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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.

EXTRA SUPPORT Once you have recruited all of your participants, identify those who are from lower income families and those with additional support needs as they may require extra help (there may be extra funding from within your school or external bursaries available for these purposes).  DofE programmes are flexible and can be adapted to suit a young person's specific needs.  Visit the DofE's additional needs pages for more information - www.DofE.org/go/additionalneeds and talk to your Operations Officer about flexibility in eDofE for these specific groups.

BACK UP If a sufficient budget has been allocated, make sure there is a separate pot of money kept for emergencies or to support those young people who are unable to pay for themselves.

GET SOCIAL Consider setting up Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts to raise awareness of your DofE activities.  You could use this to publicise your information events, presentations and training courses and to share photos of participants and their activities to shine a light on their positive work. Check out this guide for more help with using social media.  If social media access is restricted by your school IT system, you could consider setting up an online noticeboard on the school's website to house this information.


For participants

SET UP Enrol your participants and make sure you set clear (and realistic) deadlines early on to give them something to aim for.  Notify them of the expedition dates so that they can be added to their diaries and be clear about the level of commitment required.  Take them through the contents of their Welcome Pack in person to make sure they understand all the elements (or accompany it with a letter which outlines its use).  Include a hard copy of their Programme Planner with their enrolment form so that they can start thinking about their sectional activities. 

SELECTING ACTIVITIES In your first DofE sessions with participants support on selecting activities.  You can download ideas lists for each section in the Leaders' resource zone.  You will also need to give out dates for training and other meetings.  If they haven't already filled out their Programme Planner, take time to go through this with them before they log on to eDofE so that they have all the information they need to hand - including activities, timescales, locations, goals and Assessors/Supervisors.  There are plenty of sectional activity opportunities available to your participants on the Opportunity Finder (www.DofE.org/finder) if they're struggling for ideas. 

eDofE Use the DofE's eDofE YouTube videos to support your participants (and Leaders) to get started on the system.  Book a group IT session and print out all the usernames to ensure all your pupils get logged on and understand their account.  Remind them that they cannot start or complete their DofE without approved Programme Planners and Assessor Reports for each section.  Make sure they complete their 'personal profile' correctly; this will give you accurate statistics so that you can demonstrate the make up of your group as well as the range of  individuals involved when you are building or requesting additional support, resources and funding.  

SETTING EXPECTATIONS Discuss (one to one if possible) your new participants' circumstances and expectations to ensure they are fully supported and also aware of what will be required. 

CLEAR REPORTS Be clear with your participants about what should be included in their Assessor Reports to avoid to many rejections and backward and forwarding later in the process.  Give out example reports - both using the paper report cards and the online submissions - so that they know exactly what is required. 


For parents 

OUTLINING REQUIRMENTS Send a first letter home to parents and outline the programme requirements and expectations of their son or daughter.  Include an explanation of the Welcome Pack and its contents, an overview of eDofE, key contact details, suggested activity ideas, rough costs and key dates for their diaries.  Ask for their support and engagement with their young person's DofE journey and promote the positive outcomes and benefits of achieving a DofE Award (you could include quotes and photos from last year's participants or link to the www.DofESkills.org site).     

PERMISSIONS Don't forget to get the parents' permissions to take photographs of their sons or daughters whilst doing their DofE activities.  These photos are great to use for publicity on your website and in your promotional materials.  Permission can easily be gathered through a simple tick box on the enrolment form or a separate model release form. 

CLEAR REPORTS Make sure parents understand what should be included on an Assessor's Report as they may be supporting their son or daughter to collect theirs.  Remind them that neither they nor another family member can be their child's Assessor.


For your DofE volunteers/supporters/helpers

TRAINING REQUIREMENTS Once you have a list of all your volunteers, take some time to review their individual training needs.  You can then book them on to the relevant courses.  Ensure you have enough support for all areas of your delivery (e.g. administration, expedition training and supervision, minibus drivers).  Don't forget about the 'one-off' or occasional activities that volunteers can do, as well as longer term roles.  Try to distribute the workload evenly over a wider base of volunteers and start by asking for a small amount of commitment from new volunteers and building up.

eDofE Set up all your volunteers on eDofE. If they don't have a specific role (e.g. Leader or Co-ordinator) then you can add them on as a 'Helper'.  Consider running a training session for them all at once so they can make best use of the system and support participants.

ENROLMENT Ask new volunteers to complete an enrolment form to ensure you have captured all the relevant information to set them up on eDofE.  This also helps to formalise their commitment.  


For teachers, colleagues and student mentors

NOTIFY Send all form tutors and heads of year a list of all their pupils who have enrolled.  Ask for their support in ensuring their young people keep on track with their DofE programmes- they could even schedule informal DofE sessions during their form times to catch up.

MONITORING PROGRESSION Form tutors and subject teachers can also monitor their pupils' progress to see if their DofE involvement has a positive impact on their behaviour, attainment or attendance.

KEEPING IN THE LOOP Send all teachers a link to the online e-induction training if they'd like to know more about the DofE.  You could also send them a link to a shared file containing the names and eDofE ID numbers of all participants, in case they are asked to be an Assessor.  Explain the role of an Assessor and what they should include in their final report, if they're asked.

For the headteacher and senior management team

PLANNING AHEAD Share your DofE development plan, if you haven't already, with your headteacher and senior staff.  Once you have clear participation numbers you can be much firmer with your targets.  This future projection helps to justify investment and spend in the early stages.  Outline any additional financial support that you're hoping to acquire.  This plan can help demonstrate your ambition and is also a good opportunity to request extra support for your volunteers (such as 'time off in lieu' or free periods to cover DofE work).

CALENDAR Share your DofE delivery calendar and expedition calendar with your senior staff to demonstrate workload and commitment and so that they are up to speed on all the DofE activities.


For governors and the PTA

SHARING TARGETS Once you have confirmed your development plan and targets with your headteacher share them with your governors.  This will help validate your work, show your commitment and demonstrate the scale of your involvement.

FUNDING SUPPORT Approach your governors or your PTA to see if they can source additional funding or support you directly.  This could be used to fund expedition trips further afield, minibus hire, driver training or to add or replace items in your kit store.  Using your development plan (future targets) and the report on your previous years successes can help demonstrate that their investment will continue to support young people for many more years.


For your clerical or administrations teams

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT Ask for additional support collecting participant enrolment forms and consent forms and also collecting and processing payments.  These teams may also have time to support with setting up eDofE accounts.


For the wider community

RECRUITING SUPPORT Advertise for volunteers externally using the DofE's do-it.org account.  Email [email protected] to request a login.