With Halloween and Bonfire night now behind us, it can mean only one thing – the countdown to Christmas break is not only on your mind, but also on the mind of your participants, support team and parents. Unfortunately, there are still a few more weeks to get through before most schools break up, so how do you keep your school focused on the DofE and not on the upcoming break? We’ve pulled together our top five tips to help you get support and raise awareness of your DofE activities this November.
1. Get positive publicity for your group’s achievements.
Send a press release to the local paper on your group’s DofE achievements (from this year and the previous year). Include updates on your expeditions, Award achievements and any interesting or unusual activities – particularly those that have engaged the wider communities. For ideas, check out our document on ‘Telling your DofE story’ via the Resource Zone. Don’t forget to include lots of photos and quotes from participants, parents and Leaders. Make sure you display any coverage you receive on your DofE noticeboard and in the school reception, or on social media.
2. Seek approval for your expeditions early on from the Educational Visits Co-ordinator.
Ensure the dates don’t conflict with any other major activities, such as exams, school productions, trips and exchanges.
3. Raise awareness at the Governors’ Christmas meeting.
Attend the Governors’ Christmas meeting and present an update on your DofE achievements so far, or contribute in advance to their report. Focus on the progress you’ve made towards your targets, any positive outcomes so far (quotes and photos are great illustrations for these) and demonstrate the impact of your work. This helps to raise awareness of your DofE activities and encourage their wider support (if they haven’t already invested). Don’t forget to share any positive stories before you go on Christmas break too – you could include them in an email if there is no formal report.
4. Update your head teacher and senior management team on the progress you’ve made against your targets.
Your DofE reports could also be included in any reports produced for school inspections to help demonstrate how the school, through your DofE activities, is supporting its students to develop outside of the classroom. You might find our ‘DofE and Ofsted’ document (available via the Resource Zone) helpful. Review general pupil progress reports and chat with subject and form teachers to see how DofE involvement has impacted participants’ wider attainment.
5. Engage your Gold and Silver participants to act as mentors to Bronze participants who are just starting out.
They can support them on eDofE, encourage more young people to get involved by talking about their personal experiences, be an extra pair of hands on expedition training days, and even support with other sectional activities. This mentoring could even be used for their own Volunteering section.