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Safety, Well-being and Risk: Benefit Management
AALA and LOtC
Mere Mountains has an AALA licence for delivering an extensive range of outdoor and adventurous activities to young people please see (www.aala.com) for full details of our licence. In 2014 we gained the LOtC Badge which includes the Adventure Mark Badge. We believe staff competence, experience and judgement are crucial to delivering a good outdoor education or adventure programme. For details of staff qualifications please see the 'Our Team' page or email for more information.
After 20 years of delivering adventure and education courses we are familiar with most of the situations that can occur and this is reflected in our risk: benefit management strategy. We believe that growing up and learning to live in the real world involves learning to manage normal risks; so if the educational benefits for the young people outweigh any risks, and the activity is appropriate for the age group and the education aims we will seek to facilitate the activity. We expect to work in partnership with visiting staff and pupils to ensure that any programme or residential is well thought out and as safe as is appropriate for the course aims and that parents, pupils and teachers have the necessary understanding to support the involvement of the young people in the activities. Year 11 pupils on a GCSE programme would expect to be managing more of the risks themselves than Yr. 3 on their first forest school fire lighting session!
Mere Mountains aim to cover and support all the technical aspects of the course, on the whole we will leave pastoral care of the children to the visiting staff, especially with younger (primary) children. For older students our tutors will facilitate group discussion and reviews if required. All staff are experienced first aiders and are able to supply first aid in the field if needed, while we have no objection to visiting teachers providing first aid for minor injuries as it allows the session to continue.
We hold Public Liability and Employers Liability insurance with the Activities Industry Mutual. A copy of these are available on request
Obviously we have assessed the risks for the activities we deliver, and our staff are constantly reviewing these in the field to ensure that the level of risk matches the learning outcomes identified and the appropriate level of safety for these. For example, children may go off in small groups orienteering or help with belaying safety ropes for rock climbing. Responsibility for oneself and others is an important aspect of growing up and outdoor education provides real situations which are ideal for developing self-confidence and self-respect.
Our written risk assessments are designed for use by qualified instructors and are largely meaningless to others, we would therefore discourage the use of our risk assessments by unqualified persons. We are happy to provide copies on request should you have a technical expert capable of interpreting them. For school visit leader risk assessment forms we recommend that you list the activities included in your programme and put ‘AALA Licenced /LOtC Badge provider used’ in the control measure.
Child Protection/Client Wellbeing
We have a strong commitment to the wellbeing of all our clients, child or adult we see this as going beyond simple 'child protection' as anyone can feel vulnerable in unfamiliar environments and adventurous situations. We ask that any concern is brought to us immediately, initially to the staff onsite or to the Principal Tutors. Sometimes the need for increased safety management s means that tutors have to become authority figures rather than just facilitators but on the whole our leadership role is to encourage participation rather than force it.
We do not expect tutors to do the 'in loco parentis' supervision of young people eg to supervise changing, but leave this to the visiting staff who pupils know well. The nature of the activities mean that we are working with groups rather than individuals, and although all our staff have been CBS/DBS checked we do not expect to be left with unaccompanied minors. If we are required to provide first aid we will always seek to have a teacher present if possible.
We provide inservice training for your staff to run activites and lower your costs
We provide full accomodation, activity and transport packages. Making us a one stop shop and your life easier
We are the Lake Districts YHA activity provider and can look after everything direct for your conivenicne