By: Blonde One

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award - Wikipedia       

Since schools have been closed you might wonder how those children doing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award are faring. Obviously lots of the volunteering, skill and physical section activities can no longer continue, never mind the expedition! The DofE, in their normal efficient way, have responded quickly and sensibly to this situation. Many activities have been changed in my school so that participants can continue with their sections. Visiting the gym or swimming pool have been changed to local walking or jogging. Many of our students have taken up new skills whilst they’ve been at home anyway. There are now lots of artists, chefs and bakers in our midst. The volunteering section is perhaps the hardest one to achieve but the DofE have provided a list of new types of volunteering that can be done online for instance.

The expedition section is impossible at the moment but DofE have introduced some new initiatives to help this section to get underway as soon as it is possible. For instance the Gold and Silver environment can now be local to the participant instead of wild country. As with all of the new measures, this is a welcome change and won’t impact on the value of the expedition. The team will be able to camp at school for instance which will increase the likelihood of being able to safely camp in solo tents.

The Award have introduced a 2020 Certificate of Achievement to recognise those students that have finished all three of their sections but are unable to complete the expedition at this time. This will allow them to progress to the next level as if they had finished. If the expedition goes ahead in the future they can then they can go on to achieve the full Award. This, to me, is the best change that DofE have introduced and some students will benefit hugely from this new certificate.

All of the new expedition measures from DofE will need to be considered in light of individual situations. One size definitely won’t fit all but at least there is enough flexibility for schools to begin considering some plans for later this year.