Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE)
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) is a personal development program for 14 to 24 year olds. The award is designed to be enjoyable whilst learning a wealth of new skills, such as self-reliance, teamwork and leadership. The award also helps students to push themselves physically, help others and explore new territories.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a recognition of a young person’s successful journey of self-discovery and development, the benefits of achieving an award at any level are endless. It’s difficult to list them all here … but students should know that they will have fun and will push themselves to do new things that will help them to grow in confidence and develop useful skills. A DofE Award can also give students the edge when they apply for college, university or a job.
The Boswells School offers the DofE Award at three levels; Bronze, Silver and Gold. It is a personal challenge available to all students however it does require students to commit some of their own time to undertake their selected activities. Each level of the award has four sections to complete, Volunteering, Skill, Physical and Expedition. There is also an additional five-day Residential section for Gold participants. Activities for each DofE section take a minimum of one hour per week over a set period of time, so that they can be fitted around students’ studies and life outside school. Students will also need to participate regularly and show that they’re committed to their DofE during this time.
The Bronze Award is run by Mrs Canning, whilst the Silver and Gold Awards are both run by an Approved Activity Provider, School of Outdoors.
The Volunteering Section
Volunteering is simple. It’s about choosing to give time to help people, the community or society, the environment or animals. The Volunteering section of a DofE programme is often the most rewarding, uplifting and memorable part of a young person’s DofE adventure. For the volunteering activity students will need to choose to give time to do something useful without getting paid (apart from expenses). It can, however, sometimes be hard to find a suitable volunteering opportunity for those under the age of 16.
Here is a collection of ideas and opportunities that participants might like to think about for their Volunteering section.
The Physical Section
For the physical activity students need to choose any sport, dance or fitness activity – in short, anything that requires a sustained level of energy and physical activity. For example, playing a sport regularly and showing personal improvement would count, such as a school club, gym sessions or out of school sports club. It is not only excellent for students own personal health but also a good training regime for the expedition.
Here is a collection of ideas and opportunities that participants might like to think about for the Physical section.
The Skills Section
For the skills activity students need to choose an activity that will allow them to prove they have broadened their understanding and increased their expertise in their chosen skill. It should not be a physical activity, for example horse riding, as this counts towards the Physical section, however, students could choose to learn about caring for horses.
Here is a collection of ideas and opportunities that participants might like to think about for their Skills section.
If you are in doubt about any of the chosen activities for these sections please email firstname.lastname@example.org for help and guidance.
This is often the section that the students are most looking forward to! For the Expedition section, students will need to plan, train for and complete an unaccompanied, self-reliant expedition with an agreed aim. Students must do the correct training for their level and mode of travel, at least one practice expedition, a qualifying expedition (the one that is assessed) and a final presentation in order to complete the section.
The expedition must be completed by the students own physical efforts with minimal external intervention and without motorised assistance.
Students must adhere to the 20 Conditions of the Expedition section as set out by the DofE Award.
Currently the Bronze Expeditions are in the vicinity of Chelmsford, whilst the Silver is located in the South or North Downs, and the Gold in either the Brecon Beacons or Cumbria however these do change dependant on availability of campsites.
We provide a kit list of equipment that is required for the expeditions and there is a discount at several outdoors shops when using a student DofE Card. This card is included in the students’ welcome pack when signing up with DofE.
The official DofE Kit list can be found here and some equipment is loaned to students.
The Residential Section (Gold Award only)
For the Residential section students need to undertake a shared activity or specific course with people they don’t know, in a residential setting away from home and in an unfamiliar environment. Evenings are often as much a part of the experience as daytime activities.
This section offers a high degree of flexibility but it must be done with an organised group, registered charity or Approved Activity Provider. Students must join it individually and not with an existing group of friends or as part of a school or youth group trip. Students will be staying away – anything from an activity centre or camp to a boat or barge – but they cannot stay with friends or relatives. Here is a link to the DofE site for more information: https://www.dofe.org/do/sections/?id=4