Information for parents about the Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Firstly this document contains a lot of information! The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is an incredible experience and qualification but it involves a range of activities and requirements in order to be attained. Please take the time to read this whole document carefully to prevent any confusion or disappointment in the future.

Since the Award began in 1956, its aim has been to help young people plan and undertake their own programme of activities to develop themselves mentally, physically and emotionally. The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is widely recognised by employers and education providers as the definitive qualification for demonstrating self-reliance, commitment and dedication. All this, and a lot of fun along the way!

Some of the benefits to young people include:

  • ·         Developing self-confidence and self-reliance.
  • ·         Gaining a sense of achievement and a sense of responsibility.
  • ·         Discovering new skills, interests and talents.
  • ·         Developing leadership skills and abilities

This is achieved through participants undertaking a range of activities for the four different Award sections (five for Gold).

The following information sets out the structure of the DofE Award and what your child needs to do to gain their full Award.  Please take the time to read and understand the information.

There is also information below on:

1 - ‘Ensuring your Child has a Safe and Enjoyable Experience’.
This discusses the different organisations that your child may use to complete activities for their Duke of Edinburgh's Award and explains where responsibility lies for ensuring that these organisations are safe and appropriate.

2 - ‘Expedition Information’.
This explains what is involved with the expedition section of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

What is the Duke of Edinburgh's Award?

As the job market continues to get more competitive and more people gain degrees and other higher education qualifications, employers are looking for other means of determining the strength and quality of candidates. Each year the DofE is regularly stated by graduate employers as being a definitive qualification for demonstrating that an individual has the rounded set of skills and the qualities for which they are looking. The percentage of among these job applicants who have completed a DofE award is very low, which ensures it continues to be a very prestigious achievement and means that those who complete it will stand out from the crowd!

The main reason why the DofE maintains such a fantastic reputation is because it requires motivation, commitment and maturity from the participants. They have to take total responsibility for all aspects of their DofE experience; Open DofE Centres in West Sussex will offer support and advice but the participant must do the work!

The participants must undertake the following tasks:

·         Finding activities to undertake for the different DofE sections.

·         Ensure they attend the activities.

·         Submit the required evidence to demonstrate they have undertaken the necessary activities.

Please spend some time reading and digesting this important information so that you understand the expectations placed on your child:

What makes up the Award?

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award consists of four sections (help with finding activities for these sections is on the following page):

1.       Skill Section – Participants must spend approximately one hour per week learning a new life skill (outside of school lessons). There are hundreds of different activities that young people can choose from. Popular choices include music, art, drama, cooking, DJ-ing, committee skills, graffiti art, learning to drive and sign language. Unfortunately sports cannot count for this section (even though you need to learn skills to do them); this is because sports come under the ‘physical recreation’ section.

2.       Volunteering Section – This section requires participants to spend approximately one hour per week doing voluntary work. This gives participants the opportunity to get out into their communities and give something back (Note: This cannot be working for free for a commercial organisation like hairdressers, shop, café etc.)

3.       Physical Recreation Section – This section requires participants to spend one hour per week of their own time engaging in physical recreation. It can be any form of activity and does not need to be in a team or competitive environment.

4.       Expedition Section – This is explained in detail below.

The next page will give advice as to how participants can find activities for these sections if they aren’t doing something already. However please be aware that the responsibility lies entirely with them for finding and undertaking activities for the sections 1 – 3 listed above. Open DofE Centres in West Sussex will provide the necessary training for the expedition section.

Bronze

Volunteering

Skills

Physical Recreation

Expedition

3 Months each, with one section lasting 6 months

2 day, 1 night venture


Silver

Volunteering

Skills

Physical Recreation

Expedition

6 Months

One section for 6 months and the other  

for 3 months

3 day, 2 night venture

If you didn’t do Bronze, you must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills sections.

Gold

Volunteering

Skills

Physical Recreation

Expedition

Residential

12 Months

One section for 12 months and the other  for 6 months

4 day, 3 night venture

Undertake a shared activity in a residential setting away from home for 5 days and 4 nights

If you didn’t do Silver, you must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills sections.

How can my child find appropriate activities?

Firstly your child may be undertaking an activity already that they can count for one of the sections such as playing a sport or attending a fitness class, learning a musical instrument, being involved with a drama group, etc. If your child already does an activity and you aren’t sure if it can count towards their DofE then ask your child to speak to the DofE leader at Open DofE Centres in West Sussex. Please note that activities undertaken within school or college lesson time, or during paid employment or in return for any goods, services or benefits in kind, cannot count but activities during lunch time or after school (such as playing for a school team or being involved in a school committee) can count towards the DofE.

There are three main sources of information for help with finding activities for each section:

1.       Leaders at the three locations of Open DofE Centres in West Sussex can help and advise on opportunities locally to the location they have chosen to attend.

2.       The Duke of Edinburgh's Award website, www.dofe.org, has lists of all the different activities that can count for a section. It’s then up to parents and particiants to find any organisations/individuals delivering these activities locally.

3.       If you have further questions, then you can contact the leaders at the Open DofE Centres in West Sussex locations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.(Shoreham), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

How long does it take to complete the Bronze, Silver and Gold Award?

For all levels of the DofE Award (Bronze, Silver and Gold), there should be a regular commitment averaging at least an hour a week for each of the volunteering, skill and physical recreation sections for the following time period:

Bronze Award (for young people in Year 9 and aged over thirteen). All participants must undertake a further three months in the Volunteering, Skills or Physical Recreation Sections (so they do one section for 6 months and two for 3 months)

Silver Award (Age 15+) Participants who do not hold their Bronze Award must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Skills / Physical Recreation Section.

Gold Award (Age 16+) Participants who do not hold their Silver Award must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Skills / Physical Recreation Section.

How is the scheme monitored and assessed?

As identified above, the DofE counts for so much because the participant must take full responsibility for all aspects of their Award.

To ensure that the high quality and value of the DofE scheme is maintained, we have to collect evidence to show that a participant has completed the work for each section. When your child enrols into the Award, they will be given a welcome pack with a ‘Keeping Track’ booklet inside and a username and password to for the eDofE system.

eDofE is the online system managed by Duke of Edinburgh's Award which allows the participant to upload a programme planner showing how he/she proposes to complete the sections of their award. As they work through the sections, they can update eDofE with their progress, add any certificates they may receive for attaining a specific level in that activity, and finally, ask their assessor (an adult in charge of the activity) to enter their final report to show they have completed that section. Alternatively they can demonstrate they have been doing an activity by getting an adult in charge of the activity (not a parent or family member) to sign the "keeping track" booklet while they are doing the activity for the required amount of time, and get it signed off by the assessor when they have completed it. This information can be uploaded to eDofE as the record of their achievement.

If there is not an adult in charge of the activity to sign the book then they must upload evidence in the form of photos and reports onto their online eDofE page.

Leaders can help if there are any doubts about how to provide adequate evidence for an activity.

Ensuring your Child has a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

Taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is a rewarding and enjoyable experience which will involve your child in a variety of activities. The ethos of the Award is that these activities take place within the participants own time and where possible in their local community. Open DofE Centres in West Sussex ensures that any activity directly provided by staff or volunteers are run safely and in accordance with our policies and procedures. This means that our staff and volunteers will have the appropriate skills, qualifications and background to work with young people.

For example, if your child is completing a section through their school and the school has an after school environmental project that participants can use for the Volunteering section of their Award, then the school will ensure this activity meets all required safety standards. However, in the course of working towards their award, your child will probably take part in activities which are not directly under the control of our volunteers, and you should be aware that the responsibility for ensuring such activities are safe rests with yourself rather than the charity.

While most of these organisations will have their own policies in place to protect your child, we would advise that you satisfy yourself that they are suitable in the same way that you would treat any activity in which your child participates. For example, if your child chooses to coach younger children at a local sports club for the volunteering section of their award, then it is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that this is a safe and appropriate organisation. We would therefore recommend that you discuss with your child which activities they will be completing for the volunteering, skill and physical recreation sections of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and which organisations they will be using to complete these activities.

Insurance

Once a young person has enrolled onto the Award then they automatically join the Award insurance scheme. The Duke of Edinburgh's Award provides limited personal accident insurance cover (details available from Award Head Office: 01753 727400).

As a Charity delivering the DofE Award, Open DofE Centres in West Sussex also has their own public liability insurance in place to cover any claims against them for injury or damage caused to, or by, young people and adults engaged in activities provided by them.

You may want to check that your personal and household insurance policies cover the participant's chosen activities and risk of loss or damage to personal property and equipment.

 Information Regarding the Expedition Section

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Expedition is a unique opportunity for your child to experience self-reliance and team work in an outdoor environment.

The length of the expedition varies depending on the level of the Award:

Bronze Level – expedition takes two days (1 night), the participants will be walking in a lowland area.

Silver Level – expedition will take three days (two nights), and takes place in an open country area.

Gold Level – the expedition will take four days (three nights), and be in a wild country area.

Participants will have to undertake training to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge for the expedition.

For the final expedition of all awards, the participants must complete a self-sufficient journey. This means that the participants will walk without direct adult supervision, on an agreed route, and must carry all the equipment and food they will need for the duration of their expedition.

Adult leaders will monitor the progress of the groups by meeting them at check points.

The participants will be in expedition groups of between 4 and 7 young people. They must work together as a team, take responsibility for their actions, and deal with any situations that arise along the way.

At Bronze and Silver levels, the leaders will be staying in the same area as the young people, however to maintain the spirit of the expedition they will, as much as possible, leave the young people to take responsibility for all aspects of their camp, including cooking.

At Gold level, there may not be any adult supervisors in the area, and participants may ‘wild camp’ on the hill, not in a campsite if they choose, and it’s permitted in that area..

IMPORTANT NOTE! All the adults providing support and ensuring that your child can take part in the DofE Award scheme with Open DofE Centres in West Sussex are volunteers. It is a huge amount of work for them and they can only support your child on the basis that your child:

        Attends all of the training sessions for the expedition.
The leaders will not take your child on expedition if they do not feel they have the necessary training. It is 100% the responsibility of the child and yourselves to know the correct training dates and to attend these.

        Brings the correct equipment to all of the training sessions.

For contact details and registering with Open DofeE Centres in West Sussex to participate in the Award, please see the web site.

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