The Alternative School at Buckingham Palace

The Alternative School at Buckingham Palace!


On Monday 16th May The Alternative School was invited to attend a prestigious ceremony at Buckingham Palace to honour both the Diamond Celebration (60 Years of DofE) and to recognise the success of the school in becoming its own licensed DofE organisation.

Debra Harrison, Executive Headteacher, and Kirsty Swierkowski, Duke of Edinburgh Manager, attended the event to represent the school and took part in an exchange of gifts where we were proudly presented with a DofE plaque which acknowledges the outstanding work we do for our pupils’ confidence, self-esteem and self- development.

Debra and Kirsty witnessed the festivities in the gardens of Buckingham Palace on a glorious sunny afternoon in London. The Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) together with the Earl and Duchess of Wessex (Prince Edward and Lady Sophie) visited each group in turn along with many other celebrities and guest presenters.

The presenter for our group was Hannah Cockcroft (MBE), the gold medal winning wheelchair athlete. She is only 23 years old but what an inspirational young lady! And, HRH The Countess of Wessex, while chatting to Debra and Kirsty was especially interested in the ethos of the school and was intrigued by the name.

It was a fantastic celebration which provided a unique experience for the young people attending to receive their gold Awards and for establishment leaders alike.

In becoming one of the recognised licensed DofE organisations, the school remains committed to supporting and recognising the achievements of our pupils. The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme is an integral part of the curriculum at The Alternative School and all pupils are encouraged to take part in the award. Kirsty Swierkowski, the Duke of Edinburgh Manager, believes “the award promotes and challenges our pupils’ personal growth in a way that no other scheme does as it requires young people to develop essential life skills such as team work and commitment”.

Thanks must also go to all The Alternative School staff and volunteers for giving their time to help with DofE and, in particular, to Kirsty Swierkowski for all her hard work and commitment to the DofE programme at TAS.

TAS at Buckingham Palace

Debra and Kirsty receiving their DofE plaque from Hannah Cockcroft at Buckingham Palace.

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