General DofE Information

The DofE Mission and Guiding Principles

Our Mission

To inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and recognise their achievements.

Our Guiding Principles

At the DofE we strive to achieve our mission through personal development programmes and the assessment and presentation of Awards.

All our programmes are driven by the following ten guiding principles, which are at the heart of everything we do:

1: Non-competitive
A DofE programme is a personal challenge and not a competition against others. Every participant’s programme is tailor-made to reflect their individual starting point, abilities and interests.

2: Achievable by all
A Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is achievable by any young person who chooses to take up its challenge, regardless of ability, gender, background or location.

3: Voluntary
Whilst DofE programmes may be offered within school, college, work time, custody or extra-curricular activity, young people choose to do a programme and commit some of their free time to undertake their activities.

4: Personal development
A DofE programme inspires personal and social development. The value to young people is dependent on personal commitment, the learning process and the quality of the experience.

5: Personalised
Young people design their own programme, which can be tailored to suit their personal circumstances, choices and local provision. They start at whichever level suits them best and they can take as long as they wish (within the age limits) to achieve an Award.

6: Balanced
Our aim is to ensure that participants experience development of the whole person; mind, body and soul. By undertaking activities focusing on at least four different aspects of development, young people complete a balanced and wide-ranging programme.

7: Progressive
At each level of engagement, a DofE programme demands progressively more time, commitment and responsibility from the participant.

8: Achievement focused
Before starting an activity, young people are encouraged to set their own challenging goals. If they aim for these goals and show improvement they will achieve a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

9: Demand commitment
A DofE programme demands persistence and commitment and cannot be completed with a short burst of enthusiasm. Participants are encouraged to continue with activities and to maintain their interest beyond their programme requirements.

10: Enjoyable
Young people and Leaders should find participation enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding.


A large number of resources relating to eDofE may be downloaded from the DofE website.

eDofE Help Videos

A number of videos have been made by the DofE to help Co-ordinators, Leaders and participants perform various actions within eDofE. These videos are available from both of the following locations:

eDofE Evidence Guidelines

A set of guidelines has been written to clarify the requirements for evidence submitted by participants and their assessors on eDofE. The guidelines document may be downloaded from the bottom of this page.

Periods of participation within the DofE levels

The following section lists the age requirements and minimum time periods allowed at each level of the DofE. Further details are available from the DofE website.

Remember, you have until your 25th birthday to achieve your DofE Award.

Activities for each DofE section take a minimum of one hour a week over a set period of time, so they can be fitted in around academic study, hobbies and social lives. Development and regular progress must be shown.

Bronze Award

Participants may start their Bronze DofE programme when they enter the school year in which they turn 14 (this is usually year 9).

You cannot achieve a Bronze Award in less than six months.

  • Volunteering: 3 months
  • Physical: 3 months
  • Skills: 3 months
  • Expedition: Plan, train for and complete a 2 day, 1 night expedition

Participants must undertake a further 3 months in the Volunteering, Physical or Skills section.

Silver Award

Participants may start their Silver DofE programme when they enter the school year in which they turn 15 (this is usually year 10).

You cannot achieve a Silver Award in less than six months (or 12 months if you have not achieved Bronze first).

  • Volunteering: 6 months
  • Physical/Skills: 6 months in one, 3 months in the other
  • Expedition: Plan, train for and complete a 3 day, 2 night expedition

Direct entrants (those who have not achieved a Bronze Award) must undertake a further six months in the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills section.

Gold Award

You may not start your Gold Award until your 16th birthday - no exceptions.

You cannot achieve a Gold Award in less than 12 months (or 18 months if you have not completed Silver).

  • Volunteering: 12 months
  • Physical/Skills: 12 months in one, 6 months in the other
  • Expedition: Plan, train for and complete a 4 day, 3 night expedition
  • Residential: Undertake a shared activity in a residential setting away from home for 5 days and 4 nights

Direct entrants (those who have not achieved a Silver Award) must undertake a further 6 months in the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills section.

The 20 Conditions of the Expedition Section

All qualifying expeditions must adhere to the following 20 Conditions:
  1. * Your expedition must be by your own physical effort, without any motorised or outside assistance.
  2. * Your expedition must be unaccompanied and self-sufficient.
  3. Your expedition must be supervised by an adult who is able to accept responsibility for the safety of the team.
  4. Your expedition must have an aim.
  5. You must be properly equipped for your expedition.
  6. You must have completed the required training and practice expeditions.
  7. You must undertake at least one practice expedition at each level of the programme, in the same mode of travel and in a similar environment to the qualifying expedition.
  8. * You and your team must plan and organise your expedition.
  9. You must be assessed by an approved accredited Assessor.
  10. * There must be between four and seven people in your team (eight people may be in a team for modes of travel which are tandem).
  11. You must be within the qualifying age of the DofE programme level.
  12. * All the people in your team must be at the same level of assessment.
  13. * Your team must not include anyone who has completed the same or higher level DofE expedition.
  14. Your overnight accommodation should be camping.
  15. Your expedition must be of the correct duration.
  16. Your expedition should normally take place between the end of March and the end of October.
  17. Your expedition should be in the recommended environment for your DofE level.
  18. You must meet the minimum hours of planned daily activity for your DofE level.
  19. You should cook and eat at least one substantial meal each day.
  20. You must prepare and deliver a presentation after your expedition to complete the section.
Don't forget that all your team must meet these conditions!

If you or one of your team have individual needs that mean one or more of the above conditions cannot be met, then you can apply for a variation to these conditions to enable you or them to participate in their DofE expedition. Your DofE Leader/Supervisor will help advise you if this is the case.

* Variations to these conditions must be submitted to the DofE Head Office as a variation request and will only be considered in highly exceptional circumstances.

A document summarising the variations guidelines may be downloaded from the DofE website (look for 'Variations guidelines' just under '20 conditions of the Expedition section')