The Gold Award can be completed at any time by anyone from 16 to 25 years old. You may be able to backdate appropriate activity to your 16th birthday. You can enrol without a previous Award.

There is no pressure to finish Gold within a set period – sections can be started when it suits. A break can be taken without losing credit for activity. 

The commitment has to be regularly spaced over the time period chosen. eg at least an hour a week; or 2-3 hrs once a fortnight; or a day a month. 

You can pop in for help or information most term time Tuesdays 4-6pm at any stage in your Award

UCAS and the DofE: My advice

The range of activities possible is endless because the Award is about recognising your own personal achievement. You build it around you and consider activities that you are probably doing anyway outside of mandatory curriculum. For instance driving is a skill; so is an Extended Project Qual at school; an NCS week is a Residential; helping at school would be volunteering. 

Local ideas and links:

  • Volunteering  here
  • Physical here
  • Skills here
  • Local, UK and International Residentials here
  • Expeditions
    • There are three stages to any DofE Expedition. 
      1. Training in appropriate level countryside (you do not have to be 16 to train for Gold)
      2. Two day and two night Practice
      3. Four day and three night assessed expedition 
    • Want to cycle, sail, ride, paddle or walk at a different time? Individuals may find a team place here
    • Foot Expeditions with Gillingham OAC as below

Directs (ie those without Bronze/Silver) may have to take part in a catch up basic training day and do the First Aid Course – details here

Participants take part in planning their Final Expedition and complete one training and one practice beforehand; teams and the people in them have to be safe and ready enough to execute a self-sufficient and unaccompanied assessed expedition that they’ve planned themselves. On assessment, teams are remotely supervised and meet leaders at agreed checkpoints

The planning for 2021 Finals is currently scheduled to take place on Saturday May 29 2021. There will be no need to attend regular Tuesday evenings. 

COVID19 restrictions: Having observed the safe and successful delivery of small group work at Dorset Outdoor Education Centres over the past few weeks, the team has been given permission to resume expeditions in line with current DfE guidance for educational settings and in accordance with  temporary DofE expedition flexibilties.

Dates offered are subject to


Participants must complete the Gold training framework before their official Practice, followed by an Assessed Final. It is possible to have completed or plan to complete training, before 16th birthday. The Practice and Final must be undertaken after 16the birthday. 

DATES to consider – remember its ONE of each stage

Details for all expeditions are uploaded closer to the dates  HERE


  • 3 (4 if Direct) outdoor events must be completed – Training, Practice and Final
  • These can be attended to suit you, but you also have to attend the planning (for the Final) event.
  • If, in this yr of COVID, you attend a non-wild country Practice you must do a non-wild country Final.
  • We still await the lifting of the Govt. ban on residentials (camping inc.) in educational settings.


  • Saturday 15 May
    • FIRST AID all day for non trained people 
    • 9-12.30 ALEL  planning the Bronze Practice 
    • 1.30 – 3pm  Gold Meeting 
  • Sat to Sun 22/23 May Bronze Practice half the teams. Finish at lunch 
    • ALEL  Young Exped Leader Training 
    • Gold Training (local) for DIRECT entries (no silver) – one day may be sufficient 
  • Saturday 29 May 2021 Gold Planning day for the July Final 9am to 3.30pm


  • Sat to Sun 5/6 June Bronze Practice half the teams. Finish at lunch 
    • ALEL Young Exped Leader Training 
    • Gold Training (local) for DIRECT entries (no silver) – one day may be sufficient 


  • Tues 6 July Awards Presentation including all Certs of Achievement – Gillingham School MPH – socially distanced!
  • Fri to Tues 9 – 13/7 Gold Wild Country training followed by Practice on Dartmoor 
    • Journeying assessment for ALEL  candidates 
  • Tues 20 July ALEL   End of course.
  • Sat to Wed 24 – 28/7 Gold Final on mixed lowland and Dartmoor 

SUMMER HOLS – Start Sat 24 July 2021

GOLD TANDEM CANOE 2021. If this of interest please enquire quickly because cost will depend upon numbers! Likely location – Trg, nr Westbury. Prac on the Avon/Thames. Final on the Wye.


Yr11s are free after GCSEs (end of May in 2021) until September

Yr12s and 13s may need to ask permission of the year head to take time out of school or to rearrange internal mock exams.