Parents FAQ For Outdoor Learning

As a parent there will probably be a number of questions and perhaps concerns you may have about your child participating on our programmes. We have begun a frequently asked questions (FAQ) below that we will regularly add to. We really encourage you to get in touch if you cannot find what you are looking for here. We also welcome discussion about new ideas you may have for engaging young people with the great outdoor and regularly take on new adult volunteers to assist with delivery if you would be willing to help us.

Q: Are these programmes dangerous?
A: All adventurous activities involve an element of risk. We go to great lengths to ensure those risks are managed and reduced to a minimum. Many of our activities whilst they may have the exhilaration of danger are actually statistically very safe. For example an abseil will feel exciting but the student is in a safe environment, wearing personal safety equipment and attached to anchors and ropes that could hold a car’s weight comfortably. Our programmes are designed to be progressive and the further through them the participants get the more real risk they will be exposed to but also the more skilful they will be in avoiding it. For example Gold DofE might involve the group heading across the mountains of the Lake District only checked on a couple of times a day. The risks are real but we don’t let them out there until they have satisfied us that they have the maturity and technical knowledge to keep themselves safe. Ultimately it can be a difficult decision as a parent but it is important that you and your child are aware of the risks and the safety framework that is put in place. Always feel free to discuss this with us. The safety of our students is our number one priority.

Q: Is my child guaranteed a place on DofE?
A: The simple answer is no. In Year 9 we enrol for Bronze DofE and we can only take roughly 60 participants. This is always popular and unfortunately we cannot take everyone who would like to. To make it as fair as possible we work on a first come first served basis. Making sure you get your child’s consent and enrolment form in promptly with the expedition contribution will increase their chances of being accepted. We enrol in June of their Year 8 and there will be announcements in assembly, form groups and on the NT Outdoor Learning Facebook page.

Q: How can I best support my child in their outdoor pursuits?
A: Facilitating your child’s interest in the outdoors can sometimes be challenging (even nerve racking!) but the benefits are great. We try and make our programmes as straight forward from a parental point of view but one of the key challenges is communication between all parties. We really encourage parents to attend our annual information evening so that you can get a strong sense of what we get up to, the risks and the safety structure. With the best will in the world letters can get lost between us and home and increasingly we back messages up by text and social media. Please make sure reception has your latest contact details and consider checking out the Outdoor Learning Facebook page, NTOutdoorLearning. It is really important that any medical conditions are disclosed no matter how trival they may seem so that we can best look after your child in the field. The absolute best way is to enjoy some outdoor adventures with your child. We have had quite a few stories of students introducing their parents to rock climbing, kayaking or hiking so if you haven’t tried these things yet it could be a lot of fun!

Q: How do I volunteer to help in delivering your programmes?
A: We are always keen to hear from people that would like to volunteer! Our programmes couldn’t be run without the volunteers and they enrich the programme enormously. There are all sorts of roles from supervising expedition groups across Dartmoor to helping out finding DofE placement opportunities. It is a friendly team from a wide variety of backgrounds and you will be supported and trained on the job so it is a great opportunity to put your skills to bare or pick up new ones. Please do get in touch,

Link to: Information for Volunteers & NTOL Leaders

Q: What is, and how do I use eDofE?
A: eDofE is the web based system for DofE participants to log their progress and submit their evidence to complete the Award. It can be accessed from any web platform and when used regularly is an excellent tool to help participants through their Award. When a student enrols for DofE they will be issued a unique account and an email will be sent to the address given on the enrolment form with the log in details. With each section basic details can be inputted and the assessor report can be scanned or photographed and uploaded to the account. The DofE Manager will see the submitted evidence and can approve it and ultimately issue the Awards.

Alternatively assessors can write their reports electronically at:

There are some very good YouTube videos on how to use eDofE here:

Q: I’m worried about the cost involved, what are my options?
A: We don’t want the cost to be a barrier for any child. The programmes are heavily subsidised by Newquay Tretherras and we do significant fundraising throughout the year to keep delivery at the level it is. If you have concerns that you can’t make the expedition contributions please do speak to us in confidence and we will do everything we can to enable your child to take part.

Q: Are your staff qualified?
A: Yes. Our core staff and associates all hold relevant national governing body awards in the disciplines we deliver. We pride ourselves on not just meeting the standard but setting it and our team always look to develop best practice and further their own abilities. We are also really lucky to have a dedicated volunteer team that through training have been able to become qualified in their own right. Although we do not currently require an Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) we do voluntarily adhere to their guidelines;