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Council could cut funding for DofE in Worcestershire
FUNDING for the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh award scheme could be slashed in a review of council finances.
Schools and colleges in Worcestershire could be asked to make “more realistic” contributions towards the cost of the award scheme.
Worcestershire County Council subsidises the voluntary scheme to the tune of about £80,000 a year, supporting 36 educational establishments with over 2,000 participants aged 14-to-25 during 2012/13.
It is not yet known by how much the council will cut its funding as the body has until September to outline its proposals.
Neil Morris, headteacher at Christopher Whitehead Language College in Bromwich Road, Worcester, said the award was crucial for the development of young people and improving their chances of being employed.
He said: “How are children going to be the good citizens of tomorrow if we don’t help them become good citizens?
“I don’t know what more schools can do. We’re sitting on masses of trouble for society in 10 years. DofE is a recognised qualification. What are the council contributing significantly that they didn’t do last year in the form of education for the young people of Worcestershire? We will contribute but I don’t know what we will cut.”
Clive Corbett, headteacher at Pershore High School, said the proposal could also 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 important thing is that the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is absolutely vital to so many of the students here.”
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 the county Council said the award had been “hugely successful” in Worcestershire and it aimed to continue to back the scheme.
They said no decision has been taken to withdraw funding, but options were being explored to enable the scheme to continue with less county council money.
The spokesman said: “It is likely that the future of the scheme will depend on some more realistic contributions to costs and alternative funding .However we are very much at the early stages and have until September 2013 to develop options and agree the way forward.”