Opportunities for interesting and varied life experiences outside of the curriculum are just as important as the teaching and learning we do in our classrooms.

We know this is what will make our students into well-rounded, happy and successful citizens of the future, and give them the edge in the work place

This includes

Duke of Edinburgh Award

At our school the DofE Award has been well established since 1984 and we proudly promote it at Bronze level to our Year 9s and Silver for our Year 10s each year. 

The DofE Award is many things to many people, supporting generations to successfully navigate adult life. A life-changing experience; a fun time with friends; an opportunity to discover new interests and talents; a tool to develop essential skills for life and work. A recognised mark of achievement, respected by employers.

Our Essential Expedition Kit List

Learning an Instrument

We have a range of talented professional tutors who work with us to offer one-to-one instrument and singing lessons to our students within the school day. They offer these lessons at preferential rates so you don't pay as much as you would for private lessons taken outside of school. We also hire some instruments at £30 per term for students to learn on.

Great for developing perseverance, self-discipline and cognitive ability, playing an instrument is also very good for emotional and mental well-being. No one ever regrets learning to play an instrument!

Learn more about our Instrument Lessons

At our school the DofE Award has been well established since 1984 and we proudly promote it at Bronze level to our Year 9s and Silver for our Year 10s each year. 

The DofE Award is many things to many people, supporting generations to successfully navigate adult life. A life-changing experience; a fun time with friends; an opportunity to discover new interests and talents; a tool to develop essential skills for life and work. A recognised mark of achievement, respected by employers.

Through a DofE programme young people have fun, make friends, improve their self-esteem and build confidence. They gain essential skills and attributes for work and life such as resilience, problem-solving, team-working, communication and drive, enhancing CVs and university and job applications. Top employers recognise the work-ready skills Award holders bring to their business.

There are four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver level and five at Gold. They involve 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.

Any young person can do their DofE – 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.

The DofE licenses organisations that work with young people aged 14-24 years to run DofE programmes, such as schools, colleges, youth groups and clubs. Through the Licensed Organisation (LO) young people (or their parents / carers) pay for a Participation Place and are supported by Leaders who support them through their programmes, helping them to choose their activities, set their objectives and achieve their Award.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a registered charity, funded by donations, Participation Places and licences. The charity works with LOs across the UK to increase opportunities for young people to gain the benefits of doing their DofE.

We keep the cost as lean as possible, charging just £60 per student which includes the cost of the DofE Participation Place. There will be no additional costs apart from personal equipment and food for the expedition.

All participants record their progress through each of the programme sections online. This may also be accessed using the DofE app for mobile phones.

To support young people to complete their expeditions, several flexibilities have been developed that address different social distancing challenges. This includes relaxation of the rules around recommended environments, so participants don’t have to leave their local area to complete an expedition. Also, it is allowable for teams at all Award levels to return home to sleep during their expedition. They should, however, still plan and cook their meals as a team, and of course meet the minimum hours of planned activity during each day.

Staff currently involved in delivering the Award Programme include:

Mr Everett – DofE Manager and Expedition Assessor

Mr Chase – DofE Coordinator

Mrs Blackwell – Expedition Supervisor and Expedition Assessor

All leaders are qualified and experienced in their respective roles.

Many other school staff also give up their valuable time to assist with training and supervising expeditions and some assessor’s duties.

Culture & Challenge Days

These two days are off-timetable for each year group, and offer an array of activities both in-school and out, that provide opportunities for students to get beyond the academic curriculum, have some fun with peers and staff members, some cultural experiences and some personal challenges that will build their skills and open their minds to possibilities for the future.

This year our Culture & Challenge Days will take place on 18 & 19 July. 


Tuesday 18 July
Wednesday 19 July


Choice of Dry-Skiing at the Snowdome in Hemel Hempstead, Aqua Park & Inflatables at Thorpe Lakes, or Cinema & Karting Combo in Crawley (all transport by coach)

Skills 4 Work Workshops here in our own spaces, led by local employer Willis Towers Watson, exploring various essential professional & business skills


Animal Encounters, here in the school grounds with displays from Huxley’s Birds of Prey Centre, Tom’s Talking Reptiles and the local Police with their working dogs

High Ropes Tree Top Challenge at Go Ape experience, students shared between the sites at Chessington and Crawley (using public transport)


Crystal Maze Games with a variety of physical, mental & skills-based challenges to develop team-work, leadership, problem-solving and initiative, taking place here in our grounds

Guildford Spectrum for Ten Pin Bowling in the morning, lunch in Stoke Park, then a choice of swimming or ice skating in the afternoon (transport by coach)


9-Mile Challenge Circular Hike around the North Downs, from and back to the school, appreciating our beautiful local and natural surroundings

Trip to Chessington Zoo & World of Adventures (transport by coach)


Forest School

A child-centred inspirational learning process that offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions, Forest School is a long-term program that supports play, exploration and supported risk-taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner-inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.

We began our Forest School experiences nearly 20 years ago and over the past seven years we have offered weekly 2-hour sessions to selected Year 7 students, each group spending one term on a programme of Forest School activities. The sessions are run during the school day and are planned and delivered by two members of staff, Mr Everett and Mrs Tully, who are qualified Forest School Leaders.

Our activities support the main curriculum (particularly Literacy, Science, Maths and The Arts) and have a strong emphasis on developing children’s self-esteem and confidence, as well as having fun! No charge is made for these sessions.

Forest School programmes operate all year round in all weather conditions, and will only be cancelled in the event of dangerous stormy weather, when there is a serious risk of trees being brought down.

All activities are risk assessed and are run by trained staff under the supervision of a professionally trained Level 3 Forest School Leader. Activities, which are largely child-centred, include shelter building, wood carving, natural weaving, woodland management, fire lighting and cooking on open fires. Children are also trained in the use of forest tools such as bow saws, woodcraft knives, billhooks, and loppers.

Quality Forest School is delivery which holds to all six key principles that shape and govern the Forest School ethos. Forest School is unique in its reach, delivery and effect.

These six principles are:

  1. Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session
  2. Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a lifelong relationship between the learner and the natural world
  3. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning
  4. Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners
  5. Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves
  6. Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners, who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice

Reigate & Banstead Writes

This is a local community initiative for aspiring storytellers, created by our own Librarian Kay Hymas back in 2017. Over 1,500 short stories later, from young people across the Borough and we were excited to be able to begin the annual competition once more in 2021 despite restrictions.

The idea is simple: young people in the 9-14 age group are invited to write an original 1000 word story based in our area. The independent judging panel consists of authors, local teachers, public librarians, journalists and local Councillors, with Jane Thynne, Cllr Rod Ashford, Michael Rattigan and Jante Baird heading up the team. The competition is well-supported by The Belfry Centre and The Harlequin.

2021 Winners

For 2021 Heidi Penrose-Buckley took the honours. Aged just 10, she is our youngest winner to date and attends Reigate Parish Primary school. My Life in Reigate is a story of the zeitgeist, as the Age of Corona is examined by Mishi, a dog.

Ella Dutton from Carrington School, a Runner-Up in 2020, was again a close Runner-Up this year. Her story Ondine is fabulous as she looks at Reigate through the eyes of Margot Fonteyn.

Max Eggleton, a 13-year-old from Dunottar School and his fabulous Escape from the Cold was the other Runner-Up.

A special mention goes to our own Caitlin Evans who has entered each year since 2017 and has always been shortlisted. Her talent is recognised with a Highly Commended prize, along with Emily Field a Carrington School Year 9 student. 

It took JK Rowling six attempts to get published so to all young writers: Keep going! Your imagination can take you anywhere.

Surrey's Biggest Writing Competition

James Canon, BBC Radio Surrey

LISTEN to Heidi reading an extract of her winning story, and our Librarian Kay Hymas talking about the competition on BBC Surrey Radio, on 6 October

READ Ondine, A Story by Ella Dutton

Reigate and Banstead Writes Winning Stories 2020

The overall winner was Orla McNally, a first form student at Reigate Grammar School, selected from 501 entries. Second place went to the youngest ever winner, Year 6 Sophie Pither, and our own Ella Dutton, then in Year 7, was awarded third place with her story Power of the Past. She is ‘thrilled’.

Florence Sarenco, Annabelle Allen and Emily Field, all from Year 7, made the final 35 stories that were put in front of the judges.

Ella’s story was published online by Surrey Libraries, The Harlequin and other partners.

A Reigate Pigeon’s War

2020 Winner Orla McNally, Reigate Grammar School

The Ghost Train

Second Place Winner Sophie Pither, St Joseph’s Primary, Redhill

Power of the past

Third Place Winner Ella Dutton, The Warwick School

Reigate and Banstead Writes Winning Stories 2019

First Place -The Black knight of Reigate Castle by Katy Adnyana 
The Warwick School

Second Place-Superdog becomes Mayor By Jennifer Callaghan 
St Bede’s

Third Place-The Ghosts of Priory Past by Orla McNally 
Reigate Priory Junior School