Delivering the DofE: FAQs for DofE adults

We recognise that this is a worrying time and you may be concerned about how the coronavirus outbreak will affect your participants’ DofE.

The health of everyone involved with the DofE is the most important thing to us and parents and LOs should feel comfortable taking their own measures at this time.

We will make sure that we use all the flexibility inherent in the DofE programme so young people can continue doing their programmes and have the opportunity to achieve their Awards.

Can participants progress to the next level if they haven’t completed their Award?

As per the programme rules, a participant can start the next level of Award when they have completed at least one section of their current Award (which has been approved by their Leader), and reached the minimum age requirements for the next level. They are entered at the next level as a direct participant.

If a participant has completed the Volunteering, Physical and Skills section – achieving the DofE Certificate of Achievement – they can be added to the next level as a non-direct participant. Find out how to do that here.

A team want to use their Gold level practice expedition as their Silver Qualifying, is this ok?

One of the temporary flexibilities allows participants to use a Gold practice as a Silver qualifying. However, participants must have already completed a Silver practice expedition for a hybrid Silver/Gold to be used. If a practice is not completed beforehand, then the Silver expedition section (and therefore Silver Award) cannot be completed.

To see what expeditions are required if you are using the temporary flexibilities, please see this summary.

A participant has completed their whole Award but didn’t get the Certificate of Achievement as well. How do they get one?

The Certificate of Achievement was designed to recognise the efforts of participants whose Expedition and/or Residential sections were delayed due to Covid. Each month, data on young people who have completed the Skills, Physical and Volunteering sections is collated, and Certificate of Achievements are sent. If a participant has completed their Expedition section before other sections, or if all their sections (and therefore full Award) are signed off at once, then they will not be sent a Certificate of Achievement. But remember, a full DofE Award is what young people should be aiming for, which recognises all of their hard work and achievements!

For more information about the Certificate of Achievement, please visit this page.

How can I make sure I communicate safely with my DofE participants on digital platforms, one-to-one and in groups?

Adapting to a virtual environment comes with challenges – but technology can also bring huge benefits when supporting young people in these uncertain times.

It can have a hugely positive effect on their mental health, helping them feel connected to others, maintain some sense of normality and access support when needed.

It’s crucial anyone communicating with young people to support their DofE at this time operates under best practice guidelines and makes sure young people’s safety and wellbeing is the priority at all time.

To help you do this, we have developed a practical guide for remote mentoring relationships, in partnership with The Diana Award and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. Please read and share this with any colleagues who may find it useful.

Your organisation will have its own digital safeguarding guidelines which you should follow as always – this guide is intended to supplement these existing policies, rather than to replace them.

What advice is the DofE giving about coronavirus?

Since the coronavirus outbreak started, the health of everyone involved in the DofE has been, and remains, the most important thing to us and must be the primary consideration of the DofE network. 

We urge everyone involved in running the DofE, our participants, parents and carers to continue to monitor and follow Government advice. All DofE Managers, Leaders and other adult volunteers should also follow any policies and procedures governing their own organisation’s response to COVID-19. 

It’s clear the effects of the pandemic will be long-lasting – and we want to support our Licensed Organisations to recognise young people’s achievements and help as many as possible achieve their Award. You can read more about the initiatives and flexibilities we’ve introduced, and find practical advice, activity ideas and information on our DofE With A Difference hub. 

Is the DofE charity still working as normal?

Yes, very much so. Of course, we’ve had to quickly adapt how we do some things in order to reflect the current situation. But we’re determined that young people shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Award because of coronavirus.

Our staff will continue to support Licensed Organisations, Approved Activity Providers and other partners to carry on delivering the programme in a different way over the next year. Our Operations Officers will stay in close contact with all DofE Managers to talk about how we can help them to support participants at this difficult time.

One of my participants (or their parent / carer) is particularly concerned about doing their DofE activities as they’re worried they’ll get the virus. What should I tell them?

Everyone needs to follow Government advice with regard to managing the spread of the virus and their own health. The Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage is frequently updated as things develop, so please check it regularly. The NHS advice is also frequently updated.

There are lots of ways in which participants can carry on with their DofE programmes while at home – click here for more details.

What happens if I’m ill and I can’t lead my DofE group remotely?

Your health is the most important thing and you must make sure that you follow all of the advice being issued by the Government.

As a DofE Leader, you’ll be aware of what plans your Licensed Organisation has in place to deal with your absence – inform your LO so that these plans can be actioned.

 

Some participants want to change their activities to ones they can do on their own / at home. Is this ok?

Yes, this is fine. DofE programmes allow young people to change from one activity to another at any point. In these unique circumstances, it’s likely that many participants will choose to do this, and we’re sharing ideas on how young people can safely carry on with elements of their DofE programme here.

Participants will need to seek approval from their Leader before starting their new activities.

Do you have any suggestions for activities young people can do on their own / remotely?

Yes. We’re sharing activity ideas here. If there are ideas that are working particularly well for participants in your community, please do share them with your DofE Operations Officer and via social media using the hashtag #DofEwithadifference.

One of my participants is turning 25 soon and is concerned they won’t complete their programme in time because of the outbreak. Can they be given an extension?

Yes. Under existing DofE rules, participants can be granted a period of time in which to complete their DofE after their 25th birthday if they need it because of illness or other circumstances. Leaders should feel empowered to grant such extensions to participants affected by coronavirus immediately and can get an extension granted in eDofE by contacting the relevant DofE Region or Country Office.

If one of my participants is diagnosed with the coronavirus after taking part in a DofE activity, should I tell the DofE?

No, there is no need to notify the DofE should a participant be diagnosed with coronavirus. However, tell your Licensed Organisation so that appropriate steps can be put in place to manage the situation.

Can I still purchase Welcome Packs and allocate the accompanying participation places as usual?

Yes, you can still buy Welcome Packs in eDofE and allocate the accompanying participation places to young people as always.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the lives of young people, affecting their studies, social lives, work and future prospects. Doing a DofE programme can give them structure, focus and purpose that are vital for their mental and physical wellbeing.

Welcome Packs are still being despatched every two weeks to participants who enter their personal details on eDofE for the first time, or start a new Award level.

As ever, digital copies of Welcome Pack contents are available for download. Young people and Leaders can also download their Digital DofE Card from eDofE or the DofE app.

A participant in my group has chosen or changed to an activity that they would like to do for one day a month, rather than one hour a week. Is this allowed?

Although activities for all levels are normally done for one hour per week (and in the current circumstances this may help with establishing routine), there are some activities which better completed by doing them for a longer time per session, but less often. This could be one day a month, or a couple of hours every other week.

The activity must still be spread across the number of months the participant has chosen to spend on that section, and the hours must be at least the same as doing it weekly (or more!)

For example, with prior agreement from their DofE Leader, a participant doing a six month Volunteering section for Silver starting in April 2020 could request to do a minimum of a day each month (at least four to six hours) until their earliest completion date – which in this case would be October 2020.