By: Blonde One

Most of us are not great at dealing with change; we feel that the old way was the best way. However, here’s why I think that the new Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition 20 conditions are better than the old.

You may remember that a DofE expedition, Bronze, Silver or Gold, must adhere to the 20 conditions to qualify as a practice or assessed expedition. DofE have updated them and made some improvements: especially to the Bronze Award.

  1. All members of the team must be able to describe the role they played in planning. Too often the planning, organising and route writing will get done by just a few of the team while others are ‘busy’ with other activities. In my opinion a key part of what DofE teaches children is the ability to plan and prioritise a workload. Now there is no escaping from the fact that tennis/dance/dentist etc should not necessarily take priority over planning.
  2. The aim can be set by the leader at Bronze level. This ensures that teams have an aim that is achievable while being sufficiently challenging to meet the needs of the whole team.
  3. Accommodation can now be a bunkhouse or camping barn as well as camping. This means that expeditions that might have been cancelled due to the weather might still be able to go ahead.
  4. At Bronze, the expedition assessor can be the supervisor. This has worked well for me this summer as it meant I did not have to go through the rigmarole of getting a new person to jump through the various hoops to satisfy our child protection regulations. I hesitate to give my 100% approval of this one though. If a team is in need of help/attention then it may be hard to carry out the assessor role effectively as the supervisor role will obviously take priority.
  5. Teams must possess the necessary physical fitness for complete their expedition safely. This is useful to motivate students that do not lead such an active lifestyle.
  6. Teams must adhere to the mobile phone and other electronic equipment policy as agreed by the supervisor and assessor. It is very useful to have this one in black and white. I only allow one emergency phone per team and it is often hotly debated. It is also useful to have it written down when students are caught using their phones at night when they think I do not know!
  7. Participants must behave responsibly with respect for their team members, Leaders, the public and animals. I am hoping that this one will put a stop to the squabbling/falling out that sometimes occurs when children are outside of their comfort zone.
  8. Understanding and adhering to the Countryside/Scottish Outdoor Access, Highway and Water Sports Codes is now featured on the list.
  9. Participants must actively participate in a debrief with their assessor at the end of the expedition.
  10. The after expedition presentation is now only required at Silver and Gold levels. I would imagine that if you are working with very large numbers of Bronze groups then the presentation is the last thing that you want to be chasing up?!


I am sure that any DofE Manager worth their salt will have been doing most of these things already but it is great to have the support and backing of the DofE.