section to 18 months).

Sections do not all have to be undertaken at the same time.

Participants should discuss what they wish to do for a section, identify a suitable teacher or qualified adult to act as their assessor, decide on their own personal goals and then make a start. At the end of the timescale, adding extra time if weeks are missed for holidays, the assessor should write a lovely report about the achievements, progress made or help given by the young person.

A list of suggestions for each section appears below:



Participants have a variety of activities to choose from within school:

  • SVP (helping in the prep school)
  • VSU (visiting the local special needs group)
  • CCF leadership
  • Sports leadership
  • Mother Theresa group
  • Chaplaincy team work – and more

The common thread among these activities is a shared commitment to serving the community and assisting those who are less fortunate. Outside of school, students have a wide array of volunteering opportunities available, including work at charity shops, animal rescue centers, involvement in church initiatives, participation in environmental groups, and many more.


Participants have a diverse range of activities to select from within the school, including:

  • Team sports
  • Fitness sessions in the school gym
  • Swimming clubs
  • Golf – and many more

Since many students already dedicate their time to representing the school team on weekends, these activities serve as ideal options for this section of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

There are many more possibilities available outside of school, all of which share the common goal of improving participants’ fitness levels. Previous choices made by Ratcliffe participants include:

  • Wakeboarding
  • Cycling
  • Horse riding
  • Ballroom dancing
  • Climbing
  • Karate – and many more


Participants have a plethora of activities to choose from within the school environment, including:

  • Drama
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Art (must be extra-curricular not studies related prep)
  • Spitfire Club
  • Pets’ Corner
  • French Film Club
  • Cookery Club
  • Reading novels
  • Go4SET – and many more

Outside of school, opportunities are equally varied, as most hobbies that are not sports can be incorporated into the skills section in some capacity. Activities chosen should involve an element of learning or skill improvement. Participants may pursue qualifications such as grade examinations in piano or other skills outside of school.


Participants engage in a shared activity away from home, accompanied by individuals they have never met before, for a minimum duration of 5 days and 4 nights. Due to the detailed requirements of this section, it is crucial to consult with Mr Cole (in charge of Gold) before booking any activity to ensure its validity for this section of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Examples of residential activities that participants have undertaken in the past include outward bound courses, residential cookery courses, Headstart courses at universities, and more.

Residential Suggestions

Residential Opportunities