Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expeditions guidance

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expeditions guidance

: Adventure activities : Leadership roles : Legal considerations : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Overseas visits : Policies : Residential visits : Risk management NewsBlog

Outdoor education information that is specific to DofE expeditions

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) aims to give young people the chance to develop skills for work and life, fulfil their potential, and have a brighter future. The DofE website has details on all aspects of the Award.

There are two specific OEAP National Guidance documents that are relevant to DofE expeditions:-

  1. 7.1b Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expeditions
  2. 7.1k Unaccompanied Expeditions

The Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) produces National Guidance, which provides comprehensive support for the management of high-quality outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities.

7.1b Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expeditions

To complete their DofE, whether at Bronze, Silver or Gold level, participants are expected to complete an unaccompanied expedition, where a group operates independently of leaders (although supervised remotely by them). In order to safely and successfully complete this, a thorough programme of training is needed, including practice expeditions, until the participants are ready to operate unaccompanied.

This document covers:-

  • Safety Management of DofE Expeditions
    • DofE
    • Licensed Organisation
    • DofE Centre
    • The Employer
    • Assessor
    • Approved Activity Provider (AAP)
  • DofE and Adventure Activity Licensing
  • DofE Expeditions Overseas.

7.1k Unaccompanied Expeditions

Any organisation or establishment considering offering young people the opportunity of completing unaccompanied expeditions should ensure that it understands the commitment in terms of staffing levels and staff competence that this requires. A comprehensive programme of staff training is likely to be necessary. However, the rewards, both for the participants and the staff, can be tremendous.

This document covers:-

  • Using External Providers
  • Adventure Activity Licensing
  • Training, Planning and Preparation
  • Supervision During Expeditions
  • Methods of Remote Supervision
  • Roles and Responsibilities during Expeditions
    • Expedition Supervisor
    • Group Supervisor
    • Assistant Leader, Helper
  • Leader Competence
    • Training
    • First Aid
    • Camping Stoves
    • Group Supervisor Leadership Qualifications
  • Staff Ratios for Unaccompanied Expeditions.

The downloads also contains direct links a variety of other supporting OEAP National Guidance documents.


Download OEAP National Guidance document 7.1b Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expeditions »

Download OEAP National Guidance document 7.1k Unaccompanied Expeditions »

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Outdoor education guidance – the importance of the basics

Outdoor education guidance – the importance of the basics

: Adventure activities : Leadership roles : Management and supervision : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Policies : Residential visits : Risk management NewsBlog

How to make safety and success more likely

Good practice, in terms of what happens on any particular visit can be quite subjective, because it depends so much on the aims and the context.

“Good practice does not guarantee safety or success, but it does make them more likely.”

So begins the OEAP NG guidance document 4.3a Good practice basics, which is the perfect introduction to many of the most important principles of safe and meaningful learning outside the classroom. It’s particularly relevant for educational visit co-ordinators, heads and managers, visit leaders and assistant leaders and outdoor education advisers.

The Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) produces National Guidance, which provides comprehensive support for the management of high-quality outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities.

“Good practice is fundamentally about getting the right leaders doing the right activities with the right participants in the right places at the right times” says the document, which covers the following category example of good practice:-

  • Enabling Policies and Systems
  • Clear Aims
  • Competent and Effective Leadership
  • Thorough Planning
  • Proportionate Risk Management
  • Effective Supervision
  • Sound Selection and Use of Providers
  • Preparation for Emergencies
  • Monitoring
  • Review and Evaluation

“Risk management is not about eliminating risk altogether – it is about reducing it as low as reasonably practicable and deciding if this is acceptable so as to gain the benefits.”

Further useful reading

Recommended good practice basics next steps include:-

There are also links to many other supporting OEAP National Guidance documents.

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Essential reading for anyone involved in outdoor education

Essential reading for anyone involved in outdoor education

: Adventure activities : Management and supervision : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Overseas visits : Parents and carers : Policies : Residential visits NewsBlog

Guidance that is particularly useful for those about to embark on learning outside the classroom activities for the first time

There is a very diverse range of people who make valuable and essential contributions to outdoor education activities. From parents and careers, to employers and advisers, local education officers and school governors, to heads and managers.

One thing they all have in common is that they had to start somewhere. And OEAP National Guidance provides the perfect no-nonsense introduction to these sometimes adventurous activities.

The Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) produces National Guidance, which provides comprehensive support for the management of high-quality outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities.

Your introduction to outdoor education guidance

There are three specific documents that provide that all-important introduction. They are:-

All the turns of phrase and terminology that you’re likely to encounter.

This document explains the OEAP National Guidance starting points for the planning and management of outdoor learning, off-site visits and learning outside the classroom.

National Guidance has been written to be consistent with the law and with current good practice. If there is any conflict or inconsistency, the following priorities should be followed, in this order:

  1. Obey the law.
  2. Fulfil the requirements of your employer.
  3. Work within good practice expectations as set out by professional organisations and national governing bodies.
  4. Follow National Guidance.

Guidance for your future role – your onward journey

When you are further into your outdoor education journey, more comprehensive and role-specific help is available in the following categories:

There are also links to many other supporting OEAP National Guidance documents.

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Adventure activities – reducing the risk, not the value

Adventure activities – reducing the risk, not the value

: Adventure activities : Leadership roles : Management and supervision : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Overseas visits : Risk management Essential NewsBlog

A higher level of risk management is required…

For the purposes of OEAP National Guidance, an adventure activity is defined as an activity which is exciting and challenging and which involves significant inherent risk of harm, without which the activity would lose much of its value, or which takes place in a remote or hazardous location.

The Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) produces National Guidance, which provides comprehensive support for the management of high-quality outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities.

“Adventure activities require a higher level of risk management, and may require specific competence, in order to reduce the risks to an acceptable level.”

So says the OEAP National guidance document 7.1a Adventure activities.

Adventure activities can be hugely beneficial for those fortunate enough to benefit from them. Participating in adventure activities can be one of the highlights of a young person’s learning experiences.

While any off-site activity will probably be exciting, adding an extra dimension of personal challenge through participation in adventure activities can make the experience particularly memorable, the learning that takes place often being life-long.

“Students are active participants, not passive consumers, and a wide range of learning styles can flourish.”

The guidance document covers:-

  • A definition of adventure activities
  • The rationale of adventure activities
  • Leading adventure activities
  • Using an external provider
  • Licensing.

Specific competence requirements

Adventure activities require a higher level of risk management, and may require specific competence, in order to reduce the risks to an acceptable level.

To ensure this, employers and establishments should consider whether their policies should include special requirements for adventure activities, such as an approval process for leaders and activities.

Additional guidance regarding this can be found within 4.3c Risk management – an overview.

“Risk management is therefore not about eliminating risk – it is about reducing it as low as reasonably practicable and deciding if this is acceptable in order to gain the potential benefits. This is recognised by both HSE and the Department for Education (DfE).”

The download also contains direct links a variety of other supporting OEAP National Guidance documents.


Download OEAP National Guidance document 7.1a adventure activities »

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »