I have never done DofE before can I start now?

Yes, although there are three awards (Bronze, Silver and Gold), students at College generally do "Gold Direct" even if they have never done it before.

How long does it take?

If you have passed your Silver award the minimum it takes to do Gold is 12 months, but if you are starting Gold direct then the minimum is 18 months.  Of course, not everyone does it in this time scale as you have until you are 25 to complete the award.  In practice, it is best to try and get it done whilst you are here at College. (further details see "How Long Does it Take")

I have started my Silver already, can I finish this first before doing my Gold?

It depends on how far along you are with your Silver. If you have nearly finished you can start your Gold whilst finishing off your Silver. We will help you do this and if the only thing left for you to complete is a Silver expedition, we can look to extending one of our practices to count. The best thing is to email in (dofe@blackpoolsixth.ac.uk) or come and chat with us at college.

What is involved with the Physical section?

At Gold level, you need to regularly attend some form of programmed physical activity.  One of the College recreational activities will do, but you may already do something that you can count.  Examples include football, aerobics, swimming, Judo, golf etc (further details see Physical Activity Section)

So what is involved in the Volunteering section?

The volunteering section involves you getting involved in some activity or organisation that involves a significant element of Community Service.  Examples include:- working with children, lifeguard, Sports Leadership Coaching, helping out at Youth Clubs, Red Cross, Oxfam etc (further details see Volunteering Section)

OK, how about the Skill Section?

Like the Physical Section, you may already be doing something that could count towards this.  For the Skill, you need to be able to demonstrate an improvement in some hobby, or area of interest, which has a skill element rather than a physical element.  Examples include: learning a musical instrument, learning a language, winemaking, fishing, Young Enterprise etc (further details see Skill Section)

What’s involved in the Expedition Section?

For Gold, you have to complete a 4-day trek of approximately 80km or more in a group of about 5 or 6.  We normally do our expeditions at the end of the lower sixth year and with travelling this normally takes up 7 days in total. (further details see Expedition Section)

Can I get my dad to act as an assessor for my Driving Skill?
No, each section must have an independent assessor, if you are taking driving as your skill you should ask your driving instructor to be your assessor.

I did a Residential before I started at College can I count this as my DofE Residential?
We can backdate one section up to 3 months before you start your award with us. So, if your residential qualifies was for a minimum of 5 days and was undertaken within the 3-month window, it may be possible to count it. Check with one of the leaders.

Can I count my work experience at Farmer Parrs as volunteering?
No, Farmer Parrs is a profit making organisation and therefore cannot count as your volunteering - even if you are not getting paid. The rules of the award are that volunteering can only count if it is a charitable or not-for-profit organisation. If you are in any doubt about the suitability of your volunteering, come and talk to us or email. See Contact Us.

Why do we need 3 practice expeditions?
In our experience, even quite active students who have done a fair amount of walking and even completed their silver expedition, benefit from 3 practices. The Gold expedition is a big step up and our expeditions are in very remote places such as the Scottish Highlands. As supervisors of expeditions, we have to be absolutely certain that our students are fully trained and able to complete their venture safely. It is hard and we do not want it to be an ordeal. The best way of ensuring your expedition is both rewarding and enjoyable is for you to be fit and well trained. Each practice is designed to develop specific skills and each notch up in terms of difficulty.

I have heard that DofE Gold gives you UCAS points towards entry to higher education. Is this true?
No, that is a myth that seems to be flying around. Universities do, however, highly value the Gold Award and you should always put it down on your personal statement. It will be taken into account when they are making their decisions and can often make the difference to them giving you an offer or not.