General DofE Information
The DofE Mission and Guiding Principles
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 the DofE YouTube Channel (click on Videos or Playlists).
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.
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.
The minimum age to achieve a Bronze Award is no longer 14 years 6 months - an award may be achieved once all the sections have been completed as per the above timescales.
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.
The minimum age to achieve a Silver Award is no longer 15 years 6 months - an award may be achieved once all the sections have been completed as per the above timescales.
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.
New Expedition Requirements will come into force from November 2023.
Until then, all qualifying expeditions must adhere to the following 20 Conditions:
Planning the expedition
1. The team must plan and organise the expedition; all members of the team should be able to describe the role they have played in planning.
2. The expedition must have an aim. The aim can be set by the Leader at Bronze level only.
3. All participants must be within the qualifying age of the programme level and at the same Award level (i.e. not have completed the same or higher level of expedition).
4. There must be between four and seven participants in a team (eight for modes of travel which have tandem).
5. The expedition should take place in the recommended environment.
Bronze: Expeditions should be in normal rural countryside – familiar and local to groups.
Silver: Expeditions should be in normal rural, open countryside or forest – unfamiliar to groups.
Gold: Expeditions should be in wild country (remote from habitation) which is unfamiliar to groups.
6. Accommodation must be by camping or other simple self-catering accommodation (e.g. camping barns or bunkhouses).
7. The expedition must be of the correct duration and meet the minimum hours of planned activity.
Bronze: A minimum of 2 days, 1 night; 6 hours planned activity each day.
Silver: A minimum of 3 days, 2 nights; 7 hours planned activity each day.
Gold: A minimum of 4 days, 3 nights; 8 hours planned activity each day.
8. All expeditions must be supervised by an adult (the Expedition Supervisor) who is able to accept responsibility for the safety of the team.
9. Assessment must be by an accredited Assessor. At Bronze level only, the Assessor may also be the Expedition Supervisor.
10. Expeditions will usually take place between the end of March and the end of October. They may take place outside this period, if so, non-camping accommodation options should be considered.
Training and practice
11. Participants must be adequately trained to safely undertake a remotely supervised expedition in the environment in which they will be operating.
Bronze: Teams must complete the required training.
Silver: Teams must complete the required training and a practice expedition of a minimum 2 days, 2 nights.
Gold: Teams must complete the required training and a practice expedition of a minimum 2 days, 2 nights.
During the expedition
12. All expeditions must be by the participants’ own physical effort, without motorised or outside assistance. Mobility aids may be used where appropriate to the needs of the participant.
13. All expeditions must be unaccompanied and self-sufficient. The team must be properly equipped, and supervision must be carried out remotely.
14. Teams must possess the necessary physical fitness, first aid and expedition skills required to complete their expedition safely.
15. Groups must adhere to a mobile phone use policy as agreed with their Expedition Supervisor and Assessor. This agreement should also include use of other electronic equipment.
16. Participants must behave responsibly with respect for their team members, Leaders, the public and animals.
17. Groups must understand and adhere to the Countryside /Scottish Outdoor Access, Highway and Water Sports Codes (as appropriate).
18. Participants must plan an appropriate expedition menu, including cooking and eating a substantial hot meal on each day. This is optional on the final day.
19. Participants must actively participate in a debrief with their Assessor at the end of the expedition.
20. At Silver and Gold level, a presentation must be prepared and delivered after the expedition.
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.
A document summarising the variations guidelines may be downloaded from the DofE website.