COVID-19 Update: 1st March 2021
Following the Prime Minister's "road map" announcement, we are awaiting information from the National Youth Agency and the Department for Education as to the specific details of dates and operating criteria. These are expected to be released over the next few days and we will update this page as soon as we have received that information.
We will be liaising with each school that we support during March to finalise dates for the coming season. Our aim will be to agree all dates and plans before Easter. Following the UK Government’s road map announcement on 22nd Feb 2021 and the exam timetable announced by the Department for Education on 25th Feb 2021, the following dates have been taken into account:
8th March 2021: Schools return to face-to-face teaching on-site.
29th March 2021: ‘Stay at home’ rule ends. Single day outdoor activity is allowed in a group of 6.
12th April 2021: Earliest date of domestic stays but only in accommodation with non-shared facilities.
17th May 2021: Earliest date of domestic stays with shared facilities, max. 30 people in a group.
18th June 2021: Final date of submission of exam grades to exam boards.
21st June 2021: Earliest date when all outdoor restrictions will be lifted.
10th August 2021: A Level Results Day
12th August 2021: GCSE Results Day
Please be aware that it is still not clear as to when the Department for Education (DfE) will allow educational visits or overnight residential stays. All out of school dates therefore have to remain provisional at this stage until DfE confirmation has been received.
We are planning to recommence In-School Training and Planning Workshops from Sat 20th March 2021. Single day outdoor training may commence from Mon 29th March 2021 subject to the Department for Education guidance being updated. Any events that are approved to run between Mon 29th March - Fri 28th May 2021 (end of half-term) that run over multiple days will have to be run as consecutive single days, with participants going home each night i.e. non-residential.
We will plan to offer DofE Training & Expeditions after May half-term as Residential events in discussion with each school, but we will switch to deliver these as single consecutive days under the #DofEWithADifference scheme if DfE guidance requires us to do so. Where this is not possible, alternative plans will be discussed on an individual school basis.
Open Bronze Expeditions - Easter 2021
Subject to the Government's roadmap conditions being met for Step 2 transition, we will be planning to deliver these expeditions on the advertised dates in April (Open DofE Bronze Qualifying). Unfortunately these cannot be residential events, as camping as a group will be prohibited under the UK Government's roadmap out of lockdown at that time (not allowed until after 17th May at the earliest as part of Step 3), but they will still go ahead as 3 consecutive single days, with participants needing to travel home and stay overnight each night. With the information we have at this moment, we will therefore plan to proceed with these expeditions unless the UK Government's advice changes or unless it becomes operationally unsafe to proceed at this time for any other reason.
We will be operating in accordance with the National Youth Agency guidelines. These have been aligned to the UK Government's roadmap, and are specific for youth work, including Duke of Edinburgh's Award. The status for youth work after 29th March will be Amber, which allows for a maximum of 15 young people plus staff that can be in any one bubble, operating in an outdoors setting. In order to comply with this, each expedition team will be working as a separate bubble and with a separate leader, with different start/finish locations and/or staggered times for arrival and departure. We will therefore be sending out separate Participant Joining Instructions to each team, and participants will need to ensure that they stay within their teams and follow social distancing and hygiene procedures at all times.
There will be a full set of information sent out over the next couple of weeks to participants, including how we will be keeping young people safe in the current COVID-19 climate. There is a lot of information being issued on the GOV.UK website, as schools get ready to start back, and the information is dynamic and changing often. We will include taking into account latest developments around testing and face coverings in our risk assessments and procedures.
Open Silver & Gold Expeditions
We will be sending out details to all those who have registered for our 2021 Open Expeditions and will also publish this information on our website. We hope to be able to complete these communications by 15th March 2021.
We are confident that DofE Expeditions will be completed in 2021, we just need to understand the specific details now to ensure everyone is kept safe. Thank you for your patience. Stay safe everyone and keep positive.