Advice for party leaders

Question:

Can anyone give me some advice on taking a residential, what do I need to make sure the Outdoor Education Centre has in terms of insurance, fire certificate and the like?  Also any tips would be welcome.

Answers:

Being a party leader for the first time can seem like a daunting prospect, I used to teach and I took many residentials before starting High Adventure with two teaching colleagues so I know where you are coming from.  The following are points to check on when selecting an Outdoor Education Centre:

  • AALA Licence – Following the Lyme Bay disaster the Adventurous Activities Licencing Authority was set up as a kind of OFSTED for Outdoor Education Centre’s.  The Authority has recently come under the HSE banner, anyone working with under 16’s in the outdoors has to have a licence.
  • Public Liability Insurance for £5,000,000 or more
  • Fire Risk Asessment – Outdoor Education Centres will not usually have a fire certificate because these are for establishments which will take overnight guests without booking, hotels etc.  They will however have risk assessment that should be completed with advice from the local fire officer.
  • Activity Risk Assessments – You may need to request these from the Outdoor Education Centre as part of the hoops that Manchester and any other LEA will make you jump through.  These are working documents and should be site specific.  High Adventure has it’s AALA Licence, public liability insurance and all risk assessments available in pdf format on the website to make life easy for you.
  • Qualified Minibus drivers – Any commercial Outdoor Ed Centre have to have an operators licence and PCV qualified drivers.  It is only commercial centres who are required to use professional drivers.  Charities and LEA centres operate on a section 19 licence which means anyone over 25 can drive on their car licence with provisional D1.  Check that Midas or similar LEA in-house minibus qualification are used.
  • Qualified and experienced instructors – Check that any off-site activities are led by appropriately NGB qualified staff and that the centre has a good training procedure for staff running in-house activities.
  • Secure premises
  • Friendly staff – the centre staff will have a marked affect on the success of your trip, an established centre with good staff retention in all departments usually means a happier workforce.
  • Location, Location, Location – rising transport costs may make this a bigger concern than in the past, make sure you check the cost to get to the centre before confirming your booking.

The vast majority of Outdoor Education Centres will have everything you require for your paperwork and lots of patience for those taking their first trip, if they tick the boxes highlighted above then you are well on the way.

High Adventure is happy to help you with your booking of course!

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