The Duke of Edinburgh Award provides the opportunity to discover new interests and talents, and to develop essential skills for life and work. It is a recognised mark of achievement which is respected by employers, and has been described as a ‘life changing experience’.

The DofE, offered to 14-24 year olds, has supported many generations to successfully navigate adult life, and when completed, leads to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

With four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver level and five at Gold, there are many challenges and skills to learn, including helping the community/environment, becoming fitter, developing new skills, planning, training for and completing an expedition and, for Gold only, working with a team on a residential activity. 

What we love about the DofE award is that any young person can do it regardless of ability, gender, background or location. Achieving an Award isn’t a competition or about being first, it’s all about setting personal challenges and pushing personal boundaries, which is exactly what we try to inspire all of the people we support to do at Autism Wessex, it is your own pace and journey that matters most, not everybody else’s. Not only is the award great for broadening the range of activities you do, it also provides the opportunity to learn essential skills and attributes for work and life such as resilience, problem-solving, team-working, communication and drive.


Here at Autism Wessex, we provide education at Portfield School for up to 100 autistic children and young people, and we are very happy to be able to start offering the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) award for the first time from September 2021.

Head Teacher Jemma Dudgeon said: “We are extremely excited to offer the DofE scheme to our older students from next term.


“At Portfield School we aim to ensure all our students enjoy the same exciting learning opportunities as all young people. DofE will enrich their skills and future job prospects as they pass through this school and on to our further education.”


Jemma Dudgeon continued: “Portfield School is a huge advocate of outside learning and our Forest School already equips our young people with skills such as tent building, fire building and outdoor cooking.


“The Duke of Edinburgh’s scheme fits perfectly with our ethos and we are looking forward to providing our young people with all the support they need to enjoy some truly memorable experiences.”


Portfield School will be starting the Bronze DofE scheme with a small group of its Sixth Form students, led by Forest School Leader, Mr Damian Brown.


You can learn more about the DofE award here:

Or, to find out more about the specialist education we provide, head to:


Autism Wessex is registered in England & Wales under charity number 1000792 at Charity Hub, Portfield School, Parley Lane, Christchurch, BH23 6BP. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website.
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