Making the most of the DofE in schools

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Category: Equipment

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Christmas List

Encourage your participants to think about what kit they might need to complete their Award. It might be expedition kit (rucksack, boots, etc.) or something to assist with the Physical section (a racket, running kit, etc.) and think about putting these on their Christmas list so that Santa might help them achieve their Award!

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Category: Support in school

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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.

- By The DofE

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Category: Support in school

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Seeking approval for visits

Seek approval for your expeditions early on from the Educational Visits Co-ordinator and ensure the dates don’t conflict with any other major activities (including exams, school productions, trips and exchanges).

- By The DofE

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Category: Support in school

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Raising awareness at the Governors’ Christmas meeting

Attend the Governor’s 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 the 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).

- By The DofE

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Provide a progress update to your headteacher and SMT

Update your headteacher 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 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.

- By The DofE

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Category: Volunteers

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Review your needs for volunteers

Carry out another audit of your volunteers to ensure you have individuals covering all the areas needed for the rest of the year. Request extra support from your staff if needed.

- By The DofE

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Category: Delivery

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Making sure your Leaders are using eDofE

Check eDofE to see if your Leaders have been logging in regularly and managing their alerts. Make sure there aren’t outstanding Reports or Planners awaiting approval.

- By The DofE

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Category: Positive publicity

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Include a DofE update in your pre-Christmas newsletter

If your school circulates a pre-Christmas newsletter, make sure you submit a DofE update for inclusion. It can focus not just on the expeditions, but also news on the other activities – particularly volunteering work, Awards that have been achieved, and any quotes or photographs you have.

- By The DofE

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Category: Expedition

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Sending expedition consent forms

Send out expedition consent forms well in advance of the trips, detailing the expedition area and any key information. It is worth outlining behaviour expectations and, where possible, getting agreement from the participants themselves.

- By The DofE

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Recruit parents as volunteers

Consider recruiting parents as volunteers – invite them along to ‘taster’ sessions at DofE meetings so that they can see what it’s all about.

- By The DofE

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Category: Equipment

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Arrange shared minibus training

If minibus driver training is required, join together with volunteers (in your school, or other local schools and centres) to help get a cheaper rate.

- By The DofE

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Category: Equipment

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Save money on your DofE expedition by kit sharing

Contact other local DofE groups or centres (including other schools, youth clubs, or Guiding or Scout groups) to see if they would consider sharing any expedition kit or minibuses. Approach local outdoor stores for discounted kit opportunities.

- By The DofE

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Review participants’ progress

Use eDofE to review where participants are with their programmes. Arrange a catch up with any who haven’t made progress and help to address any barriers they might be facing. Directly approve any Programme Planners and Assessor Reports as soon as they come through.

- By The DofE

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Category: Delivery, Expedition

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Add expedition data to eDofE

Input all expedition details onto your participants’ eDofE accounts, using the ‘expedition set up’ tool, so that your participants only need to enter their aims and objectives.

- By The DofE

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Showcasing participants' skills

If your participants are learning to play an instrument for their Skills section or perhaps something else that could be performed, why not encourage them to put on a Christmas performance? They could invite along other pupils, teachers and parents, and it’s a great way to raise some money for your DofE activities too. It’s also good to give them something to aim for when they’re starting out.

- By The DofE

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Category: Funding

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Help participants look for new ideas to raise money

If your participants are looking to try some more unusual activities or an expedition that’s further afield, then they could have a look at our 40 Fabulous Fundraising ideas to help raise some money. These ideas could also be used to fundraise for new kit too.

- By The DofE

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Re-engage with participants who didn’t complete

Try to re-engage with participants who didn’t manage to complete in the previous year. They might now have other more involved or supportive peers, or have developed personally to handle the additional challenge. They can use the Opportunity Finder to find opportunities for open expeditions if they missed out on the school one or they could try using an AAP.

- By The DofE

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Host drop-in sessions to support participants with eDofE

Invite participants to drop-in sessions to support them with eDofE evidence and Assessor Report uploading. Keep an eye on their ‘last login’ dates on eDofE to identify any who might be struggling. Book in sessions in the IT rooms, particularly for those who don’t have computer access at home.

- By The DofE

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Promote mentoring to Gold and Silver participants

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.

- By The DofE

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Send participants to the LifeZone for activity ideas and inspiration

If participants are struggling to think of activities, then you could suggest they take a look at the LifeZone for inspiration.

- By The DofE

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Help struggling participants find activities within the school

Participants struggling to find activities (particularly volunteering) could try looking within the school for opportunities. Examples include; ASN/learning support department, sports clubs, litter-picking, after school or lunchtime clubs, student guides or ambassadors, student mentors, music clubs, environment campaigning, youth parliament projects, reading schemes, language clubs or the school newsletter/newspaper/website editorial team. If a club isn’t in existence, your participants could set one up. Suggest to any teachers running these extra-curricular clubs that they add ‘this activity can be used for your DofE’ to their posters and sign up sheets.

- By The DofE

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