Changes to the Bronze Expedition section FAQs

Here are a number of frequently asked questions regarding the changes to the Bronze expedition section, along with the answers. If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, please contact [email protected].

How many people took part in the trial?

Over 790 Licensed Organisations (LOs) applied to take part in the trial. 710 Leaders and 1,058 participants have completed the surveys, although from the answers that have been submitted we can estimate that over 16,000 young people used one or more of the options as part of the trial. 65% of respondents were from Directly Licensed Centres and 35% from Operating Authorities or National Operating Authorities.

I thought the trial finished in December 2018. Why are changes being made now?

The trial does finish at the end of the year. However, 93% of those who applied to take part have completed their expedition and the results have been conclusive. We are also aware that many LOs and AAPs want to know the results so that they can plan for the next expedition season. However, we would still appreciate feedback from those who are due to complete their expedition later this year.

Why are these programme changes only for Bronze-level expeditions?

This trial only looked at the impact of a selection of variations at Bronze level. The changes to the programme aim to ensure that the Bronze expedition experience is a positive and attractive one, which gives most participants their first taste of expeditioning and encourages them to do further adventures by completing their Silver and Gold DofE programme.

Indoor accommodation
We always use tents on expeditions. Should we organise an expedition using indoor accommodation for next summer?

Using basic indoor accommodation has always been an option for DofE expeditions. However, the trial showed that many groups were not aware of this; 79% of those taking part in the trial said that the option of using indoor accommodation encouraged more young people within their LO to take part in the DofE.

There is no requirement to run expeditions using indoor accommodation. However, all DofE centres should consider whether using this option might help them to deliver DofE programmes to more young people, particularly those who may have been put off by the idea of camping or have additional needs. Using indoor accommodation could also make it easier to run expeditions outside of the traditional expedition season if there is a need to do this.

What sort of accommodation can be used?

Simple accommodation can be used, such as camping barns, bunk houses, community halls, school halls or hostels. Accommodation owned by other youth organisations may be suitable, for example Scout or Guide huts. As with campsites, the use of facilities such as games rooms, bars or swimming pools at any accommodation cannot be used as they are not in keeping with DofE expeditions.

If groups decide to use basic indoor accommodation on their Bronze expedition, do they still need to carry a tent?

For safety reasons, participants must still carry a tent or other group emergency shelter on their expedition, regardless of whether they plan to be sleeping in it.

Leader-set generic aim
Do I need to record this in eDofE?

The aim should be recorded in exactly the same way that any other aim is recorded – there is no need to make a special note that it was set by a Leader.

No presentation
We often use the team’s expedition presentations at assemblies and Award ceremonies, as they help to recruit participants for the following year. What should we do?

It’s fantastic that participants have been sharing their experiences and helping to get more young people interested in doing their DofE. Although doing an expedition presentation is no longer a requirement for the Bronze Award level, we would still encourage participants to share their whole DofE experience with others at the end of their programme, not just their thoughts on their expedition.

Surely the learning outcomes for participants will be affected now that they no longer have to do a presentation?

In the trial, over 90% of Leaders agreed that the Assessor’s debrief helped participants understand what they had achieved and that it did draw out the required learning points, suggesting that not having a presentation didn’t impact the participant’s experience or learning outcomes. Many reported that they thought this was better, as it made participants reflect on their experience while it was still fresh in their minds.

Research before the trial also highlighted that there could be several months’ delay between participants completing the qualifying expedition and having an opportunity to deliver their presentation. Sadly, it appeared that a failure to manage the delivery of a presentation was often the cause of non-completion – not only for the Expedition section but also for participants’ whole programmes. By doing a thorough debrief instead of a presentation, 86% of Leaders involved in the trial said they were able to sign off participants’ Expedition sections in eDofE within two weeks of completing the expedition.

I can still see the ‘Presentation’ field in eDofE. When will this be changed?

These changes to the programme rules will be reflected in eDofE before the start of the next expedition season. If you’re running an expedition out of season and eDofE has not yet been updated, you can use the following workaround as used in the trial:

1. For ‘Presentation given to (name)’, insert ‘No presentation’.
2. Under ‘Role’, select ‘Other’.
3. For ‘Date’, state the date of the last day of the expedition.
4. For ‘Presentation style’, insert ‘No presentation’.

I have a Presentation Report card in my Assessor card pack – does this still need to get completed?

A presentation, and the accompanying Presentation Report card, no longer needs to be completed for Bronze-level expeditions.

We didn’t take part in the trial but my participants are still waiting to do their expedition presentation. Does this mean they no longer have to do it?

That’s correct. Participants who have already completed their Bronze-level qualifying expedition will no longer need to do a presentation. When eDofE has been updated, their expedition section end date will be the final day of their expedition.

Combined Supervisor/Assessor
I acted as both the Supervisor and the Assessor for one of our expeditions in 2018 but hadn’t done an EAAS course. Why do I have to do one now?

98% of those involved in the 2018 trial said that the qualifying expedition was ‘better’ or ‘no different’ in terms of safety and incidents compared to previous expeditions with separate roles. However, some of the feedback we received suggests that the quality of expedition young people experience could be affected by the level of training the individual carrying out the dual role has. Assessor training ensures that individuals have the knowledge to oversee the consistent application of the DofE’s 20 conditions. So, to maintain a consistent level of quality, it will remain compulsory at Bronze level.

Arrangements for the assessment and supervision of Silver and Gold DofE expeditions remain unchanged.

Why are you removing the Supported Assessment from the EAAS course? I did mine a few years ago and found it a valuable experience?

Many Licensed Organisations (LOs) told us that Supported Assessments are difficult for Trainee Assessors to find and complete, while anecdotal feedback suggests that on occasion the value added by the experience is questionable.

Shadowing an experienced accredited Assessor can sometimes be a useful learning tool for those who have less experience of DofE expeditions. New Assessors may also wish to arrange to do this. However, a Supported Assessment is no longer a required element to becoming an accredited Assessor.

Can the Assessor and Supervisor roles only be combined at Bronze level? Why can’t they be combined at Silver and Gold?

The trial only looked at the impact of this variation at Bronze level. The results were positive, with 85% of respondents saying that quality was better or wasn’t affected by not having the two separate roles.

Continuing to require a separate (and independent) Assessor at the other levels, which usually take place in more challenging terrain, ensures that both the Assessor and the Supervisor have sufficient time to carry out their role appropriately. The approach also reflects the progressive nature of the DofE and ensures a proportionate level of objectivity at Silver and Gold.

I completed an EAAS course and am due to do a Supported Assessment in the October half term. What should I do?

The Supported Assessment is no longer required to become an accredited Assessor; therefore it is your choice whether you go ahead. It still remains a valuable learning experience to shadow and learn from a current accredited Assessor, so you can of course still attend. However, if you decide not to, please inform the Assessor as soon as possible and complete the updated EAAS/13 form.

Will you be developing the EAAS course to reflect all of these changes?

The current EAAS course will be updated in the autumn to reflect the fact that there is no Supported Assessment. However, a new course will be developed for the 2020 expedition season, which will include all of the changes to the Expedition section amongst a number of other updates.

We read in the most recent issue of DofE Magazine that the EAAS process would be moving on to eDofE. Will that development be affected by this?

The development work on eDofE Training is ongoing and will reflect the new programme rules. It will be completed by early 2019.

We have individuals that enjoy being Assessors, but they don’t meet our LO’s requirements to supervise. Can we still use them?

Of course. It’s an option to combine the Supervisor and Assessor role for Bronze-level expeditions, but only if you have individuals who can fulfil the criteria for both. We know from the trial that some LOs will continue to use separate individuals, and that’s fine.

It still talks about Supported Assessments in the DofE Handbook/Expedition Guide – are there plans to update these?

Yes. We knew everyone was keen to understand and implement any changes as a result of this trial as soon as possible. Existing programme and training resources will be updated over the next 12 months to reflect all of the programme changes.

If I’ve done a pre-expedition check as a Supervisor, do I have to complete another one as the Assessor?

No. But a pre-expedition check must be completed prior to departure or during training, and again on the morning of the qualifying expedition.

Is the Assessor registration process affected? Do I still need to complete an EAAS/12 if I’m doing a dual role?

Yes, you must still be registered with each additional organisation you’re going to assess for (whether you’re assessing alongside supervising for Bronze level or assessing for Silver or Gold). You must continue to do this using the EAAS/12 form.

Can an adult who is doing the combined Assessor/Supervisor role have been involved in the group’s expedition training?

Yes, if the Supervisor has been involved in the team’s training, then they can still assess the team (as long as they are accredited by the DofE and registered with the LO). The advice on the independence of an Expedition Assessor at Bronze level will be updated in the programme resources soon.

Expedition training
What standard do participants need to be trained to?

Each participant needs to be sufficiently trained to do a remotely supervised qualifying expedition safely and enjoyably, by completing the Bronze Expedition Training Framework. This training should not only cover the practical elements of map reading, route planning, cooking, first-aid and camping but also teach participants about time management, the countryside code/outdoor access code and the physical demands of carrying a full rucksack while walking for several hours on successive days. Offering a comprehensive programme of training, which is delivered by Leaders and completed by participants in their own time, will ensure that they are fully prepared for a two-day expedition.

In terms of expedition training, how can I ensure participants are safe?

You need to be satisfied that participants are competent to do a remotely supervised qualifying expedition and that you can demonstrate you have trained them sufficiently to achieve this. Your risk assessments should reflect all of the training that participants have had and that they are sufficiently trained in all aspects of the expedition to be able to undertake it confidently and safely.

Remember: the Supervisor must be satisfied before the start of the qualifying expedition that participants have the expedition skills and fitness levels appropriate for the qualifying expedition they are about to go on.

We already have practice expeditions booked for 2019. Shall I cancel them?

There is no need to cancel your practice expeditions; these are still a good method of training and will help to ensure your participants are fully prepared for their qualifying expedition. However, this change to the programme means that you have the option to make your expedition training more flexible in the future, adapting it to your participants’ abilities and their circumstances.

I can still see the ‘Practice Expedition’ field in eDofE. When will this be changed?

The changes to the programme rules will be reflected in eDofE before the start of the next expedition season. If you are completing an expedition out of season and eDofE has not yet been updated, you can use the following workaround as used in the trial:

Complete the ‘Practice Expedition’ field as normal but simply enter ‘1’ in the compulsory ‘Number of days’ field.

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