The Expedition section raises the most queries. Look at the requirements here for clarification.
- Are there any guidelines on upper heat limits allowed for the expedition aspect of the DofE to ensure that the students aren't likely to suffer from heat exhaustion?
- In what situations can staff be aboard the vessel for water-based expeditions?
- Can a practice expedition be done with an organisation that is not an AAP, as long as the qualifying is?
- Can a practice expedition be completed overseas, if the qualifying is in the UK?
- How do I do my Expedition section if I am in a group (in a school, youth club, ATC, Scouts etc)?
- What about expeditions for those who are not part of a group ('Independents')
- Should Bronze teams use wild country?
- What is the maximum rucksack weight limit relating to body size/weight/stature on a DofE expedition?
- Does the DofE have any advice on going to the toilet in the outdoors?
- Can practice expedition teams have more than seven people in them?
- I have seen a DofE Expedition Guide marked as 13th Edition 2nd impression, what is the difference?
- Where is most southerly DofE expedition yet completed?
- What is the difference between Condition 12 and Condition 13?
- Can cycling expedition teams use main roads?
- Would a Gold cycle touring expedition from Yeovil to Lands End be acceptable?
- Can teams use recreation rooms if the campsite has them?
- What is the best way to see if a Trangia is lit?
- Will there be an ebook version of The DofE Expedition Guide?
- On page 43 of The DofE Expedition Guide where it says ‘break camp’ does it mean tents as well, even if the group has a group shelter or are returning to the same campsite?
- Can participants be taught bush craft on their qualifying expedition for their aim?
- Can Geocaching be an expedition aim?
- Isn’t the ‘Estimated Time of Arrival’ on a DofE route card more of an 'Estimated Time of Departure’ (ETD)?
- Could we do a power boating expedition?
- Can you do a scuba expedition?
- Do young people at Gold level have to start their expedition training once they are 16?
- The tip on page 169 of the new DofE Expedition Guide suggests Supervisors use binoculars to support with remote supervision. I thought we were meant to avoid using binoculars?
- Is there a summary sheet of the differences from the 2007 Expedition Guide DVD and the new DofE Expedition Guide.
- Is the guidance to avoid height gain of more than 500 metres climbed per day new?
- How flexible can we be on Gold horse riding expeditions regarding the need for the expedition to be in wild country?
- Where do we say that the Assessor and Supervisor have to be different people?
- Can teams in the UK have the same route but 30 minutes apart?
- Where do we say that groups cannot use a minibus to get to and from a campsite during an expedition?
- How flexible is the expedition season? Would a UK November expedition that complied with our LO be acceptable?
- Are AAPs required to submit Green Forms in the same way as groups run by Licensed Organisation staff and volunteers?
- Is there any way of recording multiple modes of travelling e.g. kayak and cycling in eDofE?
- Can you remind me where we stand on individuals (who are not AAP’s) charging to provide just assessments and or supervision for teams but no training input? Do they need to have an AAP licence?
- Will there be a mass upload function for the Assessor evidence portal?
- Can DofE groups undertake a ski touring expedition?
- We don’t permit AAPs to have the same person supervising as well as assessing do we?
- When can I buy the Expedition Guide?
- Where do we say that Assessor evidence needs to be personal?
- Is DofE wild country different to wild country identified by National Parks?
- Does a Green Form need to be submitted to the Assessor Network Co-ordinator when undertaking an accompanied practice / training expedition in UK DofE wild country?
- Is taking photos of and surveying people we meet an acceptable aim for a Gold level expedition? If so, how much activity time could be given to this?
- Is wild camping a requirement at Gold level?
- How many staff should there be on a DofE expedition?
- What is meant by proficiency in the mode of travel?
- Can young people who have mobility difficulties undertake an expedition by narrowboat?
- Can DofE teams undertake expeditions in snow?
- What should the Supervisor do if there is a really bad weather forecast when a team is due to be out on expedition?
- Where does the DofE set out what first aid training DofE participants should complete for their Expedition section?
- Could a Bronze expedition be spread out over three days to do three hours during a Friday afternoon, six hours on the Saturday and three hours on the Sunday morning for example?
- Is there a minimum night time temperature participants can camp in?
- We are undertaking a sailing Gold level expedition around the UK coast, where do we send our Green form?
Are there any guidelines on upper heat limits allowed for the Expedition aspect of the DofE to ensure that the students aren't likely to suffer from heat exhaustion?
We don't set an upper heat limit as some DofE expeditions are completed in very hot environments around the world such as deserts and jungles, and it would be difficult to set a ‘limit’. However, guidance can be found on page 80 of the Expedition Guide which says "participants need to be aware of the risk of exercise-induced heat exhaustion and ensure they take on frequent and adequate fluid throughout the day. Every participant should set out...carrying at least two litres of water with them, more if it is a hot day. If necessary this can be topped up by the Supervisors". If necessary Supervisors can position themselves at points throughout the day with water to help 'top-up' the groups' supplies. As with all expeditions the Expedition Supervisor must also ensure that they follow the Health and Safety requirements of their Licensed Organisation and ensure participants have the training and equipment to deal with the weather and temperatures they might encounter (e.g. wide brimmed hats, suncream etc).
In what situations can staff be aboard the vessel for water-based expeditions?
For sailing and yacht expeditions, teams can have staff aboard the vessel. The Expedition Guide states on page 274 “…staff may be aboard the vessel. The Supervisor and Assessor should not be involved in the skippering, crewing, navigation, control or management of the boat, except in an emergency for reasons of safety”. A sample Gold training itinerary for sailing expeditions can be found on page 277.
Can a practice expedition be done with an organisation that is not an AAP, as long as the qualifying is?
No, as the practice expedition is part of the DofE expedition section it must be completed with an AAP or LO.
Can a practice expedition be completed overseas, if the qualifying is in the UK?
Whether the assessed expedition is in the UK or not, there must be at least one UK practice. This is detailed in Condition 7 of the 20 Conditions
How do I do my Expedition section if I am in a group (in a school, youth club, ATC, Scouts etc)?
The expedition is usually organised by your DofE Leader or centre's Co-ordinator. They will be able to help you find out what will be happening on the training, practice and qualifying parts of the expedition.
What about expeditions for those who are not part of a group ('Independents')
You will need to contact your Licensed Organisation (address in your eDofE account or on our website). You have two options to complete this section:
Become part of another DofE centre/group who's arranging their expedition. Your LO will provide you with details if this option is available in your area.
Join an open expedition which are organised by the DofE Assessor Networks (these are normally events aimed at other independent DofE participants who wish to complete this section). Available opportunities are advertised here.
Should Bronze teams use wild country?
No. Bronze teams should avoid using wild country, unless it is their local area, i.e. if they live for example in Brecon or Kendal. The DofE is becoming much firmer in stating that Bronze teams should stay close to home. This is the text in the DofE Expedition Guide on page 38:
At Bronze level the expedition is all about young people enjoying the outdoors and wanting to go on to Silver level [while still meeting all of the principles and benefits of the section]. Bronze teams should complete their practice and qualifying expeditions close to home. Teams should not usually need to travel more than 30 miles away, often starting and/or finishing at their DofE centre, if in rural areas. Routes still need to include the spirit of isolation, but Bronze expeditions often aim to take in some famous local landmarks, to spark an interest in the team.
Keeping Bronze expeditions local should make life much easier for the Supervisors and parents as travel is usually reduced. This also makes it easier for Supervisors to build up positive relations with local campsite owners when working with large numbers of Bronze groups.
What is the maximum rucksack weight limit relating to body size/weight/stature on a DofE expedition?
Page 45 of The DofE Expedition Guide: ‘All rucksacks must be weighed before departure and packs should not be more than one quarter of the participant’s own body weight.’
Does the DofE have any advice on going to the toilet in the outdoors?
There is some text about wild camping on page 42 of The DofE Expedition Guide, but it simply says that participants should complete the appropriate training. There is some more information in EX2: ‘If no toilets are available, you can dig a latrine at least 50 metres away from any stream and any place that might be used by other campers to pitch their tents. Using a trowel, remove the turf in one place and dig a hole at least 20cm deep (8 inches). Replace the turf after use so that there is no trace left. Do not remove rocks and then replace them as this leaves the site unusable for other campers.’ The Mountaineering Council of Scotland produce a useful guide on this subject – it can be downloaded from www.mcofs.org.uk/assets/access/where-to-go-leaflet.asp.pdf
Can practice expedition teams have more than seven people in them?
No. Page 68 of The Handbook for DofE Leaders states that ‘practice expedition(s) must replicate as closely as possible the conditions of the actual expedition.’ This is covered in more detail in The DofE Expedition Guide, page 152.
I have seen a DofE Expedition Guide marked as 13th Edition 2nd impression, what is the difference?
The new DofE Expedition Guide has sold extremely well and the first 5,000 sold out after just two months. Another 7,000 were ordered and the DofE took the opportunity to correct some very minor errors and added some additional text as follows: advising centres to use multiple start points for expeditions (page14 and 42), using basic campsites (page 42), not using games and recreational rooms at campsites (page 42), carrying personal emergency equipment (page 108), medical considerations for physical training (page 143) and the Assessor’s pre-expedition checklist diagram from the EAAS course (page 191). There is no new policy but only some rewording or some more specific text for people to quote on these topics. A more detailed list of the changes can be downloaded from here: www.DofE.org/go/eg/
Where is most southerly DofE expedition yet completed?
An Antarctic expedition in 2002 is the most southerly we know of. There were two teams who completed their expedition in the Falkland Islands during 2012.
What is the difference between Condition 12 and Condition 13 please?
Condition 12 refers to the core principle that all the participants need to be at the same level of assessment, i.e. you can’t run a Silver level expedition and have Bronze participants being assessed and Silver participants being assessed.
Condition 13 is a further clarification that this means that you cannot have a Silver team which includes two people who have completed Silver (or Gold) and say that they are simply participating in a Silver assessed expedition and operating at that assessment level. Condition12 merely means they must all be being assessed at the same level. Condition 13 is more about the participant’s level of DofE experience reinforcing that this also needs to be the same.
Can cycling expedition teams use main roads?
No. This is covered in the cycle chapter of The DofE Expedition Guide. On page 227 it states: ‘Expedition routes should involve minor roads, lanes, tracks and bridleways. Teams need to avoid more major roads and towns. Many routes will pass through villages and hamlets, but teams should plan their rests in more isolated areas.’ At Gold level this still needs to be in DofE wild country.
Would a Gold cycle touring expedition from Yeovil to Lands End be acceptable?
Not really as at Gold level cycle touring expeditions still need to be through wild country, even if they are on minor roads. Cycle touring expeditions will travel large distances, perhaps around 240km, so they need to be in large/long areas of wild country which can accommodate such distances. An expedition through Exmoor, Dartmoor and Bodmin could make a good three day practice (around 180km) but the qualifying expedition would need to be in Wales, Scotland or similar.
Can teams use recreation rooms if the campsite has them?
Absolutely not. This statement has been added to The DofE Expedition Guide (2nd impression) on page. 42 ‘DofE expeditions are about solitude and independence, so DofE teams are expected to use only very basic campsites. DofE teams may use basic facilities such as drying rooms and toilets/showers. Use of other facilities (usually found on larger tourist sites) such as games rooms, bars, cafes, shops and swimming pools are not in keeping with DofE expeditions. Teams need to remain as isolated as possible while on public or busy campsites.’ At Gold level really the campsite should be much too basic to have these.
What is the best way to see if a Trangia is lit?
It is essential that participants are able to tell is a stove is lit or not, this can be difficult in direct sunlight. Spirit burning stoves can be particularly difficult in this regard. The DofE has a stove safety instruction sheet available at: www.DofE.org/en/content/cms/leaders/resources-download/expedition-downloads
Will there be an ebook version of The DofE Expedition Guide?
We are looking into how this would work and hope to be able to create one in the future but there are no set time scales for this yet.
On page 43 of The DofE Expedition Guide where it says ‘break camp’ does it mean tents as well, even if the group has a group shelter or are returning to the same campsite?
Teams must carry away what they carry in, even if returning to the same campsite. If they have taken a group shelter with them then yes, that too. This is both for safety and an ethos. Using the same campsite twice is not encouraged and so it should feel like participants are arriving to a new site.
Can participants be taught bush craft on their qualifying expedition for their aim?
No. Participants could be taught bush craft skills on the practice expedition and then implement them on the qualifying expedition for their aim. Whilst there is still learning and development on a qualifying expedition, it is not taught. The qualifying expedition needs to be isolated and remotely supervised. All teams need to follow the Countryside Code.
Can Geocaching be an expedition aim?
Yes, but there are two considerations:
- There needs to be more to the aim than simply finding individual geocaches, for example considering the positives and negatives of geocaching on the environment and society or having it only as part of the route planning while there is another aim too.
- DofE teams use maps/charts and compasses to navigate during their expedition. DofE teams may only use GPS devices as a secondary navigation tool. (This is set out in The Handbook for DofE Leaders and discussed in more depth in The DofE Expedition Guide). So teams should try to geocache without a GPS device, or only use it to help them hone in for the few last hundred metres, their expedition navigation needs to be completed using a map and compass.
Teams on Dartmoor might add depth to their expedition by looking for a few letter boxes. However with these kinds of activities groups need to think carefully about how much time they might use up while searching.
Isn’t the ‘Estimated Time of Arrival’ on a DofE route card more of an ‘Estimated Time of Departure’ (ETD)?
Yes. This seems to be somewhat of a historical situation. The intention is to correct it to ‘ETD’ in eDofE Mapping and issue a corresponding updated download on the website.
We have tried in the new DofE Expedition Guide to encourage participants to think more about an ETD as this allows more flexibility with where they rest – i.e. they may get to a check point only a minute before departure and head straight off after only a quick conversation with their Supervisor to confirm everything is ok. This allows participants to take breaks in more interesting and pretty locations on their routes rather than at check points which are often at roadsides or car parks. This should improve their expedition experience without compromising supervision.
Could we do a power boating expedition?
No. In accordance with condition one of the 20 conditions, all DofE expeditions must be by the participants’ own physical effort, without motorised or outside assistance.
Can you do a scuba expedition?
We don’t think there is any practical way participants could do the required three to four hours of journeying to make this the mode of travel. It’s just not feasible due to the amount of time needed to safely prepare for each dive, the amount of equipment or the amount of time that can really be spent scuba diving in a single day. The critical processes and time needed both before and after dives means that doing four hours in a day is simply not achievable.
However, if a team were to do a summer sailing/sea kayaking expedition with all the required kit to remain self sufficient (probably a sailing expedition, due to the amount and weight of kit) then they could do a dive each day for their aim and project investigations.
More information is set out The DofE Expedition Guide and the DofE Expedition Training Framework available at www.DofE.org/go/expeditiondownloads
Do young people at Gold level have to start their expedition training once they are 16?
The potential scenario is that a young person who has strong expedition experience and expedition skills is competent immediately at the age of 16 to undertake a practice expedition. As the training is a sign off of competence, (the DofE does not record or assess hours unlike the other sections as the Expedition section is only comprised of the practice, qualifying expedition and the presentation), does it matter when the expedition skills were gained? In short, if a young person has the skills already, would the DofE make them complete a full training scheme before they could undertake their practice expedition just to satisfy the DofE?
No, participants can use skills and training they have picked up from before their 16th birthday. When the skills were gained is not critical, as long as the competence is checked, evidenced and signed off when they are 16, usually after their practice expedition.
The tip on page 169 of the new DofE Expedition Guide suggests Supervisors use binoculars to support with remote supervision. I thought we were meant to avoid using binoculars?
It’s okay for Assessors and Supervisors to use binoculars, but they need to ensure the young people they are supporting understand how the binoculars will be used to aid remote supervision and ensure that the teams are comfortable with that. Binoculars can help staff to identify teams from a distance but are not there to allow staff to spy on teams up close or to allow the Assessor to ‘catch them out’. Just be open with teams as to how remote supervision/assessing will work so they are comfortable that they are not being watched all the time.
Is there a summary sheet of the differences from the 2007 Expedition Guide DVD and the new DofE Expedition Guide.
We have purposely not produced one for three reasons:
- All the Expedition section rules/conditions are now in The Handbook for DofE Leaders, rather than The DofE Expedition Guide as in previous editions. This guide sets out the policies, reasoning and detail to support these rules and conditions.
- The last two guides were revisions so a summary of changes document was easy to develop and use. This DofE Expedition Guide is a complete re-write so the summary document would simply be repeating the book.
- The last CD guide (2007) only sold around 3,500 copies over five years so most people are still working off the 1996 and 2000 editions. These editions are now so out of date in terms of DofE policy, branding and conditions that people really need to move to and read the 2012 edition.
There is a contents summary article in the spring 2013 DofE Magazine for Leaders page 6/7.
Is the guidance to avoid height gain of more than 500 metres climbed per day new?
No. A guide of a maximum 550m - 600m was set out in the 1987 Expedition Guide (p.65) co-written by Wally Keay. This was revised to 500m in the 1996 Expedition Guide (p.283) (the large book by Wally Keay) and this is what we have stuck to since (section 4:7 in the CD guide in 2007). This ‘solitude not altitude’ principle is a core part of the DofE and refers to the principle of ‘through rather than over’ wild country, as set out in the very first Expedition Guide in 1965 which says ‘groups will be involved with journeys through mountainous country rather than over summit peaks… It should be appreciated that the recognised climbing districts of our mountainous areas are often completely unsuitable for Gold Award testing… Ridges and peaks over 3,000m are no place for heavily laden boys.’
In the new guide we have tried however to maintain the ‘should’ nature of the guidance rather than making it a rule – it is not for example in the 20 conditions. It is up to the team, Supervisor and Assessor to agree the team’s route which the participants create. Between them they may agree that based on a team’s experience, training and ability, they might plan to complete a more challenging expedition which includes more height gain. In some areas this may be a pre-curser to choosing that expedition environment. However as stated in the guide, ‘All DofE expeditions are about solitude not altitude. Teams should pass through, not over, expedition areas. Setting out to climb peaks is not acceptable.’
Groups should look at the 500m advice and consider their own capabilities before planning to do more than this.
How flexible can we be on Gold horse riding expeditions regarding the need for the expedition to be in wild country?
The Gold level expedition needs to be in wild country. This may mean an additional travel/acclimatisation day is needed to give more time to move horses to the area. Teams need to consider this early in the planning process and it may mean going to one of the more local wild country locations.
Where do we say that the Assessor and Supervisor have to be different people?
This is implied by the requirement of the Assessor to be independent of the team, The Handbook for DofE Leaders, page 84. It is also implied by our definition of when they can be the same person on the Blue Form and in The DofE Expedition Guide, page 55.
Can teams in the UK have the same route but 30 minutes apart?
The flexibility allowed by condition 8 (The Handbook for DofE Leaders 7th edition, page 74) is that this can be used only where alternative routes are ‘absolutely unavoidable’.
In practical terms this means that there should be almost nowhere in the UK where this flexibility could be used legitimately. It is designed for when there is only one route – usually across mountain passes, almost always outside of the UK. It should never be used for UK Bronze or Silver expeditions – there is no need for it. Supervisors and Leaders must ensure that teams create their own route and that these are distinct from other teams. This may mean having multiple starting and end points when supporting several teams. Where several teams are heading for the same campsite then it can also help to spread their start times over an hour so they should (plan to) arrive at different times and so not bump into each other as they converge on the campsite.
Assessors, Assessor Network Co-ordinators and DofE Managers should reject any route submissions which use this ‘30 minutes apart rule’ unless they can evidence there is no other route option available.
Where do we say that groups cannot use a minibus to get to and from a campsite during an expedition?
This is implicit in condition 1 as a minibus is motorised transport. It is also used as an example in the ESTC course – case study 5:
With regards to the use of a minibus at the end of day 1, in the ESTC course it is clearly set out in case study 5...
Q: It is getting dark on the evening of the second day of your team’s Silver qualifying expedition. On the first day the team were very slow and they were two hours late arriving at their campsite. The team has now been out for nine hours and have at least another hour’s walk into their campsite.
Your other Supervisor suggests that there is no other option but to pick the team up in the minibus and take them to their campsite as they have already done well over their seven hours of planned activity. What will you do now?
A: The first of the 20 conditions requires expeditions to be completed without motorised assistance. By putting the team into the minibus then the expedition will cease to be a qualifying expedition. There are usually other options available such as camping where they are or diverting to another campsite. However, if the team are so slow then it has to be questioned whether their planning and preparation were appropriate, or whether this expedition was appropriate for the team. The team should continue with the expedition but may need to review the route planned for day three.
How flexible is the expedition season? Would a UK November expedition that complied with our LO be acceptable?
The Handbook for DofE Leaders says ‘The expedition should normally take place between the end of March and the end of October’. This condition deliberately uses ‘should’, not ‘must’ to allow flexibility to be applied.
All expeditions must fulfil the safety requirements of the LO and be approved by the LO irrespective of when they take place. The DofE suggests the expedition season to promote safety and to help ensure that expeditions are enjoyable for participants. Expeditions teams will need additional training and equipment and to complete their practice expedition in conditions likely to be similar to those expedited in the qualifying expedition.
Generally, there would need to be a specific expedition aim for undertaking an expedition out of season which is driven by the participants. Expeditions outside of the UK might be outside of the UK expedition season but be in a season appropriate for the destination country’s climate.
Are AAPs required to submit Green Forms in the same way as groups run by Licensed Organisation staff and volunteers?
DofE groups using AAPs need to follow the same notification timescales as any other group. Note that not all AAPs will do the paperwork, but rather the groups and Leaders will do it to save money.
As usual, this can vary for open expeditions, but this needs to be agreed with the Assessor Network Co-ordinator and confirmed with the LO. Some networks may well accept a Green Form accompanied by the route outline with tracings and route cards to follow later when the teams are together. This allows them to book campsites but also allows the team to pick their routes. Good practice would be to try to get the teams to do as much planning remotely as possible, or at least to book several campsites to give the teams more options.
Is there any way of recording multiple modes of travelling e.g. kayak and cycling in eDofE?
We will not be adding this into eDofE as it not something that we actively encourage. The DofE policy is set out on pages 140-142 of The DofE Expedition Guide and page 82 of The Handbook for DofE Leaders. The policy in brief is: ‘While the DofE is not against the use of multiple modes of travel, it should be noted that participants must be trained to the required standards in all the modes of travel they use. They must also still be capable of journeying unaccompanied and being self-sufficient. Minimum adult intervention and the concept of a journey must still be embraced.’
Usually we advise teams interested in this kind of thing to change mode of travel with each DofE level. Multiple mode expeditions usually take the form of walking in to an area, sailing/canoeing and then walking back out again.
Can you remind me where we stand on individuals (who are not AAPs) charging to provide just assessments and or supervision for teams but no training input? Do they need to have an AAP licence?
If you are the Supervisor you need to be an AAP or be employed by / volunteer for the Licensed Organisation.
Assessors must be registered to an LO, Assessor Network or AAP (and can be registered to more than one of these types of organisation). LOs must ensure that they only use Assessors who are registered to their organisation, are registered to an AAP with whom the LO has a contract or are a member of an Assessor Network and are acting on behalf of that network (i.e. an Expedition Assessment Voucher has been redeemed for their services).
A download outlining who does and does not need to be registered as an Approved Activity Provider is available here: www.DofE.org/go/becomeanaap.
Will there be a mass upload function for the Assessor evidence portal?
We are very clear that Assessor reports must be personal and so mass upload functionality will NOT be developed. We understand that Assessors often step in last minute and assess several teams at once (or indeed are the only Assessor available and so have to assess several teams). In these cases team reports which include personal mentions of each team member are often the only practical method – but this has to be the exception and we will not develop standard functionality that might encourage this approach. The cut and paste option does allow Assessors to issue team reports if really needed, but young people deserve to have individual and personal reports to recognise their effort and achievement. It is this good practice we must promote as a Charity.
Can DofE groups undertake a ski touring expedition?
Yes, as long as it meets the 20 conditions of the Expedition section.
Do we permit AAPs to have the same person supervising as well as assessing?
AAPs follow the same programme rules as all other groups, so in the UK the two roles HAVE to be undertaken by different people (unless there is some kind of last minute emergency etc.). As with all groups, for expeditions outside the UK we are more flexible; see text on the Blue Form which is also in the new Expedition Guide p. 55.
When can I buy the Expedition Guide?
Go to DofE Essentials, accessed via eDofE.
Where do we say that Assessor evidence needs to be personal?
This is a fundamental part of the DofE and is implicit in the DofE’s guiding principles four and five that young people’s experiences and programmes focus on ‘personal development’ and are ‘personalised’. The Assessor feedback needs to reflect this. On page 196 of The DofE Expedition Guide we are more specific, it says ‘The feedback will be personal.’
Is DofE wild country different to wild country identified by National Parks?
It can be. The DofE defines wild country in The Handbook for DofE Leaders on page 71. In the UK the DofE has identified areas it approves as meeting these criteria. More information can be found at www.dofe.org/expeditionareas
Does a Green Form need to be submitted to the Assessor Network Co-ordinator when undertaking an accompanied practice / training expedition in UK DofE wild country?
No. Green Forms are only needed when expeditions in UK DofE wild country areas include time when the DofE team is unaccompanied and being remotely supervised. As all qualifying expeditions and final practice expeditions (which are signed off and evidenced in eDofE) include remote supervision, they will require a Green Form to be submitted if the expedition is in UK DofE wild country. If teams are in UK DofE wild country undertaking a training / practice expedition where they are always accompanied by their supervisor or other staff, then a Green Form does not need to be submitted. Information about DofE wild country areas can be found at www.DofE.org/expeditionareas
Is taking photos of and surveying people we meet an acceptable aim for a Gold level expedition? If so, how much activity time could be given to this?
This should not be considered an acceptable expedition aim. All DofE expeditions are about solitude and isolation, particularly those at Gold level which are expected to be in areas of DofE wild country. Setting an aim to seek out and interact with people outside of the team is not in keeping with the core objective of solitude. Pages 28/29 of The DofE Expedition Guide state ‘Gaining an understanding of the local culture of an area is vital to any trip, particularly outside the UK. However the isolation aspect and required environments of the [Expedition] section means that investigating local culture cannot be an expedition aim. Any local research, for example visiting a museum, town or village; must be undertaken in the acclimatisation period or after the expedition. This also applies to busy tourist locations, including historic sites and trails.’
The DofE Expedition Guide also states on page 28 that, ‘All expeditions are focused on their aim and it is up to the participants to decide how much time they will give to exploring and investigating their expedition project. There should be an honest balance between the time genuinely spent exploring and investigating the aim and the time spent journeying. Teams should be prepared to explain to their Assessor [and DofE Assessor Network Co-ordinator as appropriate] what investigations they intend to do to fill the stated time on the aim and how it is appropriate to them. Participants should start by assuming that they will journey for all the required hours and then deduct how much time they will need for rests, lunch and project investigations, based on their aim.’ Thus an aim of taking photos will usually be only a very basic expedition aim and would have a correspondingly low amount of activity time set to complete this.
Is wild camping a requirement at Gold level?
No, but it can be a very positive addition to many expeditions. Pages 42 and 43 of The DofE Expedition Guide state that ‘DofE expeditions are about solitude and independence, so DofE teams are expected to use only very basic campsites. … Wild camping can be an exciting, memorable and highly rewarding experience for young people. It is well suited to DofE expeditions and can teams an unsurpassed sense of independence and isolation. … At Gold level it should not be necessary for any Assessor to be present on the same campsite as participants overnight. Participants must be trained to this standard.’
How many staff should there be on a DofE expedition?
DofE teams, centres and AAPs need to follow the guidance set out by the Licensed Organisation the young people are registered to. Staff numbers and requirements vary from LO to LO.
What is meant by proficiency in the mode of travel?
Page 140 in The DofE Expedition Guide says the following ‘Participants must be properly prepared and competent in their chosen expedition mode of travel, to allow them to safely complete their planned journey. Each Licensed Organisation and AAP will stipulate the level of competence they require from the participants under their care. Some Licensed Organisations will have their own training frameworks they follow to ensure and evidence competence. The DofE sets out the minimum levels of training that participants need to complete. These requirements are set out in [the modes of travel chapters in the] Expedition Guide and detailed in the DofE Expedition Training Framework.’ Available at www.dofe.org/go/expeditiondownloads
Can young people who have mobility difficulties undertake an expedition by narrowboat?
No. DofE participants who have mobility difficulties may use motorised wheelchairs as outlined in condition 1 of the 20 conditions. However a team of participants who have mobility difficulties or additional needs might undertake an expedition along a canal and use a narrowboat as a support vessel. The narrowboat might provide care facilities, accommodation, carry additional equipment and be used to facilitate a range of expeditions aims and projects.
Can DofE teams undertake expeditions in snow?
Yes, depending on the team. As with all DofE expeditions it is up to the team Supervisor to assess the training, competence and experience of the team to undertake expeditions in the area and conditions proposed or found on the day. The DofE does allow as part of condition 2 that ‘as part of effective remote supervision, teams may be more closely supervised for parts of the expedition where specific hazardous areas are unavoidable. This supervision should be kept to an absolute minimum.’ Additionally the Supervisor must always follow the policies of their LO and/or AAP and snow conditions would usually be seen as winter conditions and so be subject to different policies than summer expeditions.
What should the Supervisor do if there is a really bad weather forecast when a team is due to be out on expedition?
The safety and welfare of participants should always come first when assessing poor weather conditions, but it is also important to consider the likely enjoyment of the team as well. Supervisors will need to follow their LO health and safety/risk assessments, but here are some suggested actions they might take .
- If the weather is forecast to be poor, check the local forecast for the expedition area, as it may be different to the DofE centre’s weather.
- Contact the Licensed Organisation and see if any special weather warnings or decisions have been put in place. The Supervisor must follow the LO policy and procedures for expeditions in poor weather or winter conditions.
- Consider the team’s training and experience of expeditions in the expected weather conditions.
- Consider the team’s expedition equipment and if it is adequate for the expected weather conditions.
- he Supervisor should review their supervision plan to ensure they are confident they will be able to still remotely supervise their team, whether they will have to supervise more closely at certain points (see expedition condition 2) and if they can move around the area effectively on both roads and the expedition terrain.
- The Supervisor should review their risk assessment, the team’s alternative weather routes, emergency escape routes and emergency procedures to ensure that they are all still adequate for the expected weather conditions.
- It can be helpful to contact the planned campsites, are they open, can they be reached; do they have running water and so on. National Parks may also have information up on their websites, or try to contact them directly for local information. DofE Assessor Network Co-ordinators may also have some local knowledge that could help.
- The Supervisor needs to make a decision, if they decide to postpone the expedition then they should follow their normal communication procedures to ensure everybody is informed. It would be helpful to the DofE to inform the appropriate Assessor Network Co-ordinator if a Green Form had been submitted for the expedition.
Where does the DofE set out what first aid training DofE participants should complete for their Expedition section?
All training requirements, including first aid, are set out in the Expedition training frameworks which can be found here: www.DofE.org/go/expeditiondownloads and in The DofE Expedition Guide.
Could a Bronze expedition be spread out over three days to do three hours during a Friday afternoon, six hours on the Saturday and three hours on the Sunday morning for example?
No. It is essential for facilitating the outcomes of the Expedition section that participants complete a full day (six hours for Bronze level) of activity away from the campsite. This is to ensure that they have sufficient time to have to work together knowing there is a full day ahead of them whilst being remotely supervised. Three hours does not allow sufficient time for meaningful outcomes to be fully developed. Spreading the expedition out over three days is less demanding than completing it in two days
Is there a minimum night time temperature participants can camp in?
No. DofE Expedition Supervisors and teams need to follow the Health and Safety requirements of their Licensed Organisation and ensure participants have the training and equipment to deal with the weather and temperatures they might encounter while undertaking their expedition.
We are undertaking a sailing Gold level expedition around the UK coast, where do we send our Green form?
If undertaking a Gold level expedition in or around the UK, but not in an area managed by a DofE Assessor Network (i.e. not in DofE wild country), contact your DofE Regional/Country Office and they will let you know their policy and if you need an expedition notification number for eDofE. Note that a water based expedition outside of UK territorial waters would require a Blue form, not a Green form.