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Offsite events guidance, forms and risk assessments

This includes guidance on the safe provision of trips, adventurous activities, outdoor learning and Ten Tors, planning forms, and risk assessments.

Changes to guidance, planning forms and risk assessments

From September 2018 we're moving to Evolve software to manage and provide guidance for offsite trips and visits. 

All schools will need a login to access Evolve which we provide as part of the package available through Dorset Nexus Outdoor Educationoffsite events and adventurous activities support.

Employers must make sure that employees are provided with appropriate guidance, training and access to further competent advice under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated regulations. The local authority recommends that all schools buy in to this package to fulfil these requirements. 

A decision not to buy in should be accompanied by evidence clearly demonstrating how your school is addressing the requirements of the Act.

Access the Dorset Nexus outdoor education offsite events and adventurous activities package

To access the outdoor education offsite events and adventurous activities package:

  1. Log in to Dorset Nexus.
  2. Click on the services tab.
  3. Click on outdoor education. 
  4. The quote for your school will appear.

Contact Dorset Outdoor Education Advisory Service if you need help.

Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) expedition guidance and approval forms

Dorset County Council (DCC) can only provide support and approval for schools operating under the DCC DofE licence.

Where schools have become a directly licensed centre (DLC) the guidance and approvals process must be managed directly by the school and is no longer the responsibility of DCC. 

Where the DLC has bought into the DCC Offsite Trips Guidance package expeditions should be logged in the same way as a normal school trip using Evolve. This process does not approve the expedition as fulfilling the Award's 20 conditions, which must be undertaken by the DofE manager of the DLC.

Centres delivering DofE under the DCC DofE licence must notify us of all DofE expeditions so we can check they meet our standards of management and award criteria. The management of all DCC licensed DofE ventures must meet the recommendations of the SW Outdoor Education Advisers Panel. 

If you don't notify us of the expedition and it's not approved, it will not be recognised by the award. Your insurance may also be invalid.

You must use our forms to submit your expedition proposal at least:

  • 4 weeks before departure for expeditions in the UK
  • 16 weeks before departure for overseas ventures

Guidance documents

See DofE guidance documents:

Approval forms

See the table for documents for school (this includes independent schools) and non-school:

Duke of Edinburgh expedition approval forms



Schools licensed with DofE Dorset
Non-school units

Incident-accident report

As a DofE licensed organisation we have committed to:

notify ASL or the charity immediately in the event of any serious incident or accident that leads to or could have led to injury of a participant or staff - Clause 3.10

The information is used to:

  • review practice
  • inform others (without reference to specific names)
  • potentially develop support and/or resources at the appropriate level

See the Dorset County Council DofE incident-accident report.

Risk assessments

You can use our offsite events and activities risk assessment or develop your own.

Model offsite events and activities policy for use by organisational units

Every organisational unit (such as a school or youth club) must have an offsite events and adventurous activities policy. You can use our  model offsite events policy for organisational units. This can be adapted to meet your organisation.

Safety advice


Staff must be aware of their safeguarding responsibilities on school visits. They should be outlined in the schools staff behaviour policy/code of conduct. For more information see keeping children safe in education.

Emergency contact

The Dorset 24-hour emergency phone number is 07623 544346. This is for use in serious emergencies only, where you need more support from the county council by Dorset County Council schools, youth centres, etc.

Terrorist threat

We advise schools organising trips to take note of the guidance and advice found in the news section of  National Guidance. If you're travelling abroad, you should check out GOV.UK for guidance.

Guidance for offsite events

See the:

Contact Dorset Outdoor Education Advisory Service

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