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On the 3rd -5th July four students and four staff members from Sutherland House School participated in a two night, three day Residential in the Peak District, Derbyshire. They stayed at a National Trust Bunkhouse in the village of Ilam.

On Day 1 the students walked along the Tissington Trail. The majority of the trail the students walked independently meeting staff at a number of sections (in the shade!). The group had to work and communicate together to navigate themselves along the route. This was an amazing achievement and all the staff were very proud of the students. At the end of the day the students cooked their own food on a portable stove. Later that evening the students made their sandwiches for the next day and listened to the England game on the radio and all celebrating when England won the game.

On Day 2 the group were closely supervised by staff on a circular walk around Thorpe Cloud taking in the Stepping Stones, this was assessed by the DofE assessor Peter Gurney. Peter walked around Thorpe Cloud with the group, checking in with their map reading and navigation, and spent time with them over dinner asking them questions and observing them complete their worksheets. When the students returned to the bunkhouse they used their stoves and demonstrated these skills to cook their pasta. Again, Peter observed the students cooking their food safely and independently. Peter was very impressed with how the DofE program at Sutherland House School has developed over the last three years. He was incredibly positive and encouraging of their efforts and had no hesitation in passing them all on their Silver award expedition section of their qualification!

On Day 3 the group revisited a different area of the Tissington Trail. It has been fantastic to see all the students and staff spending time together in such a positive manner and Autism East Midlands are extremely proud of the group’s efforts. It was a real team effort and a huge thank you must be made to the staff involved, who gave up their free time to make this year’s group so successful. They have now become the first group from Sutherland House School to get their SILVER Duke of Edinburgh award.

The aim for the residential and expedition is to “use technology to make a diary of their travels”. This aim was embedded into each walk with appropriate and relevant worksheets and photographic tick sheets. A Go Pro camera was attached and students took it turn to share this after each leg. The camera recorded their journey and what they were looking at. Another student had the sports camera and photos were taken of the countryside, signs and their friends. This diary will be shared with students, staff and parents as part of the students final criteria for their Silver award – the “presentation.”