Thinking Schools Academy Trust Awarded Duke of Edinburgh Licence

Thinking Schools Academy Trust Awarded Duke of Edinburgh Licence

The Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT) has become one of the first Multi-Academy Trusts in the country to be given a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) licence – empowering students from its four secondary schools across Medway and Portsmouth to push their personal boundaries, gain new skills, and enhance their CVs.

TSAT was awarded the coveted licence to support the growth of the DofE programme across the whole Trust. It was recognised by the DofE for its ambition to encourage as many students as possible to take part in the world’s leading youth achievement award, and for the sense of belonging fostered by the Trust’s strong leadership.

This is only the second time that a Multi-Academy Trust has been granted a licence in the South East.

The Trust’s four secondary schools in Medway and Portsmouth – The Victory Academy, Rochester Grammar School, Holcombe Grammar School, and The Portsmouth Academy – are all set to benefit from the license. Philippa Hann, a 15 year-old student at Rochester Grammar School, set an example by going above and beyond the Award requirements – earning an Environmental Champion Award for her efforts.

Other students to gain special praise for their contributions to the community include Isabelle Armstrong, 14, who taught a local Rainbows group about bullying and self-respect, and Esther Harris, 15, who helped at a street dance and musical theatre club.

More than 200 students across the Trust have already enrolled for the three DofE Awards, giving TSAT one of the largest cohorts of DofE participants in Kent.

The awards develop the self-confidence and life skills of students through volunteering, physical activities and expeditions, and one of the challenges sees students completing an 80km expedition over four days, usually held in Dartmoor.


Ben Vickery, DofE Manager for the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to become one of the first MATs to be awarded a DofE licence, ensuring all of our secondary school students can benefit from the UK’s flagship youth achievement programme.

“The DofE award is immensely enriching, supporting young people at a formative point in their lives to grow personally and within teams. Crucially, it also offers our young people the opportunity to give back to their communities.

“It is fantastic to see such a large number of our students showing enthusiasm for the programme, and I cannot wait to see the wide range of skills and talents that they develop over the coming years.”


Stuart Gardner, Chief Executive of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, said: 

“I know from personal experience that the DofE is a fantastic programme for young people and has the power to transform lives.

“We are therefore extremely pleased to have been awarded this rare Trust-wide licence, so that all of our secondary school students have the opportunity to participate.

“The focus on the development of, and engagement with, essential life skills and habits allows young people to flourish – and we are really excited about seeing our students grow on the programme.”


Alex Wilkes, Operations Officer at The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said:

“We were delighted to award the DofE licence to TSAT, which has stood out for its immense dedication to giving more young people the chance to participate in our world-leading programme. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with TSAT to extend opportunities for young people.”