Henshaws students strike silver

Creating a mosaic boat, collecting and preserving leaves and plants and a 60km expedition with two nights under canvas were just some of the activities required for six students from Henshaws Specialist College to successfully complete their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award.

The students, who all have disabilities and special educational needs, had to complete a range of tasks to gain the award and for some of them it was a follow on from completing their Bronze Award in 2018.

Students on a walk as part of a Duke of Edinburgh silver award

Matthew Turner, George Crouch, Amy Dearlove, Ashley Devine, Nathan Wright and Joe Wright spent three days walking, covering Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs, Stainburn Forest and Eccup Reservoir on their 60km trek.

During their expedition they collected plants and flowers, preserving them for display in college.

A display of leaves and flowers

For the volunteering element of the Award, they worked on a mosaic-covered boat to be used as a planter in the grounds of the Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough.

Two young men decorate a small boat with a mosaic

Expedition Assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme David Thomas said: “The aim of the expedition section is to inspire young people to develop their initiative, along with a spirit of adventure and discovery. Well, this group of young people certainly did that!

“I was fortunate enough to be asked to assess this group when they completed their Bronze award expedition last year. They achieved it effortlessly and could easily have gone on for longer. The Silver award requires them to walk and explore for three days and camp for two nights. Conditions over the three days were more challenging than usual for an English summer!

“On day one it rained intermittently as they walked around Swinsty and Fewston Reservoirs. On day two it rained so hard that they had to divert from their route to avoid a stream that had overtopped its banks. On day three the sun came out in North Leeds but only after more rain. Despite the conditions they remained enthusiastic and keen to continue.

“Each evening they prepared their hot food with minimal assistance and were snug and dry in their tents despite the weather outside.

“They all participated in each element of the expedition, navigating, leading the group, cooking and clearing up and generally looking after each other.

“They were well led and organised. I remain humbled by the manner and means with which they completed the expedition. In the past year they have matured and grown in confidence both as individuals and as a team. Their sense of humour did not fail them despite the conditions. Many other groups that I have assessed have struggled in the same conditions.

“I look forward to hearing of their future exploits.”

Henshaws Specialist College Principal Adrian Sugden said: “Our students face additional challenges in their lives but this is no bar to their determination to succeed and I am delighted all six have completed the Silver Award.”

Whether preparing for employment, making friends or learning to live more independently, Henshaws Specialist College enables our students to make their aspirations possible and goals a reality.

Find out more about what our College has to offer at henshaws.ac.uk.  

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