In the first of our interviews with LOs and centres across the North of England, we find out how digital delivery of the DofE has encouraged participants at Cundall Manor School to stay on track with their programmes.
Who are you, what is your role and what centre are you from?
My name is Stuart Jackson, I am the DofE Manager at Cundall Manor School in North Yorkshire and have worked here for 3 years ago. I first got involved in the DofE through helping to run expeditions. I then became the Assessor for the school before taking up the post of DofE Manager as part of my role as Director of Outdoor Studies.
What can you tell us about your DofE programmes at Cundall Manor?
At Cundall Manor we deliver Bronze and Silver levels, offering Bronze in Year 9 and Silver in Year 10. We are lucky enough to have a timetabled lesson each week where we can run DofE training and prepare participants for their expeditions in the summer term. We use these sessions to support students to keep their eDofE accounts up to date with evidence and teach expedition skills such as map reading, menu planning and the Countryside Code.
Once they reach Year 10 and have achieved their Bronze Award, students are given the choice to continue on to do their Silver DofE. They complete their practice expedition in the summer term of Year 10 and their qualifying expedition in the September of Year 11. We have found this approach hugely beneficial as there is no disruption caused in the final run up to their GCSEs.
How have you used digital solutions to support DofE participants to continue with their programmes during the pandemic?
Like everyone, we were impacted by COVID-19 in March with the closure of schools. Prior to schools having to teach remotely, I was lucky enough to receive G-Suite and Google Classroom training which meant that I was able to use these platforms to deliver my DofE sessions and provide continuity to participants.
I used my Google training and my new understanding of IT to investigate how I could run DofE more efficiently. I turned the DofE enrolment form into a Google form; this form had to be simple to use for parents but give me all the information that I needed to create accounts for students. Since using the form, I have been able to turn a job that would take me a day into a job that now takes one hour!
I have also used Google Sites to create an internal DofE website that has links to eDofE, the DofE app, and many of the resources I use in lessons.
What impact has the DofE Certificate of Achievement had for your participants?
I think the DofE Certificate of Achievement is a brilliant idea and I have at least 10 students who received this already. In addition to the Certificate of Achievement, the temporary expedition flexibilities mean that participants who want to move on to their Silver DofE can use their Silver practice expedition as their Bronze qualifying expedition. If students are not moving on to Silver, they can complete their Bronze expedition in a future season should they wish to achieve their Bronze Award.
What advice would you give to other LO’s?
1. Use the enrolment form that the DofE has provided. It will save you loads of time and can be sent out along with any other info for parents.
2. Use the technology that you have within your organisation. If you don’t know how it works, don’t be afraid to ask as there will be someone who can help.