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Eight ways you can help participants

Your son or daughter has decided to do their DofE. Some young people may not be able work through their programme completely on their own without support.

So what can you, as a parent or carer, do to help them through their programme and achieve that amazing DofE Award?

Here are eight top tips for you to think about…

  • Choosing activities and Assessors – They may need some help in choosing activities (try this handy list to give them inspiration). Then they need to find someone to assess them.  An Assessor checks on the participant’s progress and agrees the completion of a section of their programme.  They will produce or sign off the relevant Assessor’s Report for that section, which is uploaded into eDofE. An Assessor can be anyone who is interested in helping them to achieve, has some knowledge of the activity they are doing and can be available over the time they’re doing it.  Assessors must be independent. Therefore, they cannot be a member of their family.
  • Transport service – When a participant has chosen their activities, they may need your help getting to or from them.  Perhaps it’s an after-school activity that means they miss the school bus or the lift home?  Can you arrange for a lift for them, perhaps with their friends who are on the same activity, or give them money for transport home?
  • Provide funds for activities – The DofE should be accessible to everyone, and it needn’t cost the earth to take part and achieve an Award. Subscriptions may be needed for some activities, especially if they want to join a sports club, although after-school clubs would normally have no charge and, again, kit could be borrowed or sourced second-hand.
  • Sourcing expedition equipment – Expedition equipment can often be borrowed from their school or club, or from friends (especially those whose children have already done their DofE and have spare kit lying around).  All participants have a DofE Card or Voucher, giving them great discounts on expedition kit from top retailers.  See DofE.org/shopping/card for details.
  • Gentle motivation – You know what some young people can be like…  Full of great intentions at the start, but the novelty can wear off.  This is where you could come in. You know they’ve signed up to do their DofE so ask them every now and then how it is going.  For Bronze, if they are doing their DofE through a school it can take as little as six months to complete their programme - but it usually takes the full school year. Check in with them every couple of weeks or so, just to see if they are stuck on anything and need a bit of adult help or guidance.
  • Assist with eDofE tasks – They keep track of their progress on eDofE, our online record keeping system.  At the start of their involvement in each section they have to make their activity choices and set their personal goals. They then upload photographs and other evidence of their regular involvement in the activities. When they have completed a section’s time requirements and achieved their stated goals, their Assessor completes a report (see above). You can help them navigate the system if they get stuck.
  • Check suitability of activity provider – It is your responsibility to check that whoever is running the activities your child does for their DofE programme is appropriate. Do they operate activities safely? Do their staff have appropriate safeguarding checks (e.g. DBS checks)? Will the activity count for your child’s DofE programme? (Check with your child’s DofE Leader before committing to anything.)
  • Emotional support – Sometimes a young person can feel that everything is getting on top of them.  You can support them by helping them manage their time and commitments. Remember, they can always take a rest from their DofE activities… the official cut-off point for all programmes to be completed is the 25th birthday.

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