Welcome to the DofE in Scotland

Shawlands Academy Success

This week we’re celebrating success in Glasgow as they celebrate their Awards night on 21 November. Shawlands Academy is the winner of the DofE Glasgow Centre of the Year and they have great stories to tell.

Shawlands Academy discovered that pupils who were new to Glasgow and joining the school in the Senior Phase were missing out on starting their DofE in S3. The English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher Hanna Myachykova recognised the DofE as a great opportunity to help the pupils develop their English skills in addition to achieving an Award. She explained, “It helps them to become more confident in their language skills and more confident in their inclusion in school life.”

Working with Donnie MacBride, the school’s DofE Co-ordinator, they started a Silver group for EAL pupils in the school to give them the opportunity to take part. Word spread quickly in the school and soon they had a whole group registered.

The participants got to work on their DofE activities and some, like Cosmin, used their activities to directly improve their English skills. He explained: “I don’t often read books, but I did [for my DofE] and I actually enjoyed it. I read The Godfather and after that I saw the movie and really enjoyed it.”

Youssef, who lived in several countries before coming to Shawlands Academy, found doing his DofE expedition gave him a greater connection to Scotland, explaining: “I find it a really nice place and I really love the landscape at the moment. I really would enjoy going on expeditions in the future.”

Now that they are coming to the end of their Silver Award, the participants are keen to carry on to their Gold. Valerie, who came to Glasgow from Czech, just achieved her Silver Award and said, “I’m so proud of myself. It’s like the best feeling ever…I’m going to miss doing these things until I do my Gold.”

School staff and parents have commented on how much confidence and ability the Shawlands EAL participants have gained by taking part in their DofE programmes. A mother of one of the participants has already asked if her younger daughter can also do her DofE Award because of the positive impact it has had on her son. Hanna also noticed a difference in the participants and said, “When they started they were very quiet and self-conscious. After getting involved with the DofE they became more open and their language and social skills have improved.”

If you would like to hear more about the project at Shawlands Academy, you can watch this short film and hear from Hanna and the participants about their experiences.

Celebrating Success in Glasgow

This week young people who achieved their DofE Award with Glasgow City Council will be presented their certificates at a special event at the Royal Concert Hall.

A record 757 young people have achieved their DofE Award through Glasgow City Council this year, a 43% increase on last year. The Council has worked extremely hard to widen participation of young people across the city. Over 50% of the young people who have achieved their DofE Award this year have barriers to participation.

Alan, our Centre Support Officer in Glasgow has worked with schools in Glasgow over the past year to build their programmes and get new DofE Leaders trained to support growth. With many of those participants receiving their Awards at the celebration this week now’s a great time to reflect on Alan’s work.

In several of the schools Alan helped to more than double the number of Awards started. For example, at Bannerman High School Alan helped the programme grow from no participants in 2015-16 to 34 in 2016-27.

Alan in midgie hood
Alan, left on a very midgie expedition

Another school where Alan’s been working is Drumchapel High School, where he’s helped get the Silver programme up and running. Alan explained that one participant at Drumchapel said that she hated her Bronze in the beginning, but that by the time she had achieved her Award she was insistent that she be able to start on her Silver.

Alan worked with the school to get their first Silver group in a long time up and running. With the option of achieving their Bronze and progressing on to Silver, participants have a clear path for wider achievement, developing their skills for life and work.

We will be posting more about the success in Glasgow this week, so stay tuned. You can also follow the stories on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds using the hashtag #iAmDofE.


Sign up now for the Scottish Leaders’ Conference 2018!

The Scottish Leaders’ Conference 2018 is now open for registration. Come along to Stirling on Saturday 27 January for a day of workshops, networking and learning.

The Conference workshop topics include: eDofE, fundraising for DofE centres, the impact of volunteering and more. The workshop sessions will be delivered by YouthLink Scotland, Volunteer Scotland and the DofE staff team.

The discounted rate of only £25 per delegate is made possible through the generous support of YouthLink Scotland. The delegate rate includes activities, refreshments, lunch and your delegate pack.

Sign up now via Surveymonkey.

New adventures for new Scots

“I love to hear the happy laughter and daft banter of the young folk enjoying their freedom (weather & midges allowing).”

This was Mike’s experience when he supervised a group of Syrian new Scots on their practice Bronze expedition over the summer.

Mike, a DofE Co-ordinator with the Aberdeenshire Council’s DofE team, has been working in partnership with his colleague Sandra, Inverurie Academy and the Council’s Syrian Relocation Coordinator, to help the young people through their DofE programme. The team thought it would be a great way to help the participants improve their English skills by exposing them to new situations and environments.

Syrian participants on expedition

Sandra explained how the group helped her to think outside the box with her DofE delivery, saying: “I found sometimes the cultural differences focused my mind to thinking differently to my norm. The young women taking part were unsure of what was expected and their parents needed reassurance. This led to them going for a walk with one of our other volunteers, which was a great small step forward.” The young women have not been out on their expedition yet, but the team is hopeful they will complete their expedition in 2018.

To get the young people excited about doing their DofE programme, Mike and Sandra showed them a lively video of previous participants out on expedition. As Mike explained, the group were “exchanging grins and laughing at the loopy antics on the screen.” When asked if they wanted to join in on the adventure – all the hands shot up.

Mike and Sandra took the group through the expedition training framework at Bronze level. An interpreter was not always available during the training, but they bypassed language barriers by encouraging those more capable in English to help translate. They also made good use of their smartphone apps. As Mike recounted, this led to some interesting moments: “I found myself attempting to mime a transmitter mast, must to everyone’s amusement. We did get there in the end!”

Syrian expedition training

They also accommodated the religious needs of the participants. They were given prayer time during meetings when necessary and Mike and Sandra completed their training before Ramadan began. Soon they were ready for their practice at Bennachie.

The school, pulling out all the stops, found kit for the participants who needed waterproofs, sleeping bags and other essentials ahead of the practice expedition. Once they were all ready to go – and had let a particularly nasty storm pass the day before – the participants set off on their first ever Scottish expedition.

The weather cooperated and they arrived at the campsite in good time. As Mike explained “once prayers were over, this camp was no exception, with a game creating raucous hilarity, which along with some serious midnight feasting, went on way past my bed time.”

The participants have been through a remarkable journey to come to Scotland from Syria. By taking part in DofE programmes they are able to explore new places and learn through new experiences. Sandra said: “I have seen these young people develop in language skills, confidence and willingness to try new things. I personally can’t believe how far they have come and I am looking forward to continuing working with them all.”

We at DofE Scotland are excited to hear more about their new adventures in the coming months. We will post updates about their DofE journey here on the website.

If you’re interested in learning more about this project, then please get in touch with us at [email protected] or 0131 343 0920.

Five tips for getting your completions in

With the busy expedition season coming to a close, now is a great time to make sure participants get their sections submitted and approved on eDofE. Below are our top five tips for helping participants complete their programme.

  1. Ask your DofE Manager for a report of participants with only one section left to complete.
  2. Run an eDofE drop-in session to help participants upload evidence and submit their sections for approval.
  3. Let other DofE Leaders in your centre know which participants are close to completion. Ask them to remind participants to upload their evidence and submit their sections for approval.
  4. Use the ‘Directly Approve’ button to approve a section if a participant has entered all the required information but has not sent the section for approval.
  5. Use the ‘Expedition set up’ to add details of an expedition presentation to a participant’s account. You can also add evidence to a participant’s account yourself if they are struggling to use eDofE.

For more tips and advice on inspiring participants to complete, visit the Schools’ Calendar. If you need any further assistance, please get in touch with your DofE Manager or Operations Officer.

Register – Unlocking Leadership Potential Conference

Join us for the Unlocking Leadership Potential Conference, sponsored by Rachael Hamilton MSP, in The Members’ Room at the Scottish Parliament. All young people and adults are welcome!

When: Monday, 18 December 2017, 09:30 to 15:30
Where: Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

The day includes inspiring talks and breakout sessions that focus on leadership skills and participation. The two inspiring speakers will show how, even when you think no one is listening, you can still have an impact and make positive changes in your society. It all comes down to your passion for making a difference.

Contact [email protected] to register. Please mention any dietary or access requirements.

Rotary conference promotion

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