Complimentary Education, Not Alternative Education
Pro-Active Adventure provides Complimentary Education and Pupil Inclusion that is an inspirational adaptation of outdoor education that offers young people opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self esteem through hands on learning in the outdoor environment. Pro-Active does what it says on the tin, it is a pro-active learning experience that is not separate from learning in a traditional classroom or school ground environment but is complimentary to it.
Sessions are timetable led but are driven by the pupils, drawing on their interests and sense of adventure. Through carefully structured sessions with supportive and qualified instructors Pro-Active Adventure can bring the joy of learning back to disaffected learners.
Who Do We Work With:
- Pupils that have been permanently excluded or those that have a fixed term exclusion.
- Pupils that are at risk of exclusion.
- Pupils that lack confidence in the classroom and need a confidence boost.
- Young people who are NEET or who are at risk of NEET.
- Young people exhibiting ASB.
- Socially or economically disadvantaged young people.
What Programmes Do We Provide:
- Fixed term inclusion package.
- Permanently excluded programme.
- 1:1 and 2:1 Supervision complimentary education activity package for ALN pupils.
- Small groups of 5 pupils who exhibit low level behavioural difficulties.
- Groups of 5 – 8 pupils who are reasonably compliant to instruction.
- Classroom confidence course.
- Employability Course.
What Qualifications And Awards Do We Provide:
- ACE awards to re-engage disaffected learners.
- ASDAN Bronze, Silver and Gold to progress re-engaged learners.
- AOPE (1/2 GCSE) and COPE (1 – 2 GCSEs) under ASDAN life skills. This qualification is for long term pupils.
- D of E
- BTEC Level 2 in adventure sports. Qualification for long term pupils.
- Wider key skills: Which is an individual NQF qualification at Levels 1 to 4 (This is part of the Essential Skills Wales suite of qualifications)
- Employability: Which is an Award and Certificate-sized QCF qualifications from Entry 2 to Level 3
In addition we offer a number of short 10 hour PSHE courses under the ASDAN scheme such as:
- Conflict Resolution
- Personal Wellbeing
- Economic Wellbeing
- Drug & Alcohol Awareness
- Sex & Relationships
We also provide outdoor qualifications under the National Governing Body of many different outdoor disciplines.
- NICAS climbing award levels 1, 2, 3
- GEARS mountain bike award, levels 1 – 6 and QCF for
- BCU Paddle Power levels 1, 2, 3 and Paddle Passport for canoeing and kayaking.
- NNAS Navigation award levels Bronze, Silver and Gold.
- National standards cycling award.
- Heart Start
Duration And Attendance Options:
- Pupils can attend from 1 day per week to 5 days per week.
- Duration of a placement is flexible to meet the educational needs of the young person. Placements can be as short as 1 week to a complete academic year, or in some cases longer.
- At the start of a placement an individual education programme of awards and qualifications will be designed that we feel can be completed within the duration of the placement.
Pro-Active Adventure provides the opportunity for young people to take measured risks. Obviously the pupil’s welfare and safety is paramount. Rules are set out by instructors to minimise risk. The rules are however routinely revisited every session at appropriate times so that pupils can recognise risk, why the rules are necessary, and learn how to be safe in the outdoor environment. Over the duration of their course they begin to subconsciously assess their actions for themselves. Thus enabling them to explore and discover independently while making informed decisions about how to deal with unfamiliar situations and challenges. This awareness of risk can then be transferred to everyday living which is an invaluable skill for life.
High instructor to pupil ratios ensure that pupils can stretch the boundaries of their learning and enable them to take the risk of learning that they may not otherwise be able to take in school, for instance, supporting one of their peers through an obstacle in a white water stream, or operating a belay system to support a peer on a climb up the rock face. Smaller group sizes also mean pupils have more time and support to try and master more complicated tasks such as route planning and navigating. With adults and instructors standing by to support and encourage if needs be, there is less fear of failing and more confidence to stretch their learning boundaries. Sessions are held in all but extreme weathers so over time a greater mental and physical resilience to the outdoors is developed.
What Are The Benefits Of Outdoor Education
Much research has been carried out into the effects of outdoor education. A great deal of it indicates the benefits to disaffected teenagers and learners that struggle in the formal classroom and learning environment. (See “Specialist Youth Services” on our web site: www.proactive-adventure.com Recent research has shown that outdoor education can have significant benefits for pupils in mainstream education as well. Some benefits identified were:
- Increased Self Esteem and Confidence
- Improved Social Skills
- The Development of Language and Communication Skills
- Improved Motivation and Concentration
- Improved Physical Motor Skills
- Greater knowledge and Understanding of The Environment
Increased Self Esteem And Confidence
An improvement in self esteem and confidence is demonstrated by a pupils willingness to try something new and feeling pleased with their personal achievements. Noticeable increases in self –confidence have been displayed in many pupils during our programmes. Pupils have been observed taking on new tasks effectively without asking for assistance and socialising more comfortably with their peers, particularly the pupils that were more timid at school.
Instructor & Leader Qualifications
All instructors hold multiple National Governing Body qualifications for the sports they lead. They also have at least three years post qualification experience. They are also trained in Child Protection, Dealing With Disclosure and Behaviour Management. On the team we also have qualified teachers, counsellors and social workers.
Improved Social Skills
During the course we have observed pupils develop an increase in awareness of the consequences of their actions on other people, and then choosing not to follow a negative course of action. They have also acquired ability to undertake activities with others sharing equipment and tasks to achieve a common goal. Teachers have noticed strong teamwork developing, and successful partnerships were formed during our courses between pupils who previously had not been able to work successfully together in the classroom.
Development Of Language And Communication Skills
Pupils have been noticed to develop more sophisticated use of both written and spoken language. This is promoted by the greater visual and other sensory experiences of a pupils taking part in adventurous activities.
Many pupils were quiet and reserved with unfamiliar adults around them in the early sessions. However, gradually as the programme progressed these pupils became willing to share ideas and feelings with the instructors and others in the group.
Improved Motivation And Concentration Skills
A number of pupils are already motivated to join such a project as ours and experience the challenges on offer. However even the most reluctant pupil seems to develop a keenness to participate in exploratory learning and new activities as the programme develops. An ability to stay focused on tasks has also been observed, even in pupils who have been described as having low concentration levels. We have found that the less formal and practical situation suited them.
Improved Physical Motor Skills
The physical skills employed during movement around outdoor activity venues and the participation in outdoor education promotes the development of stamina and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are also developed through the use of specialist equipment necessary for outdoor education. Recently we observed a pupil who found it very difficult to walk on uneven surfaces such as mountain trails and forest tracks. He had just joined the project and had only been used to walking on pavements and hard surfaces. After only four weeks he was happily tackling quiet technical gorge walks with confidence.
Greater Knowledge and Understanding of The Environment
Working and taking part in activities in the natural environment helps to promote a respect for the environment and an interest in their natural surroundings. For pupils who are on the project for a long time, completing a BTEC level 2 for instance, they will make observations and insights into seasonal change and will be able to identify different species of flora and fauna. In particular, one group enjoyed the smell of fresh wild garlic in spring. Many teachers have commented on pupils increased awareness of wildlife and their environments.
The Referral Process and Initial Sessions
Pupils are sometimes referred directly from schools but usually they are referred by a local authority panel or pupil inclusion officer. Single or multiple referrals can be made. We will send a simple referral form that asked basic information regarding educational and behavioural needs, and contact information on any other agencies involved. Sessions roughly follow normal school hours, and the referrer will decide how many sessions per week are needed. However we have found that more than two sessions per week is generally counter productive. Pupils generally work in groups of no more than five, all from the same geographic location, or more usually school.
Once this is received a visit to the pupil’s home is made by a senior member of Pro-Active staff to discuss the programme and answer any questions the pupil and parent/carer may have. We will ask the parent or person with parental responsibility to sign a consent form and then the sessions can begin.
The initial sessions are spent trying a selection of activities to find the activities which are most successful in engaging the pupils. During this period the team will also be looking at team dynamics and relationships to inform an individual support plan. The team meet every half term to review the plan and make changes as necessary, and progress reports are produced at the end of every term.
Depending on the length of placement on the programme an appropriate award or qualification will be engaged with. Pupils with up to 15 sessions the Bronze ASDAN is usually started, up to 30 weeks then we will move on to the Silver. For longer periods of time, generally the whole academic year, either the Gold ASDAN can be followed or the level 2 BTEC in adventure sports. Other options are the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, COPE or AOPE qualifications.
Towards the end of a pupil’s stay on the programme a key worker will be allocated to either support the pupil’s reintegration back into school, or to develop a pathway plan into further education, training or employment.
Pro-Active Adventure has over 10 years experience of working in pupil inclusion across several counties of Wales and some in England. We believe that we are very experienced and resourced to support “Positive Outcomes For Young People” For further details either call us or visit our web site.
Further Information, Underpinning Theory
It is generally accepted that a young person’s level of self-esteem is shaped directly by their experiences whilst growing up. Furthermore there seems to be a strong correlation between young people who currently have difficulties with relationships, school, the law and other similar social issues and a low level of self-esteem. The development of a healthy self-concept can be considered as a vital element of an individual’s personal growth. It will continue to be an influence throughout their lives and will provide a foundation on which their life and future experiences will be built. Coppersmith (1967) assessed hundreds of nine to ten year olds levels of self-esteem. He found that individuals with high levels of self-esteem were more confident about their own perceptions and judgements. They also expected to succeed at new tasks and were more ready to express their opinions. They were also doing better at school and were more often chosen as friends by other children, compared with those with low self-esteem. Children with high self-esteem were also found to have a more realistic view of themselves and their abilities; they were not worried about criticism and enjoyed participation. In contrast, children with low self-esteem were isolated, fearful, reluctant to join in, self-conscious, over-sensitive to criticism, constantly underrated themselves and tended to under achieve in school.
Adrienne Katz (1999) reported a further link between low self-esteem and emotional and behavioural difficulties recently in The Sunday Times, “Self-esteem levels are key to the future for a teenager. How they feel about themselves affects friendships, their approach to the new and unknown, and whether or not they are prepared to take the risk of learning, which possibly involves revealing a level of ignorance or making mistakes. A high self-image helps an individual to resist pressure from others, so there is no need to store up confidence by bullying.” Katz further reports that boys with low self-esteem seem more vulnerable to difficulties. She found 70% of boys showing low levels of self-esteem fell into one or more of the following categories: depressed, suicidal, in trouble with the law or alienated from school.
It has been shown that planned interventions can raise the level of self-esteem within individuals. However this proof mainly comes from the United States.
Researchers from the University of Idaho U.S.A. have carried out a Meta analysis on research-based literature concerning adventure programmes, during which 187 pieces of research work were examined. Findings supported the notion that participation in adventure experience programmes resulted in positive benefits such as enhanced self-esteem and a sense of personal control. This is a very comprehensive analysis of research looking at the effects of adventure courses. There is nothing like this level of research in the UK at the current time.
“Adventure based education is an innovative approach to teaching a secure sense of self, developing personal responsibility, and acquiring coping and communication skills. Furthermore, evidence shows that the rich experiential environments provided by adventure programmes facilitate effective transfer into everyday life, with growth continuing well after the immediate “buzz” of the programme.“ (Hattie et al 1997).
Our aim is to provide a meaningful development experience for young people with an underlying emphasis on increasing self-esteem. We will also openly explore communication, trust, giving and receiving support, risk taking, and how behaviour affects others around you. This will be carried out with a mixture of outdoor adventurous activities and development techniques incorporated in to a dynamic, interesting and fun course. We aim to unlock young peoples potential through challenging experiences in a supportive group environment. The staff has a supportive and structured approach that will set achievable challenging tasks, emphasizing personal responsibility and self care as the course develops. They will provide a safe environment in which the young people will experience control and a sense of empowerment and success.