UPDATED STATEMENT REGARDING DofE EXPEDITIONS AND COVID-19

As an approved  DofE expedition provider, we have had to make a difficult decision, but one that is a justified and responsible approach to the current situation, taking into account the responsibility we have for the health and welfare of our customers and volunteers. We have also liaised with the numerous schools we support across Medway to postpone DofE expeditions until government guidance and safety permits us to resume delivery and support for the expedition section.

Following the most recent announcement, given on 18th March 2020, from the Government to close all schools and further education colleges (although we are not directly governed by this for our ‘open’ expeditions), we believe it is both sensible and prudent that we postponed our planned ‘Open Gold Practice Expedition’, and our ‘Silver training and practice events’ to comply with the continued advice from the Government, ensuring the safety and welfare of our customers and staff.

The DofE have also issued a statement relating to practice and qualifying expeditions for Gold & Silver levels that offers a positive approach to the completion of the Expedition section:

‘Some Gold students are unlikely to be able to do their practice expedition due to the coronavirus outbreak. Can they just do their qualifying expedition and still achieve their Award?

At all levels, practice expeditions are an important part of the preparation and training participants undertake to ensure that they can undertake a safe and enjoyable remotely supervised expedition. For that reason, all participants will still have to do both a practice and qualifying expedition.
But we’re determined that young people shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Award because of coronavirus. We’ll be sharing ideas about how participants can continue their programme at this time, as well as working with LOs to help participants to access an expedition once the crisis is over. We’ll issue more updates in the next few weeks.

Remember, DofE expeditions can be run throughout the year, not just in the traditional ‘expedition season’.

Currently, our planned ‘Gold Practice Expedition’, in July in the Peak District and ‘Qualifying Gold Expedition in August will go ahead. Along with our late Silver programme in August and October, all subject to the campsites becoming available as we need them.

However, these may be also affected by any measures imposed by the Government to combat COVID-19.

MOAC take this opportunity to wish all our customers, friends and staff a safe passage through these difficult and challenging times.

STATEMENT REGARDING DofE EXPEDITIONS AND COVID-19

Medway Open Award Centre is currently following the Government’s guidance, which is taken from the expert advice from of Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor.

As of 16th March 2020, ‘COVID-19: travel guidance for the education sector’ issued by The Department for Education states:

1. Travel for children under 18 organised by educational settings

1.1 Overseas trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings
The government advises against any overseas trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings. This is because trip leaders would face significant challenges in making arrangements to ensure children’s welfare, should adult supervisors or children be required to self-isolate.

1.2 Domestic trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings
The Department for Education is not currently advising against domestic trips (residential and non-residential) for children under 18 organised by educational settings. However, educational settings should refresh their risk assessments to take into account the latest health advice and ensure measures are in place and agreed with parents in case children or adult supervisors believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 and exhibit symptoms that require self-isolation.

We will also follow the guidance in the following https://www.gov.uk/…/guidance-to-educational-settings-about… and amend our Risk Assessments accordingly.

Therefore, following the clear guidance above, as only trips abroad are advised not to take place, we are continuing to run UK based DofE expedition training, practice and qualifying expeditions currently organised with the schools and organisations we are supporting and, unless Government guidance changes, there is no current reason to cancel any planned DofE expeditions and we will monitor the guidance on a daily basis. We do not intend to go against any Government advice and leave ourselves open to criticism or become liable for civil proceedings due to not following this advice.

Our own ‘Gold’ expedition, planned for the Easter holidays in the Peak District National Park, with fourteen young people booked onto it, will currently go ahead as planned, as well as ‘Other Bronze and Silver Expeditions’ being held during the same period in the Kent & Sussex areas.

All our other training will also continue as planned.

If Government guidance changes which prevent DofE expeditions taking place, as currently planned, then we would look to support schools and young people to rearrange DofE expeditions at a mutually convenient later date. We could even look to extend, with the permission of Licenced Organisation’s and variations to the Expedition conditions, the ‘Expedition season’ allowing expeditions to take place beyond the end of October, with some amendments to locations, routes, Expedition conditions, etc. This all could be achieved, thereby enabling students to successfully complete their Expedition section, even if it is delayed until the first quarter of next year, however, we do all need to be flexible at this uncertain time.

Rob Wood

Chairman

MOAC

16/03/20

Expedition Dates 2020

Gold Training January 25th-26th  Detling

Silver Training 29th February- 1st March (TBA)

Silver Day Walk 15th March (TBA)

Bronze March 21st- 22nd Bexon

Gold Practice 4th -9th April Peak District

Silver Practice April 17th-19th Dover

Gold Training April 25th-26th (TBA)

Silver Assessed May 8th-10th Ashdown

Bronze May 15th-17th Bexon

Bronze May 29th-31st Bexon

Bronze June 12th-14th Bexon

Silver Training June 20th-21st  (TBA)

Bronze June 26th-28th Bexon

Silver Day Walk 5th July (TBA)

Bronze July 10th-12th Bexon

Gold Practice 19th -24th July Peak District

Gold Assessed 23rd -28th August Dartmoor

Silver Practice August 29th-31st Dover

Bronze September 25th-27th Bexon

Bronze October 9th-11th Bexon

Silver Assessed October 24th-26th Ashdown

Expedition dates 2019

Bronze March 23rd-24th

Silver April 6th-8th

Bronze April 26th-28th

Silver May 4th-6th

Bronze May 17th-19th

Bronze June 7th-9th

Bronze June 21st-23rd

Bronze July 12th-14th

Gold July 21st-26th

Gold August 18th-23rd

Silver August 24th-26th

Bronze September 6th-8th

Bronze September 20th-22nd

Bronze October 4th-6th

Silver October 18th-21st

Welcome to the new Medway Open Award Centre web site

Medway Open Award Centre is operating from the same place as the old one…..

Summit House at the Strand in Gillingham, the Medway Council team have moved on, and the award centre is being operated by volunteers, which include some familiar faces…….

Rob Wood has got together with a bunch of volunteers to operate Medway Open Award Centre (MOAC) for your Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) Gold and Silver expedition training and expeditions.

In addition to this the new team will still be managing, in partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh’s  Award South East Regional office, and the Medway Panel the kit hire by individuals for their Bronze expeditions organised by the schools.