Can more than two sections have a linked activity?
Yes, although page 31 of the Handbook states that a leader should “encourage participants to spread their wings with their choices”. Further advice on choosing activities can be found on page 38 of the Handbook.
How do I obtain a replacement Gold Award certificate / badge?
Replacement certificate and badges/brooches can be requested from the participants’ Regional Office. Evidence of completing their programme could include a statement from the LO of completion or a photograph of a completed Keeping Track booklet/Assessor's report card or certificate. Ultimately it is down to the Regional Office to decide whether there is sufficient evidence.
Can a participant abandon their Gold level and cash it in to get their Silver Award?
The aim should always be to try and ensure the participant completes their Gold programme. There are very cheap residential opportunities available and the expedition is only an extra day etc. However, if they really want to shift back to Silver they can, but will have to complete all Silver elements as normal.
In terms of eDofE they will need to abandon their Gold level, and the Regional/Country DofE Office will request a Silver level account for the participant with a backdated start time for them to go in and populate as normal.
What is the difference between ‘Aim’ and ‘Goals’ in the eDofE Expedition section?
Aim: A participant’s expedition aim should relate to the interests and abilities of those taking part and the area they will be travelling through. The aim is the key to any expedition’s success. Without it, participants and their team can’t plan an effective, challenging expedition with a clear outcome – simply travelling through the countryside is not enough. Some examples of aims are set out in The Handbook for DofE Leaders, the DofE Programmes Pack and The DofE Expedition Guide.
Goals: ‘Goals’ is not a specific DofE term; it is simply where participants outline what they personally want to get out of each section in eDofE. It asks participants to think about what they want to achieve from their Expedition section. Participants should set themselves goals which they find challenging, exciting and rewarding and are personal to them. They should think about the aim of the expedition and make sure they consider how they will demonstrate that they have worked towards and met their goals in their presentation.
Does the Expedition Assessor need to see participants’ signed off training reports?
Yes. The Assessor and Supervisor should agree how this can be evidenced in advance of the expedition, usually through eDofE screen shots or the expedition report print-out from eDofE. Going forward, the current plan is to include all accredited DofE Expedition Assessors in eDofE and give them access to all relevant information on the people they are assessing. This is all part of the online expedition notification development which is a long term goal of eDofE.
How can DofE participants make the most of their DofE section choices to support their UCAS application and personal statement?
A DofE Award, particularly at Gold level, is an enormously valuable achievement and is recognised and valued by universities worldwide. Having a Gold Award evidences to a university that this is a young person with an ambitious and positive attitude who has a range of interests and will make a positive contribution to the university environment.
Many top universities are now looking for more than just extra-curricular actives and are interested in participants who can evidence a deep and pro-active interest in their subject of choice, so called ‘super-curricular actives’. Choosing subject related activities in the Skills, Volunteering and Residential sections means that the DofE can provide a great framework for young people to undertake such actives while also achieving their DofE Award.
Participants could consider volunteering at an archaeology dig, museum, for the NHS, support parish councils, schools, international development, coaching, charity website design and so on. Rather than undertaking music or cooking for Skills, contrast a programme around the subject outside of curriculum time or join a local club to become active in that subject area. All these can be highlighted in a personal statement to show the enthusiasm, commitment and subject interest that universities are looking for.
Where do we say Assessor feedback needs to be personal?
This is a fundamental part of the DofE and is implicit in the DofE’s guiding principles four and five which require young people’s experiences and programmes to focus on ‘personal development’ and to be ‘personalised’. The Assessor feedback needs to reflect this. Page 196 of The DofE Expedition Guide the DofE is more specific - it says ‘The feedback will be personal.’ This requirement is also highlighted on the Assessor Report Cards.
Can a new Silver participant backdate three months of activity if they have just turned 15 years old?
Activity for a Silver Award can only count before turning 15 if the participant has achieved their Bronze Award (not just one section), as set out on page 28 of The Handbook for DofE Leaders. This includes the three months flexibility for activity undertaken prior to entry set out on page 32 of The Handbook for DofE Leaders.
Remember that no assessed activity, in any circumstances, can count for a Gold Award before the age of 16. Only training for the Expedition section can be recognised before the required DofE minimum age for starting an Award (see Expedition Question ‘do young people at Gold level have to start their expedition training once they are 15?).
How does coaching and sport fit with the DofE sections?
In basic terms:
- Doing a physical activity fits with the Physical section.
- Learning to be a coach can be a Skills section activity.
- Coaching can also be a Volunteering section activity.
How can geocaching be used with DofE programmes?
Geocaching is a DofE Physical section activity rather than a Skills section one as, while it takes some basic skill to use the GPS device and to follow instructions to find the cache, the duration of a DofE section will require participants to travel ever farther-a-field to find new caches. Thus, the activity is based on physically getting out to geocaches, either several at a time in a new area of just one or two on longer trips from home. When GPS devices were relatively new and inaccurate, the poorer accuracy and usability meant that there remained a navigational challenge which is why geocaching was classified with ‘navigation’ in the Skills section. However, today’s devices are much more accurate, easy to use and have removed much of the actual navigational challenge and skill. This has been reflected in the Expedition section where we have clarified and are now very clear that participants are expected to use maps and compasses with GPS seen only as additional safety equipment, rather than a navigational tool. Thus, if participants are looking to develop their navigational skills they should put away the GPS device, mark the location of geocaches on a map and then find them with a map and compass (and the final instructions to locate the cache). Geocaching with a GPS can be appropriate in the Physical section.
Geocaching can be used in the Expedition section if thought out carefully and there is some guidance on this under ‘Sections’ – ‘Expedition FAQ’.