Award Levels

What is the Duke of Edinburgh International Award?

Overview of the different awards

There are three levels of programme you can do, which, when successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. The main differences between them are the minimum length of time they take to complete, how challenging they are and the minimum age you can start.


In Year 3 students can try for the Bronze qualification. The following timescales apply:

  • Volunteering section: 3 months
  • Physical section: 3 months
  • Skills section: 3 months
  • Expedition section: 2 days/1 night
  • You also have to do 3 more months in one of the Volunteering, Physical or Skills sections.

Year 3 DoE presentation View PDF

In Year 4 and 5 students can try for the Silver qualification. The following timescales apply:

  • Volunteering section: 6 months
  • Physical and Skills sections: one section for 6 months and the other section for 3 months
  • Expedition section: 3 days/2 nights

In Year 5, 6 and 7 students can try for the Gold qualification. The following timescales apply:

  • Volunteering section: 12 months
  • Physical and Skills sections: one section for 12 months and the other section for 6 months
  • Expedition section: 4 days/3 nights
  • Residential section: undertake a shared activity in a residential setting away


Individual – Individuals design their own programme, which can be tailored to suit their personal circumstances, choices and local provision. They start at whichever level suits them best and they can take as long as they wish (within the age limit) to achieve their Award.

Non-competitive – Doing their Award is a personal challenge and not a competition against others. Every participant’s programme is tailor-made to reflect their individual starting point, abilities and interests.

Achievable – An Award is achievable by any individual who chooses to take up the challenge, regardless of ability, gender, background or location, with the right guidance and inspiration.

Voluntary – Whilst the Award may be offered within school, college, work time or extra-curricular activity, individuals choose to do a programme and must commit some of their free time to undertake their activities.

Development – Participating in their Award programme fosters personal and social development. Individuals gain valuable experiences and life skills, grow in confidence and become more aware of their environment and community transforming them into responsible young adults.

Balanced – The Award provides a balanced framework to develop the individual’s mind, body and community spirit by engaging them in a range of activities in up to five different challenges.

Progressive – At each level of engagement, the Award demands progressively more time, commitment and responsibility from the participant.

Inspiration – The Award inspires individuals to exceed their expectations. They are encouraged to set their own challenges and goals before starting an activity; to aim for these goals and by showing improvement, they will achieve an Award.

Persistence – The Award requires persistence and cannot be completed with a short burst of enthusiasm. Participants are encouraged to continue with activities and to maintain their interest.

Enjoyable – Participants and Leaders should find the Award enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding.


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