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Outdoor Engagement

At Bloxham we recognise the considerable value derived from placing a student outside their natural comfort zone to help build resilience, self-awareness, tenacity and teamwork. We use outdoor education to support this style of learning and development.

All Bloxham students take part in outdoor engagement activities at some stage in their school career and we offer a wide variety of outdoor learning opportunities.


The longstanding and prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme is popular at Bloxham. Our students join the 275,000 young people, from every possible background, who take part in the Award each year to broaden their horizons, develop their leadership skills, learn to work with others, volunteer in their local communities, increase their employability, and prove to themselves they can succeed at a serious challenge.

Bloxham successfully runs groups for Bronze and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the large number of pupils taking part enjoy challenging expeditions to North Devon, the Brecons and the Lake District.

There are two separate Duke of Edinburgh Awards which can be achieved: Bronze and Gold. Each has a different starting age and period of participation. However, for both awards there are four sections:

  • Service - to encourage service to individuals and the community
  • Skills - to encourage the discovery and development of personal interests and social and practical skills
  • Physical recreation - to encourage participation and improvement in physical activity
  • Expeditions - to encourage a spirit of adventure and discovery

Bronze Award

The Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award is the first of the two awards we run at Bloxham. It can be started when nearly 14, and so at Bloxham is normally taken during the Third Form.

The award takes at least six months to complete and so commitment is needed. Requirements:

  • Service: three months
  • Skills: three months
  • Physical recreation: three months
  • Expedition: Plan, prepare and undertake a two day, overnight venture
  • Plus, a further three months in either the service, skills or physical recreation section

Gold Award

The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award is the last and most demanding of the awards. It can be done from 16 older - i.e. the Lower Sixth. It takes at least a year and also involves a residential trip. Requirements:

  • Service: 12 months
  • Skills and physical recreation: one section for 12 months and the other section for 6 months
  • Expedition: Plan, prepare and undertake a four day, three night venture
  • Residential: Undertake a shared activity in a residential setting away from home for five days and four nights
  • Plus, for those who do not have their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze or Silver Award, a further six months in either the service or the longer of the skills/physical recreation section must be completed

With over 160 students participating in the scheme, Bloxham is one of the largest school providers in Oxfordshire and we are very proud of the students who get presented with their Gold Awards at a royal ceremony each year.


The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a national organisation which exists primarily in schools to give its members exposure to military activities, adventure and leadership training, within the safety of a formal and controlled environment.

Within this context Bloxham CCF aims to develop a young person’s leadership skills, promote team spirit and qualities of responsibility, resourcefulness, self-reliance and a sense of service to the school. 

CCF at Bloxham attracts three quarters of the Third Form, who are the first year group eligible to join. Once signed up, pupils are expected to stay for a year, demonstrating the commitment necessary to balance the investment in training and equipment. Thereafter, a good number go on to try one of the many activity choices available to the Fourth Form and above, thus developing their leadership qualities and skills further and achieve more.

The full benefit of CCF to those who stay on is significant. Those who show commitment, enthusiasm and skill soon progress through the ranks, enjoying the kind of responsibility that is not routinely known to students. They command sections, teach lessons and on camp or on exercise lead by example, as they guide and teach the junior cadets how to administer and look after themselves and foster their team/section spirit. With responsibility of rank, they mature and become very useful members of the Contingent and indeed, the school.

See for yourself what the CCF cadets have been up to of late by having a look at our 'News & Events' section.

Outdoor Education

As well as opportunities for curricular climbing, kayaking, sailing and bush craft activities, Bloxham has recently offered exciting overseas trips including climbing in the Swiss Alps, the Second Form French Alps trip and skiing in Italy.

These activities are all specifically designed to challenge students to build upon their strengths, recognise their limitations and develop their potential. Placing students in a different context from one in which they normally find themselves is a powerful learning tool.

The learning that comes from outdoor education is not just acquisition of new knowledge, skills and information but a deeper level of personal understanding that becomes embodied within individuals.

To view the Broader Curricular Booklet, please click here.