All Levels Pathway

The Award can now be started at:

  • Bronze: the beginning of the school year in which you turn 14 – usually Yr 9

  • Silver: the beginning of the school year in which you turn 15 – usually Yr 10

  • Gold: your 16th birthday

Direct entry to Silver or Gold is possible at the appropriate age. You’d do 6 months more on one of the longer sections than someone who had achieved the level below. See timescales here.

Enrolments, started elsewhere, can be transferred into a new Centre to continue. Please make sure eDofE sections are up to date though before changing!

Two levels can be worked on at the same time so long as the same section at the level below has been finished.

How do I get started?

First stop is to find your nearest DofE centre.  It may be in your school, college, university, youth group or company. Have a look here to see where they are under Dorset’s operating licence.

Or, you may want to join our Virtual Centre – Dorset Independents. With a Virtual Centre you don’t need to attend any meetings other than an initial workshop and when you are doing your Expedition.

16+ can Go for Gold. 

You can choose what you want to do and when you want to do it. Bear in mind that there might be organisational parameters, to taking part, which you’ll need to clarify with the Centre leader. This is a chance for you to gain new experiences, give yourself an edge over the competition and develop yourself in ways that employers and universities are hungry for.

What’s it all about?

You design your own programme and do an activity for each section, regularly over the agreed time period, for an average of at least an hour a week. You have until your 25th birthday to achieve a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. See timescales here.

Why should I do DofE?

The United Learning Trust showed that UK employers valued the DofE the most after national qualifications – even more than work experience. It’s also a great way to boost your confidence, learn leadership skills and most importantly, it’s a lot of fun.

The activities

These are detailed for each section on the programme ideas sheet and in your Welcome Pack. Please adhere to the lists carefully as mistakes can be costly in terms of both time and money! This is why checking them out with your leader by sending plans to be approved on edofe is so important.


A chance to help your community, from coaching or teaching, to fundraising for a charity – you can make a difference to an individual or group. See suggestions on our Volunteering for Participants page.


Sport, dance, martial arts, even the gym, anything that will get you active and improve your fitness. Find out more here.


Learn a new skill or develop existing talents.  Use your driving lessons or make some music; the sky’s the limit. Find out more here.


There are always three stages to your Expedition: Training; Practice, and then a qualifying adventurous journey under assessment in the UK or abroad with other participants in a team. Expeditions must be undertaken with your Centre or an Approved Activity Provider or Dorset County Council – Gold only – Find out more here. Expeditions incur an additional cost

See the DofE opportunity finder for information on all of the Expeditions available nationally.

Residential (Gold only)

Take part in a shared activity away from home with peers that you don’t know, working at the same level of responsibility towards the same objectives.  It could be a conservation project, a language course or helping at a kid’s activity camp. There are specific criteria you must fulfil, see the guide here, but the opportunities are wide ranging in all respects, including cost. Find out more here.

Dorset offers amazing and unique Residentials 

Ancient Technology at the ATC, in Cranborne. Link here

Field Studies at Leeson House, Langton Matravers. Link here

More information about what each OE Centre can offer is found here.

The DofE Opportunity Finder continuously lists many more DofE residentials here, where opportunities can be filtered as you wish: cost, area type etc . Potential choices must be agreed by the County Manager and an application form is to be found here.

Once you’ve found your Centre or decide to join Dorset Independents

You’ll need to enrol here and pay a one off DofE participation fee plus an extra charge for the Council’s admin/support for each level undertaken. It is important to confirm exactly what monies are expected, when by the Centre. All of the Centres have to pay their own costs associated with siting and administering a DofE group which might be levied against the Pack or as a yearly sub.

The total payment for the Welcome pack per Participant from the Centre to The Award and DC from April 1st 2018 will be

  • Gold £46 (£29 + £17)
  • Silver/Bronze £36 (£22 + £14)

More information about the Welcome Pack and the eDofE account is found here

Congratulations, you’re now a DofE participant!

What happens next?

  • eDofE is where you plan, log and evidence your progress through your DofE programme. It is where your Leader checks what you are doing, then approves when you’ve completed your activity in each section after you’ve uploaded an assessor report yourself or had one submitted online by your assessor.
    • Since 2009/10 all new Awards have had to be fully planned and completed online by the Participant.
    • Here is a 10 Step guide to help you do that.
    • Here are video guides – 2, 5 and 6 are for you – at least!

REMINDER!! Tell your Leader about your plans and/or submit them on eDofE so that you don’t waste time on activities which won’t count or don’t fit into the right section.  Once everything is agreed and in place you’re ready to start your adventure.  Good luck and have fun!

Help. We work closely with the John Thornton Young Achiever’s Foundation to support young people enrolled through Dorset Council to achieve more than family funds could usually support. The form to apply on can be found HERE. Applications must be accompanied by a supporting statement from a DofE leader and sent to the DofE Award Manager: Outdoor Education, Dorset Council, Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset. DT11XJ