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The Duke of Edinburgh's Award was founded in 1956 and is designed to give young people aged 14 to 25 an opportunity to undertake new challenges and adventures, give something back to the community, acquire new skills and build confidence.

About 225,000 young people are taking part in the award at any one time.

There are three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each has four sections: * Expeditions: this could be trekking in Nepal or the Brecon beacons but must involve planning, training and completing a journey.

* Skills: participants can choose virtually any skill, for example playing a musical instrument, public-speaking or driving.

* Physical recreation: participants choose from virtually any area of sport, dance or fitness.

* Service: this is about helping others. About 2 million hours of voluntary community work are undertaken by award participants every year.

The Gold Award also requires a residential project.

The award is flexible and can be used to develop and reinforce many parts of the curriculum. The most obvious are PSHE, citizenship, literacy, physical recreation. Others include careers guidance, numeracy, geography (map reading), science and mathematics.

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