The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Australia has been granted approval by the International Award Foundation to pilot a reduced starting age for Bronze Award over 2017/18.
The new accepted starting age for the Bronze Award in Australia is a minimum of 13 years of age, brought down from 13 and 9 months.
The purpose of the reduced age is to ensure no young people in a peer group with 14 year olds are excluded from participation in the Award due to their age. It enables Award Leaders to include all young people in a year grade peer group.
The pilot for reduced age for starting Bronze does not change the minimum entry age for Silver (15 years) or Gold (16 years), nor is it encouragement for young people in lower year grades (Years 7 & 8) to begin the Bronze Award. It will remain at the discretion of the Award Leader to ensure the registrations of those younger than the official starting age for Bronze are in the appropriate year before accepting their registration.
Please note: this change does not mean that the starting age for the Award has been lowered from 14 to 13. The purpose of the change is to ensure that people younger than their 14 year old peers but in the same school year will not be excluded from participating in the Bronze Award alongside their peers.
The Online Record Book is ready to accept the new rule around Bronze registration, and now accepts registrations from young people aged 13 years.
The Award Handbook does not currently reflect this change. The Handbook is currently going through a review and will be included in next publication – expected to be end August 2017.
The wording for the Award Handbook for the Age Requirements (Section 1.6) will change to:
Age Requirements Explained
i. At Bronze level, if a person is 13 but part of a peer group where the majority are 14 years or older (generally Year 9) that young person can start their Bronze Award with the rest of the group if approved by the Award Unit. Note: This provision for Whole of Year 9 is being piloted in Australia in 2017 and 2018.
This approval and small step is a positive start to having the overall age ranges reviewed and reset to enable younger commencement for all levels. Australia has been advocating for such a review along with a number of other countries that are large operators of the Award.