Our second year Level 3 Outdoor Education students have been busy this academic year preparing for various British Canoeing courses including their Paddlesport Instructor assessment. In their first year, they built up their personal skills, becoming proficient in Canoes and Kayaks but their second year has tested them in their leadership, rescue and group management skills in order to prepare them as well as possible for their instructor assessment.
On 13 April, they undertook their British Canoeing Foundation Safety and Rescue training course, where they consolidated all rescue related knowledge from bank-based rescues to all in multi-craft rescues in deep water. This was a full day of being in and out of the water, with a vast array of scenarios being thrown at them and despite high winds, low temperatures and intermittent rain they all completed the course.
On 4-5 March, the students had their Paddlesport instructor course, running both days from 9 am– 5:30 pm. This course assessed the student’s abilities in all aspects of their study at the College since arriving in 2018. Day one comprised of leading introductory sessions using stand up paddleboards, canoes and kayaks with a big focus on ‘games with aims’, which looks at ways to embed learning within the fun and friendly competition that comes with water-based games. Alongside this, the students were assessed in their personal paddling ability – the weather was kind to the students throughout day one with mostly sunshine and light wind.
Day two was far from remarkable as far as the weather was concerned, with constant wind, low air temperature and intermittent heavy rain – but nevertheless the students pushed on through and covered every other aspect of the syllabus, including improvised canoe sailing, short journeys, games with aims and rescue scenarios. During the final two hours of assessment, the students were required to rescue boats, equipment, and each other from every craft available that day – including the not so simple task of rescuing a canoe from a closed cockpit single kayak without the assistance of a nearby bank.
All of the students received a well-deserved pass and now all hold the title of ‘British Canoeing Paddlesport Instructor’. They will be continuing along their journey in the world of outdoor education as the year progresses, looking at options for progression with British Canoeing, but also working towards their Mountain Bike Award Scheme (MIAS) Level 1 instructor award for which they have an assessment in a little over a month