Duke of Edinburgh - Sections
There are four sections within a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (five sections at Gold level) and by choosing one activity within each section you are beginning your own unique personal journey through a balanced and wide-ranging programme. You can choose from a variety of clubs in school or choose activities that are on offer outside school – but they must be extra-curricular activities.
DofE is a marathon, not a sprint, and participants commit to spending an hour per week of their spare time on each section, over a significant timescale:
- Bronze level – 3 months per section with one section extended to 6 months
- Silver level – 6 months per section with the physical or skill section reduced to 3 months. (Direct entrants who have not completed Bronze level must increase one section to 12 months).
- Gold level – 12 months per section with the physical or skill section reduced to 6 months. (Direct entrants who have not completed Silver level must increase once section to 18 months).
Sections do not all have to be undertaken at the same time.
Participants should discuss what they wish to do for a section, identify a suitable teacher or qualified adult to act as their assessor, decide on their own personal goals and then make a start. At the end of the timescale, adding extra time if weeks are missed for holidays, the assessor should write a lovely report about the achievements, progress made or help given by the young person.
Click on each section heading to read more about the variety of activities possible for each section, as well as a list of suggestions from the eDofE website.
Participants can choose from a variety of activities within school: SVP (helping in the prep school), VSU (visiting the local special needs group), CCF leadership, sports leadership, Mother Theresa group, chaplaincy team work – and more.
The one thing that the activities have in common is a sense of service to the community around you or helping others less fortunate than yourself.
Outside school there are a huge variety of opportunities for volunteering activities: charity shops, animal rescue centres, church work, environmental groups – and many more.
Participants can choose from a variety of activities within school: team sport, fitness in the school gym, swimming club, golf to name the most common choices. Most pupils already commit their time to representing their school team every weekend so this is an ideal choice for this section.
There are many more possibilities available outside school and the one thing that the activities have in common is the improvement in fitness levels that participants will experience. Choices that Ratcliffe participants have made in the past include wakeboarding, cycling, horseriding, ballroom dancing, climbing, karate and many more.
Participants can choose from a variety of activities within school: drama, music, photography, art (must be extra-curricular not studies related prep), spitfire club, pets corner, French film club, cookery club, reading novels, Go4SET – and many more.
There are a huge variety of opportunities outside school as most hobbies that are not sports would fit into the skills section somehow. There should be an element of learning or improvement in skills involved in this section. There may or may not also be a qualification such as a grade examination in piano.
Participants plan towards and then undertake several unaccompanied, self-reliant journeys in a group. At Bronze level we use local countryside (Rutland and Leicestershire), at Silver level we go to more remote areas (southern Peak District and Shropshire Hills) and at Gold level we journey into ‘wild country’ (northern Peak District, Brecon Beacons and Dartmoor). Participants begin working more closely with a staff member but by the time of their assessed expedition they are ready to journey unaccompanied with just spot checks from leaders.
Participants undertake a shared activity, away from home, with people they have never met before for a minimum of 5 days and 4 nights. The requirements for this section are very detailed so it is essential to check your plan with Mr Cole (in charge of Gold) before booking anything to ensure that your choice is valid for this section.
Examples of residential activities that participants have gone on in the past include outward bound courses, residential cookery courses, headstart courses at university etc
When they register for a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, participants receive a unique login to the national database so that they can record their choices and their progress. They also receive a pack containing blank report proformas and other information. Year 9 participants will join a small group during one form time to learn how to use the system and discuss ideas about what they can choose for their DofE programme. Older pupils should attend a drop-in session to learn how to use eDofE – every Thursday lunchtime, second half of lunch in CR2.
Once participants have made a start, they can drop in whenever they have a question or need some help or ideas.
The process for working through a section on eDofE is:
- Complete the programme planner information (draft form)
- Submit the programme planner and have it approved (in progress)
- Upload an assessor report and then, finally, submit the section. I am then able to record the section as completed.
Once all of the sections have been completed, the award can be forwarded electronically requesting final approval from the official independent verifier. (At Gold level final approval is also required from Central England DofE)
The assessor report can be done as a paper report using the proforma in the participant pack or the assessor can submit their report online through the assessor portal if they know the participant’s eDofE number. https://edofe.org/Assessor