Eight boys have become the first students to pick up Duke of Edinburgh awards at Derby Grammar School this academic year – including two brothers.

Among the group are Oliver Neiland, 14, who has achieved the Bronze award and his 16-year-old brother, James, who picked up Silver.

There are three levels of the DofE programme which, when successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold. The main differences between them are the minimum length of time they take to complete, how challenging they are and the minimum age you can start.

Oliver said: “I really enjoyed working towards my Bronze award. My voluntary work involved helping out at a Beavers group, I also took part in an expedition and for the skills part I was a member of an orchestra.”

Oliver plays the trumpet and is part of the Hot House Music Caliente band. He is set to go on tour in America for 11 days at the end of this month. He will be playing in Boston, San Francisco and New Orleans.

His brother James said: “I have already started working towards my Gold award and I spent time during the summer on a residential with the National Citizen Service. It was a really good experience as it was about spending time with people I didn’t know. I have already completed voluntary work at Barnardo’s and that was beneficial as it was about interacting with members of the public. I would definitely recommend doing the Duke of Edinburgh awards.”

Paul Hilliam, Senior Master and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme manager at Derby Grammar School, congratulated all of the students on their achievements.

He said: “Well done to everyone how has picked up an award. This is the first time we’ve had two brothers picking up awards in the same year.

“We have also received a certificate to mark the fact that 37 of our students completed 754 hours of voluntary service with DofE last year, which is quite an achievement.

“The DofE awards really help students with skills that they can use in adult life. We’ve been running the scheme for the past 24 years, every student has the opportunity to take part and our numbers have grown and grown.”