Duke of Edinburgh

Duke of Edinburgh at South Wirral is ran by Mrs Barr who is the DofE Manager and Mrs Dennis who is the DofE coordinator. 

If you have any questions, please email dofe@southwirral.wirral.sch.uk

Duke of Edinburgh App

Why don’t you download the DofE app from the Google Play or Apple App store?  You can update your profile, upload pictures and your assessor’s reports right from your phone.  It couldn’t be easier!


Expedition Helpful tips
Sleeping bags and mats (we do provide sleeping mats but if you want to get your own or a self-inflating mattress you can)

What is the Duke of Edinburgh Award?

The Duke of Edinburgh Award is an exciting opportunity for pupils in year 9 and above.  It allows pupils to experience adventure, whilst improving their physical fitness, skills and also helping people out whilst volunteering.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award started in 1956 as an award for boys aged 15-18 who wished to complete a set of self-improvement exercises. Girls were allowed to participate from 1957. Now it is an internationally recognised qualification that pupils can complete between the ages of 14-25.

Colleges, universities and employers recognise the award and highly recommend completing it

“The essence of the DofE is about giving people independence, confidence and skills they wouldn’t normally have acquired and to make people ready for the world. Having something like this actually speaks a lot more about what you are like as an individual. It shows commitment over a period of time, the willingness to become independent and demonstrate a lot of the skills we are looking for as a business.”

– John Roberts, Founder and Former CEO of ao.com

“As a people-focused business, we are always on the lookout for new talent. Our approach is to recruit for attitude and train for skill – so achievements like a DofE Award really help potential applicants to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate the positive leadership behaviours we need in our colleagues. So, we are proud to support the DofE and would encourage any young person considering starting their programme to definitely do so.”

– Hayley Tatum, Senior Vice President – People and Stores at Asda

There are 3 different levels, bronze, silver and gold.  Within each there are a number of sections to complete over a set period of time;

And at Gold Level a residential

For more ideas please visit:

Expeditions 2024

The expedition dates are as follows:
Bronze training – Thursday 28th March 2024
Bronze qualifying – Thursday 2nd May – Friday 3rd May 2024
Silver training – Wednesday 17th April – Friday 19th April 2024
Silver Qualifying – Wednesday 3rd July-Friday 5th July 2024
Gold – expeditions will take place next year but they can still start their award now

Here is what some of our pupils have said about DofE in the past:

“It was fun. I loved being together and chilling out at camp. I learned how to ready a map, how to cook when camping and developed my teamwork”

Year 10

“It was a great bonding experience. I made new friends, I’ve learnt lots of new skills. I developed my patience.”

Year 10

“I enjoyed spending time with friends, and I enjoyed learning how to look after animals as part of my volunteering section”

Year 10

“I enjoyed the independence having the responsibility of getting it done ourselves. It taught me how to be responsible and developed my skills for the real world

Year 10

“It was hard work, but I enjoyed it. It was fun at the same time as I was spending a lot of time with friends, doing stuff you don’t normally do”

Year 12
“I would encourage any young person to take part. If you are sitting on the fence right now thinking ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ then I implore you to just go for it. At times, it isn’t easy climbing mountains and walking hours on end at a time but if you have a good group of friends behind you with plenty of snacks to keep you fuelled then you will 100% be okay – I can guarantee! The best part about the expedition is when you reach the top of a hill or mountain and can look back and say ‘I did it!’ Not only does the expedition give you a real sense of achievement, however the other components of the award will also. You might learn a brand new skill, make new friends, take on a new sport and volunteer, all of which helps to make a huge and real difference to the lives of others and yourself. A bonus is that if you make it to Gold my award was presented by Prince Edward and wildlife presenter Gordan Buchanan at Buckingham Palace! A once in a lifetime opportunity – go for it!”
Jess BartleFormer SWHS student, DofE Gold

Duke of Edinburgh Expectations of Expeditions

Here is the link to the 20 Conditions of the Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions 
Duke of Edinburgh expeditions are serious business.  They are not just a walk out with friends; they require a lot of physical exertion, carrying all your own equipment including tents, food, clothes, sleeping bag and everything you would need to survive in the countryside if you were out walking and camping. Staff will not be able to carry your equipment for you.
Students will undertake a lot of the required training at school including first aid, navigation, route planning, what food to take, however you will have to ensure you are physically fit and able to carry out the walks and this will require some additional preparation outside of school.  E.g. make your bags heavy and carry them around the house or garden or up and down stairs, go for a walk or a run, lift weights.  


Here are South Wirral’s rules and expectations that you will have to follow to pass the expedition requirements.
-Expeditions are not not just a school trip. They are part of a well planned programme that you will need to meet the expectations of in order to pass.
-DofE expeditions are EARNED, not just simply completed. They are demanding and at times you will feel tired and feel like you don’t want to carry on. You must demonstrate resilience in order to pass. 
-If pupils do not complete the expedition, they will not pass. Depending on the reason for non-completion, they will be offered a free place on the next expedition, in order to try again.
– If pupils can not carry their own equipment they will fail.  If you have not adequately prepared and not fit enough to meet the demands of the expedition then that is on you!  If you have a medical condition that would require that you need to carry a lighter bag for the expedition, this needs to be put in writing to the school prior to the expedition so we can take into account special consideration if this is required. 
– Safety is our top priority for all students.  If you cannot meet the demands on the expedition, you put your whole group’s safety in jeopardy.  
-Deferral to another expedition is not a punishment, it’s another chance to pass, giving you more preparation time.
Remember DofE is a challenging programme:
  1. You must attend ALL training sessions – unless absence at one has been agreed prior to the session.  If you miss one, you miss important information and may not be allowed to go on the expedition. 
  2. Complete the entire expedition
  3. Carry all your own equipment – if pupils fall ill and are unable to carry equipment, they should contact staff to discuss options for continuing.
  4. Pass all training and qualifying expeditions
  5. Complete previous awards – e.g. you can only do silver if you have completed bronze and gold if you have completed silver
For parts of this expedition, students are unsupervised.  They will have had all necessary training and guidance before embarking on their expeditions.  Students will meet staff at agreed points to check their progress and wellbeing.  If groups are struggling, they need to listen to the advice and guidance of staff on what to do next and what they need to do to achieve. We do expect there to be small mistakes, e.g. getting lost that is part of the learning process. Groups who plan properly attend training and prepare themselves for the hard work, will not have a problem passing. 
Staff will camp on the same campsite or nearby (depending on award). Strict camping guidelines will need to be adhered to in order for students to pass
  1.  No litter to be left
  2. Responsible and safe whilst cooking
  3. Students need to cook at least 1 hot meal per day.
  4. No noise after 10.30 and before 6 am (this is a rule on most campsites) if staff have to get up to tell students to be quiet, they will fail. 
  5. Respect to other camp site users
  6. Unsafe or silly behaviour will not be tolerated
What happens if I do not pass?
Sometimes students do not meet the demands or the required expectations to pass or are too injured or ill to continue.  If this happens, depending on the reason, the students will be offered a free place on the next expedition for that level in order to complete it.  Students will have a discussion with staff to make them aware that they are at risk of not completing the expedition and advice given on what they need to do to try to continue. 
Reasons for deferral could be as follows:
  1. Very poor navigation, very late to checkpoints, or missing them out
  2. Poor camp etiquette – noisy, mess, not following instructions
  3. Going off-site during camping
  4. Breaking school rules – it’s still a school trip

DofE Expedition Success Criteria!

On SWHS expeditions YOU are assessed according to South Wirral criteria: You must PASS all… 
Planning Before an expedition, each participant is expected to:  
  • Attend all planning meetings 
  • Join in with planning activities and behave well as a group  
  • Complete planning properly by deadline  
  • Check notices, school bulletin and school email for updates  
  • Have a written AIM for your qualifying expedition (copy to eDofE)  
  • Seek advice from staff 
Expedition Participants / groups must:  
  • Check all kit is functioning properly before the expedition i.e stoves, tent, rucksack etc.  
  • Be fit and well to complete the expedition safely and carry kit independently  
  • Pass KIT CHECK before expedition  
  • Arrive on time and pass pre-expedition check 
  • Navigate along planned routes visiting all check points unless instructed otherwise by staff  Arrive at all key checkpoints at / or near ETA; adjust ETA accordingly  
  • Maintain contact with supervising staff by TEXT or CALL.  
  • Carry all equipment and operate independently  
  • Eat and drink appropriately, cook a hot meal each evening  
  • Follow camp craft: litter free camp and no noise after 10.00pm and before 6am  
  • LEAVE NO TRACE at all times!  Follow Countryside Code (close gates, use paths, respect farms)  
  • Only use mobile phones for contacting staff. No posting on social media.  
  • Abide by school rules and all safety instructions
  • For Silver and Gold – complete the required presentation on your chosen aim at the end of the qualifying expedition. 
Kit: Each participant is expected to:  
  • Get appropriate kit before expedition: use the kit lists and get advice if needed  
  • Attend and pass KIT CHECKS with appropriate equipment  
  • Treat borrowed kit with care so as to prevent damaging it  
  • Return borrowed kit clean and dry as soon as possible afterwards You  
  • Must follow staff instructions at all times before, during and after an expedition. 
  • Trained, qualified staff observe and assess YOU before, during and after expeditions. 
There are three possible outcomes of expeditions for you individually or your whole group: 


Participant/s satisfied all of the South Wirral criteria and completed the expedition, which is taken as having embarked on the final day’s walking. 


Due to some or all of: inadequate planning, poor camp craft, repeated gross navigation errors, inappropriate behaviour, inappropriate use of mobile phones or social media or not completing the expedition independently (e.g. carry own kit) or repetition of these with little attempt to improve. Missing the expedition, arriving late or being withdrawn early due to illness or other reason. Deferred participants will be offered the next available opportunity to repeat the expedition. This is not a “punishment”, it’s your chance to improve skills and safety. 


Fail: rare! Due to gross breach of school rules or discipline and/or ignoring instructions, the participant did not satisfy some or all of the South Wirral criteria or did not complete the expedition. Participants likely to be prohibited from completing further expeditions with South Wirral  Participants can be failed individually, such as when one team member breaks a rule, or on a whole group basis.
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