How to get started

Welcome to RGS DofE! You’ve enrolled in the DofE Award, how do you start?

This page tells you how to start DofE.

For tips on Lockdown activities please see individual section pages for lots of ways to KEEP GOING with your DofE. Talk to your assessors to work out ways to start or carry on through lockdown.

Follow these instructions carefully.

  1. GET your activities sorted!
  2. FIND an adult to be your Assessor for each section and talk to them!
  3. REGISTER your activities on eDofE!
  4. START! Keep evidence of your regular participation.
  5. How do I start the EXPEDITION section?
  6. Other Frequently Asked Questions.

Organising your DofE to make a good start is very important. Follow these instructions to get it right…

  1. GET your activities sorted!
  • Find out what you need to do for each section: READ these pages on SKILL, VOLUNTEERING and PHYSICAL. For Gold only also read RESIDENTIAL.
  • Read the Welcome Pack when it arrives at your house. It has more useful details. Enrolled participants automatically receive one. Please keep your Welcome Pack safe, there are no spares available (though you can download a copy here). If you don’t receive a Welcome Pack then contact school, it may mean you have not been enrolled for some reason.
  • Stuck for ideas or short of opportunities due to Covid? There are lots of ideas on the pages linked above for each section.
  • Check that your proposed activities count in the DofE rules: ask staff! 
  1. FIND an adult to be your Assessor for each section and TALK to them! 
  • Before you start anything: find a *suitable adult (sorry, not parents) and ask them to be your ASSESSOR.  Ask them like this: “I am doing XYZ activity for my DofE skill/volunteering/physical, please will you be my DofE assessor?”
  • If they agree (most do!), talk to them about your activity goals to structure what you are doing: discuss your targets, times and dates.
  • Show them the assessor guidance notes from your Welcome Pack which explains what they do. You can download a copy here for each section.
  • Agree with your assessor how you will log evidence of progress e.g log of dates, a diary, portfolio, photos, certificates etc
  • Add details about what you agree with your assessor to your eDofE section page.
  • Talk to your assessor about how they will need to write a report about your progress and achievements at the end on edofe when you both agree you have finished.
  • You need to find an assessor for each section: skill, volunteering and physical activity.

*”Suitable adult” means someone suitable who is an expert or is qualified to help you develop in your chosen activity. They should be willing to monitor and assess your progress and they should write a comment at the end.

Examples of assessors include:

Your piano teacher, your football coach, your Aunty who is a qualified chef and enthusiastic about your cooking, the leader of local Beavers or Scouts.

Asking an adult to be your assessor is critical to start your DofE properly. Please do NOT start activities until you have gone through the instructions above with your assessor, structured your activity and agreed everything. Unfortunately, if you proceed with an activity without securing an assessor then you may not be able to pass the section.

Ask if you have any problems finding assessors.

3. REGISTER your activities on eDofE!

  • Download the edofe app
  • Login to eDofE: on a pc or your phone: add section details, dates and contact emails/numbers for all your assessors.
  • Choose the correct time scales: for Bronze do one activity for 6 months, two others for 3 months (3,3,6); for Silver (having finished Bronze) this is 6,6,3 and for Gold the timescales are 12,12,6.
  • Submit each activity for approval on eDofE (please do not leave as draft).
  • CHECK YOUR ACTIVITIES ARE APPROVED, contact DofE office if they are queried…a query means something is wrong and wont be accepted, so please come and sort this out with us as soon as you can.
  1. Start! Keep evidence.
  • Start your activity and follow it regularly for the correct timescale (Bronze shown above).
  • Follow activities for an hour each week.  Some activities be more suitable to do for a longer session every few weeks which is OK e.g. conservation or charity shop work but keep a diary.
  • Whatever you do keep a log of dates and other EVIDENCE of your sessions and upload to edofe either at the end or, better still, as you go along.
  • Evidence can be photos, certificates, a diary or log of dates and activities/progress, portfolio of evidence (food/craft/evaluation of progress etc)…anything that shows you followed your activity regularly and made progress to the goals and targets discussed with your assessors.
  • Deadline to complete Bronze is February half term in 4th
  • At RGS you must finish Bronze if you want to do SILVER. Silver enrolment usually starts in December or January

What about gaps in activities for holidays or illness?

  • If you miss a week or two then this time must be added to the end.
  • Keep a list of dates and build evidence of your participation so that you can scan it into edofe.
  • Some activities take all day and cannot be done meaningfully in one hour a week. e.g. charity shop volunteering or wildlife conservation etc.  You can do these for a day every other week, for example, and this arrangement will count towards your DofE. It must still be regular and over the full timescale.

5. How do I start the EXPEDITION section?

Other pages on this website deal with expeditions in more detail, from food to camping to navigation. However, in summary…

  1. Attend all expedition training sessions and plan your expedition by the deadline.
  2. Finish and pass a minimum of TWO expeditions.
  3. Return all borrowed KIT to the kit store PERSONALLY.
  4. Write your expedition presentation REPORT and scan it into your edofe expedition page as evidence (not assessor report).
  5. Complete eDofE aims/goals and objectives for your expedition.

Other FAQs…

Can I squeeze 6 months of activity into 3 months if I do 2 hours a week?

NO. The timescales are minimum 1 hour per week for 3 or 6 or 12 months depending on award.  You must do your activity regularly over the full period of time. Some activities need to be undertaken for longer periods of time but must still be regular over the full timescale… e.g. charity shop or conservation work for a day every few weeks for 6 months. Talk to your assessor about sensible arrangements.

Do activities count if my assessor isn’t there to see my progress every time?

  • Your assessor needs to be involved with your progress, especially at the outset by discussing targets and goals. Depending on your activity the assessor does not necessarily always have to be present. Some activities can be done individually and progress shown through means such as photographic evidence or showing results of your work directly. On the other hand, a sports coach would have to be present to verify and see your progress.

What evidence do I need to keep while I do my activities?

  • You should keep EVIDENCE showing your progress and upload it to edofe. Everyone should keep a diary or log of activity and upload this as standard to show progress.
  • For practical activities, like knitting or origami, your progress is easy to record and assess with updates of progress. For individual academic or skills-based activities e.g. learning magic, juggling, music appreciation, the outcome should be recorded as you progress to a final goal or project or certificate. 
  • For sport, you can keep a log of dates, training goals and match reports. Either way, some evidence should be presented to your assessor and uploaded to eDofE, either along the way or at the end.
  • For volunteering it is sometimes not appropriate to take photos but you should still keep a diary / log of your activity as evidence.
  • Assessors should not sign you up or be asked to sign you up unless they agree you have finished and you can show clear evidence of regular commitment and completion.

What happens with activities that end too soon, can I change activity?

  • Try to do the same activity for the whole duration: the point is to progress and show improvement towards your goals. You can change activity but it is better to pick an activity that can be sustained or adapted in agreement with your assessor.
  • For example, if your chosen sport season is too short, then continue with training like gym work, winter nets or targeted fitness programme that you agree with your assessor/coach. You can keep evidence of this and upload to edofe to show regular commitment and progress. Keep going.

How do I finish DofE Award sections?

When do I have to finish my Award by?

The usual target is to finish your Award by February half term to March. Deadlines are issued each year to complete Bronze, Silver and Gold and have your award received at the school presentation in April.

Do I have to finish Bronze to start Silver and finish Silver to start Gold?

Yes.  At RGS you must complete each previous award to start the next higher award.  If you have any problems and need an extension then please contact the dofe office.

Where do I get help for each section?

For more information please READ these pages on SKILL, VOLUNTEERING and PHYSICAL and Expeditions. For Gold only also read RESIDENTIAL.

Contact DofE staff at school if you need more help.