Adventure activity guidance

Minimum instructor qualifications and group sizes for key adventure activities for schools

Adventure activity instructors for schools must meet the following:

  • minimum qualifications
  • required group sizes

This guide follows the Hampshire County Council Employer Guidance. Refer to this guide when completing the Provider Information Form.

For more information, or to discuss other activities, contact the Outdoor Education Service. If you provide water activities, see Water Competency Guidance.

Archery

Minimum instructor qualifications

At least one of the following:

  • GNAS Archery Leader qualification
  • Archery GB Leader Award
  • Archery GB Instructor Award
  • Archery GB Level 1 Coach Award

Any other leader teaching archery must have been assessed by either:

  • a trainer holding the minimum qualification of Archery GB County Coach
  • a system endorsed by a named Archery GB County Coach (or higher)

Group size

  • No more than 12 participants per session
  • No more than 4 participants on the shooting line

Bushcraft / Forest School

Minimum instructor qualifications

  • The Institute for Outdoor Learning – Foundation Bushcraft Competency Certificate
  • Woodcraft School – NCFE Levels 2 and 3 courses
  • Forest Schools – Level 3 practitioner

Group size

  • For standard bushcraft activities at an outdoor centre or close to support, one qualified instructor to 12 participants
  • For remote bushcraft and wilderness experiences, including overnight, two qualified instructors to 12 participants

Canoeing / kayaking (sheltered waters)

Minimum instructor qualifications

BCU UKCC Level 1 plus:

  • site-specific training
  • valid first aid
  • over 18 years

BCU UKCC Level 2

Group size

  • 1:8 students (kayaks).
  • 1:6 open canoes paddled solo.
  • 1:12 students when paddling tandems or crew boats.

Caving (basic cave systems)

Minimum instructor qualifications

At least one of the following:

  • Local Cave or Mine Leader Level 1
  • Local Cave Leader Level 1 with mines endorsement
  • Local Mine Leader Level 1 with cave endorsement

Site specific assessments can only be made by a technical adviser who:

  • holds a Cave Instructor Certificate
  • is a trainer and assessor for the Local Cave and Mine Leader Assessment (LCMLA) scheme

Group size

For novice cavers, one instructor plus a pastoral adult per ten participants.

Climbing (artificial)

Minimum instructor qualifications

  • Climbing Walls Award (CWA)
  • On site training and assessment delivered by an authorised technical expert

Group size

One instructor per 12 participants. No more than two active climbers initially.

Climbing (real rock)

Minimum instructor qualifications

Single Pitch Award (SPA)

Group size

One instructor per 12 participants. No more than two active climbers at a time.

Coasteering

Minimum instructor qualifications

  • Swimming competence confirmed by a Coasteering Technical Adviser
  • Assessed by a Coasteering Technical Adviser following a minimum of:
    • one day site specific training
    • a second day reviewing rescues and relevant scenarios
  • Must have undertaken a minimum of five coasteering session observations

Assessment requirements

Assessment to be undertaken by a qualified and experienced Technical Adviser who will write a Statement of Competence for the instructor. The Technical Adviser must have at least five years experience as a Coasteering Instructor and have their rock travelling competence assessed by an MIA if they are not already MIA or MIC qualified.

The instructor must be reassessed every three years, and a satisfactory report submitted by the assessing Technical Adviser.

Group size

One instructor per ten participants. Two qualified staff must be present at all times.

High ropes

Minimum instructor qualifications

At least one of the following:

  • Assessed as competent by an ERCA High Ropes Trainer, MIA or MIC holder
  • Assessed as competent by an assessor who has been trained and assessed for that function by a named MIA or MIC holder, or an appropriate Technical Adviser

Group size

One instructor per 12 participants, with two qualified staff where deemed necessary by the Technical Adviser.

Mountain biking

Minimum instructor qualifications

  • MIAS L1 or L2 (depending on terrain)
  • British Cycling Level 2 Mountain Bike Leadership Award

Group size

One instructor per 10 participants, plus a second competent adult.

Mountain walking

Minimum instructor qualifications

Hill and Moorland Award or Mountain Leader Award [summer] as appropriate to the terrain

Group size

One instructor per 12 participants, plus a second pastoral adult.

Sailing (dinghy)

Minimum instructor qualifications

RYA Instructor with appropriate endorsement, supervised by an RYA Senior Instructor

Group size

  • For crewed dinghies, one instructor per three beginner participants with the instructor on board
  • Where the instructor is teaching from a safety boat, one instructor per nine participants, but not more than:
    • three boats with three participants per boat
    • four boats with two participants per boat

Surfing

Minimum instructor qualifications

BSA Coach Level 1

In order to receive this qualification, the instructor must hold a valid minimum award of either:

  • RLSS Beach Lifeguard
  • Surf Lifesaving Association Surf Lifeguard Award

Group size

One instructor per ten participants, plus second competent adult to take beach control.

Windsurfing

Minimum instructor qualifications

RYA Start Windsurfing Instructor or above, supervised by one of the following:

  • Windsurfing Senior Instructor
  • Dinghy Senior Instructor with Windsurfing Instructor qualification
  • Keelboat Senior Instructor with a Windsurfing Instructor qualification

Group size

One instructor per six participants.