'General session standards' are not essential but are a good way in making sure you stick to good practise. These standards that leaders should adhere to have been set down by Adventurous Activities Licencing Authority (AALA), and will ensure that a good level of risk management is achieved.

Leader’s responsibilities

Prior to the activity the leader is responsible for:

  • Booking the facility (area that will be used for the activity)
  • Conducting a routine visual and physical check of the equipment to be used
  • Ensuring first aid equipment is available throughout the session
  • Updating an on site/generic risk assessment if needed
  • Collecting the group (conducting the signing out procedure if taking group off site)
  • Signing out medication of individual pupils (if necessary)

During the session the leader is responsible for:

  • Setting out the aims of the session
  • Running the session with a suitable level of challenge
  • Group management during the activity
  • Personal development

On completion of the session the leader is responsible for:

  • Feedback/review to group (through talking, pictures, ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’)
  • Checking equipment for damage/recording use/completing logs as required
  • Reporting accidents/near misses
  • Collecting and returning the equipment
  • Leaving the site/facility in a clean and safe condition

Sessions are physically and mentally demanding as well as incredibly fulfilling. Special attention should be paid to the physiological demands of these activities and the associated problems that could arise through the peer pressure of leaders, and other team members, implementing the ‘Challenge by Choice’ concept.