At La Côte International School Aubonne, we value student leadership as one of the most powerful opportunities to nurture in our students the art of negotiation, collaboration and teamwork. Besides many opportunities within the classroom context, we motivate and work with those students who wish to achieve the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, the world’s leading youth achievement award. Complementing their academic achievements, the Award is renowned for giving students the skills, confidence and experience they need to have an advantage when applying to universities of their choice.
Year 10 students Uma, Sarah and Clara run a chess club before school in the mornings for interested Primary students in pursuit of the Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) Bronze Award. The chess mornings have quickly become very popular, and provide a stimulating opportunity for our younger children to engage and improve in an area of personal interest. Uma explains, "I want to complete the DoE because it encourages me to seek out challenges and gain new skills, but also to track my achievements, which in turn boosts my confidence and motivation." Sarah adds, "Hosting this club allows me to inspire the same passion for chess in younger students that I have, and it's a way for me to give back to the community - an opportunity I value very much!”
The DoE Award is a programme of activities in which our students are required to gain a new skill, improve their physical fitness, volunteer in their community and engage in an adventure/outdoor experience in a new environment. The success of the programme is measured by regular participation over a period of time, asking the students to provide evidence of their engagement and to keep track of their own progress in each activity. All students who choose to participate are guided on their outdoor adventure by our dedicated DoE coordinators.
The DoE Award is divided into three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold, which require different time commitments, progressing from Bronze to Gold. Students can start at the Bronze Award in Year 10. In Years 12 and 13, IBDP students can count their activity hours towards both the DoE Award and their CAS requirements.
The DoE provides a framework that equips young people with a range of skills they need to succeed in an ever-evolving world. Young people must demonstrate that their skills have improved, and they are recognizing areas of personal growth. It provides individuals with values and experiences that are in high demand in the world of work. From volunteering to the adventures an award winner must undertake, employers are looking for well-rounded employees. Frequently, students and teachers report that the award winners have demonstrated personal growth in these areas:
Principal Andy Puttock comments: "It was one of those 'moments of the week' when I recently visited this student-led chess club. The enthusiasm for the game amongst our younger students is infectious and the genuine leadership shown by our Year 10 students is truly inspiring. It was their idea to start the club - we just had to provide the time and space! But that's only part of the picture; both our Primary and Secondary students show leadership in so many ways, from leading clubs and activities, to reading with the younger ones, to student voice and council. We are proud to be a school where all our students see themselves as a community and benefit from it, and we look forward to many more student-led initiatives of this kind."