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Council plans to slash cash for Duke’s award
2:00pm Friday 22nd February 2013 in News
FUNDING for the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme could be slashed in a review of council finances.
Schools and colleges could be asked to make “more realistic” contributions towards the cost.
Worcestershire County Council subsidises the voluntary scheme to the tune of about £80,000 a year, supporting 36 educational establishments with more than 2,000 participants. It is not yet known by how much the council will cut its funding as the body has until September to outline its proposals.
Clive Corbett, headteacher at Pershore High School, said the proposal could mean parents having to fork out more, although he said Pershore High would do all it could to minimise the impact on its students.
He said: “I appreciate the reality of the situation. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is absolutely vital to so many of the students here.
“We’d have to make sure any extra cost does not affect take-up. If we felt there were particular youngsters with family hardship, we would do our best to subsidise things.
We will continue to pay for staff to be trained and it’s important the county does all it can to keep costs down.
“Parents might have to contribute more and that’s not good news but it is the reality of things. We’d ask [the council] that we and other schools are kept part of discussions.”
DofE comprises three levels – bronze, silver and gold – each of which require commitment to regular volunteering, participation in a physical activity, a skill and an expedition. Those who achieve the gold standard receive their award from the Duke himself.
A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council said the award had been “hugely successful” in Worcestershire and it aimed to continue to support the scheme.
They said no decision had been taken to withdraw funding, but options were being explored to enable the scheme to continue with less county council money.