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The Future of DofE in Oxfordshire

posted 24 Sep 2015, 03:27 by Peter Knight
From March 31st 2016 Oxfordshire County Council will no longer be a DofE Licensed Organisation (LO). This means that in order to continue to deliver the Award, a school or other DofE Centre currently running under the OCC licence will need to hold their own instead - that is to say, they will have to become a Directly Licensed Centre (DLC).

Many schools across the county are well on the way to becoming DLCs, and a few have already converted.

But what is going to happen to the Open Award groups, and the small Centres that have too few participants to be able to justify/afford the conversion to DLC status? And what about existing or potential participants who do not belong to existing Centres, for example young people whose school does not currently run DofE, or those who have left school/university?

Well, the long-standing volunteer organisation OXPED, which has provided open expeditions for young people from Oxfordshire for over 30 years, is proposing to take over the operating licence from OCC and become an Oxfordshire Open Award Operating Authority. Favourable discussions on this proposal have taken place between OXPED and DofE South East Region.

The new Open Award Operating Authority will be the LO for any existing Open Award group that wishes to continue as a DofE Centre, and will register participants who cannot join a DLC into an Oxfordshire-wide Open 'virtual' Centre. It is hoped that the new Operating Authority will be able to attract volunteers from across the county to help with the delivery of all aspects of the Award, with some acting as virtual Centre leaders to look after participants from their local area.

OXPED will continue to provide Open expeditions, both for participants registered with the new Operating Authority and for anybody else who is unable to join their own DLC's expedition.

Initially, as this organisation is to be volunteer-run, participant places will be limited.

Schools will not be allowed to come under the new Operating Authority; DofE South East Region has made it clear that schools must become DLCs, and if a significant number of young people from a single school come forward to apply to register with the new Operating Authority, SE Region will support the school involved in converting to DLC status.

Now, the work begins! Over the next few months the core members of OXPED will set up the necessary legal entities and processes, and apply to DofE to become a Licensed Organisation. This will take some time, but suitable new arrangements will be in place by April 1st 2016. Anybody who is willing to volunteer with the new Operating Authority is urged to contact chair@oxped.org.uk. Please also use this address, or contact Richard Aldridge, if you have any questions or concerns about this development.

Finally, this website will continue to be maintained for the benefit of all DofE activities within Oxfordshire.

Peter Knight
Chairman, OXPED

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