Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I check my progress?
Your progress is logged on eDofE (https://www.edofe.org/). Your username will usually be FirstnameSurname and your password is initially your date of birth (DDMMYYYY). If you have changed your password and cannot remember it, try resetting it using the forgotten password link. If you still can’t log in, contact the DofE Administrator (Beck Hemsley).
- I have forgotten my eDofE login details
Your username will usually be FirstnameSurname and your password is initially your date of birth (DDMMYYYY). If you have changed your password and cannot remember it, try resetting it using the forgotten password link. If you still can’t log in, contact the DofE Administrator (Beck Hemsley).
- Can I do Silver/Gold without having done the previous level?
Yes, you can. You will need to meet the age requirements. We also need to be confident (particularly for Gold) that you have suitable training, fitness and experience to undertake the expedition, which can be a real challenge for even experienced hikers and campers. If you wish to enter a level directly, we would appreciate having a conversation with you to make sure we're happy and you’re comfortable with what the award entails.
- Can I start Silver/Gold if I am still working on my previous level?
If you want to move onto another level (e.g. Silver or Gold) then you will need to have completed at least one section of the previous award to be able to start the next award. You will also need to have completed (and have approved) the relevant section in order to begin that section in the new award (e.g. to start volunteering for Gold you will need to have completed your volunteering section on Silver).
- Is ‘X’ activity suitable for my physical/skills/volunteering/residential section?
Firstly, you should read through the information pages on the DofE website (https://www.dofe.org/do/sections/). This should help you understand the rules and requirements of the sections. If you’re still not sure, you can add the section onto eDofE and submit it for approval. The DofE Administrator (Beck Hemsley) will need to check that the activity is suitable before approving it. If there are any issues, they will contact you about them (probably through eDofE).
- How long do I have to complete the award?
Technically, you have until you are aged 25 to complete each award. However, we encourage you to aim to complete the award as soon as you can. We will give you targets to complete one or more of your sections before your practice or qualifier expeditions. That said, you don’t necessarily have to undertake all of your sections simultaneously – it is a lot to ask, and you can work through it at your own pace.
Be aware that if you want to move onto another level (e.g. Silver or Gold) then you will need to have completed at least one section of the previous award to be able to start the next award. You will also need to have completed (and have approved) the relevant section in order to begin that section in the new award (e.g. to start volunteering for Gold you will need to have completed your volunteering section on Silver).
- When will I receive my certificate? Why haven’t I received my certificate?
There are a number of stages to check your award before you can receive your certificate. Once all of your sections are complete and you have submitted them, they will need to be checked and approved by the DofE Administrator (Beck Hemsley). If there are problems, you will see a query on your account and you will need to resolve those problems and re-submit your award. Your award is then sent to the award Verifier (Riannah Brooke). Your eDofE account should say ‘submitted to LO’. Once again, if there are problems then you will see a query and will need to resolve them before re-submitting. Once the Verifier is happy, for Bronze and Silver, they will be able to print off your certificate. You should see that your award is marked as complete on your eDofE account. You should receive your certificate at the next Celebration Assembly.
For the Gold Award, there is an additional layer of verification. Our Verifier will send the award to the Regional verification team. Once again, if there are problems you will get queries, and you will need to resolve them. When your award is complete, you will be able to book a date to receive your certificate from the palace. Our Verifier will ensure that you receive your badge – if you are still in school, this will be at the next Celebration Assembly.
If you are concerned that you should have received your certificate, check your progress on eDofE. This should tell you what stage your award is at, and if there are any queries. If it says that your award is complete, contact the Verifier (Riannah Brooke).
- What does the fee pay for?
The school does not make any profit from the DofE fees, and the school's DofE staff (Manager and Administrator) are not paid for out of your fees. The fees will change every year; for an up-to-date breakdown of the fees you should look at the ABOUT Page.
Your fees cover:
- Your DofE Welcome Pack (this includes your eDofE account and certificate and is required to participate in the award)
- Expedition fees (this is the largest cost and covers the fees of the qualified leaders/assessors)
- Transport and campsite fees
- Equipment hire (including tents, trangias, gas canisters, compasses, maps, rucksacks, rollmats, and waterproof trousers as required)
- What are the dates/details for my expedition?
- What happens if I can’t attend a practice or qualifier expedition?
You need to undertake both the practice and qualifier expeditions in order to complete your award. There are specific requirements for these expeditions, so general camping/hiking experience is not enough. If you are not able to attend an expedition, you need to contact us as soon as possible. There are options available - you could wait and undertake the expedition the following year, or you could go on an 'open expedition'. These are expeditions run by approved providers (we use First4Adventure) and are open for anybody to attend. You would be put in a team with a group of other individuals from different places and schools and would undertake your expedition with them. This option would be slightly more expensive, as the school has a discounted price when booking expeditions. You would need to pay First4Adventure directly for the expedition, and then we could adjust our fees accordingly if we are given enough warning.
- What happens if I can’t attend a training or route planning day?
We need to be certain that you have had sufficient training in order to undertake the expedition safely. Route planning is one of the twenty conditions of your expedition, which means you cannot fulfil the expedition requirements without sufficiently planning your route. If you cannot attend a training day or route planning day, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your options.
- Can I do my expedition on horseback/bicycle/sailing?
We are not able to offer horseback/cycling/sailing expeditions through our Expedition Provider. If you want to undertake an expedition using another means of transport, you would need to identify an ‘open expedition’ with another provider. This would mean that you would not undertake the expedition section through the school, although you would still have the school support for the other sections of your award. If you do not undertake the expedition through the school, your fees would be adjusted accordingly and you would have to pay the ‘open expedition’ provider directly. If you want to do this, you must contact us as soon as possible, as it will affect the groups for our school expedition and the numbers that we give to our Expedition Provider (and therefore the fees they charge us).
How many hours do I need to spend on each section?
The DofE is not about the total number of hours, but about a regular ongoing commitment. Ideally, you should aim to do your activity for an hour every week for the full time period. It might be acceptable to do two hours every fortnight, but you could not, for example, do a couple of eight hour days and call it done! The idea is to enable you to grow and progress over the time you spend on the activity. Please remember that your Assessor's report should confirm that you attended regularly, and ideally it should state how often and for how long.
What is an Assessor, and what should be included in an Assessor's report?
For each section, you will need to find an adult to be your Assessor. This cannot be a family member, and needs to be someone with whom you can discuss your progress. Ideally, they should have an understanding of the activity - e.g. a coach for football or a food tech teacher for baking. They will then write the Assessor's report at the end of your activity. These reports are required for the completion of the award. You can find more information about Assessors here: https://www.dofe.org/do/assessors/
Your Assessor's report should include:
- Your name;
- The start and end date of your activities (make sure it covers the full time period);
- Confirmation that you undertook the activity regularly, e.g. one hour every week or two hours every fortnight;
- The date they are writing the report (this must be after you have finished);
- Some commentary on your progress and what you achieved during that time.