Below you'll find some top tips to engage each of the different groups connected to DofE activities in your school. If you have any other tips to share, please do send them through to [email protected]
You (DofE Leader / Co-ordinator / Manager)
These activities can be split amongst more than one member of the team.
REPORTING eDofE can provide you with a wealth of information. Use your participant data (anonymously) to build up a record of the inclusive nature of your DofE provision. Unlike some other activities for young people, the DofE is open to all regardless of their abilities or background and your reporting can help demonstrate this to your wider network.
ENCOURAGE COMPLETIONS Use eDofE to review which participants are still needing to complete their programmes. Make sure all outstanding Assessor's Reports and Programme Planners have been approved. Arrange a catch up with those who still have activities to finish and make sure they can overcome any barriers they might be facing and answer any questions they have. Support them to continue over the summer holidays and set a date at the start of the next term to catch up with them on their progress.
PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS Order and create leaflets and posters to promote the DofE ready for next year's participants, volunteers and parents. Through the DofE's Brand Centre you can upload your own photos (including ones from this year's expeditions!) to personalise your materials.
IT SESSIONS Book out time in the IT rooms throughout the next academic year for eDofE training, setting up your participants and volunteers and catch up/drop-in sessions for participants to support them with uploading their evidence, submitting their Programme Planners and Assessor's Reports and expedition presentations.
FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES Consider potential leads for additional financial support for the next academic year. Take time to research grants and local businesses who might be able to support - use your statistics, reports and quotes from you participants and Award holders to help demonstrate the impact of your work.
KIT STORE If your school owns expedition kit take some time to review what you have. Make sure it's still in good quality and fit for purpose. Record how many of each item you have and draw up a shopping list of what will be needed to support next year's groups. Don't forget to use your DofE Reward Card for 20% off at Cotswold Outdoor and contact them directly to negotiate discounts on bulk purchases.
DofE AMBASSADORS Encourage this year's Award holders to stay on and volunteer with you next year. They can support on expedition and also act as direct mentors for the next intake of participants. They will have first-hand knowledge of what it takes to succeed and the new participants will relate well to them. Some can also be used as ambassadors to promote the DofE at certain events inside or outside of school. If they are leaving school, keep a record of where they go next and find out if their DofE helped them to get there (e.g. on applications or at interview). If it did - this is great evidence to demonstrate the value of the DofE to your headteacher and SMT.
REFLECTION Organise a review session with your recent achievers to help them look back and identify what they have learnt. Introduce them to the LifeZone to help them understand how they can use their new skills in the future. Ask them to record a quote about their experience which can then be used on noticeboards and shared in reports and external publicity.
RECRUITMENT Make sure you book a slot in the first assemblies of the next academic year to promote the DofE to the new cohort of participants. Do this for every year group - as you may have pupils who missed the opportunity to take part in a previous year.
HOUSEKEEPING Spend some time tidying up your eDofE account - don't forget to archive those participants who are no longer doing their programmes or who have completed but are not progressing on to the next level. This will ensure your list to chase is kept as small as possible!
RECORD OF ACHIEVEMENT Send parents a report summarising their son or daughter's DofE achievement (outlining the activities they completed, the skills they gained and the experiences they had) or a general report on the achievements of the whole group and thank them for their support towards this. It's also nice, if the participant agrees, to include the quote from their son or daughter's reflection session.
For your DofE volunteers / helpers / support
NEW RECRUITS Introduce yourself to any new staff joining the school and approach them to see if they would be interested in volunteering some of their time to help you out. It's a great opportunity for them to integrate into school life and meet their new colleagues and pupils.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Send out dates for your expeditions, training sessions and DofE meetings as soon as you have them to all your helpers (and those who might have expressed an interest to volunteer). If any of your Leaders or volunteers are moving on, look to identify their replacements as soon as possible and engage them to make them feel part of the group.
For your DofE teachers, colleagues and student mentors
GENERATING INTEREST Publicise some of the great quotes from your recent Award holders to all your teachers and staff in the school. This will help to build interest in and support for the DofE and will also encourage them to come forward to volunteer - it doesn't hurt to ask! Remind teachers that DofE leadership can offer them the opportunity for continued professional development (in many establishments), a chance to be trained in outdoor education and receive some free or subsidised expedition kit (this can be a nice incentive if it's not possible to offer a financial reward) as well as helping them to build relationships with pupils and other colleagues.
PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES Book a slot on the teacher training day at the start of the next academic year. This is a great opportunity to promote your DofE activities and their impact and encourage teachers to sign up and get involved. Identify beforehand if DofE leadership counts towards Continued Professional Development in your school.
For governors and the PTA
RAISING AWARENESS Send a contribution on DofE achievement to the school governors' annual report. Include success stories of your participants from the year, with quotes and photos, to demonstrate the impact of your activities. Share any other good news stories you have generated. Building a positive image of the DofE in the school will help ensure it is supported and valued for years to come.
For your clerical or administrations teams
FUNDING RESEARCH Ask your admin team to support you to research any bursaries (locally offered or nationally) for your DofE activities. They could also help you by writing to local businesses to ask for their support and booking in fundraising events throughout the following year. For example non-uniform days, bake sales and sponsored silences are all great ways to raise money for new kit and other DofE activities. Take a look at the 40 Fundraising ideas for more inspiration and the 'Money Matters' feature in every edition of the DofE magazine.
PLANNING AHEAD Update the admin team with any confirmed dates for DofE information evenings and assemblies, celebration events, training courses, expedition dates and training (for practice and qualifying) so that they can be incorporated into the whole school calendar for teachers and students. Avoid any clashes, where possible, with other events.
For the wider community
PUBLICITY Send a press release to the local paper on DofE achievements (for the year) including content about the expeditions and the Awards achieved. Display any coverage on your DofE noticeboard and in your reception area. You could also circulate it to all staff.