Bristol CC Outdoor Education Centre situated in the village of Parkend in The Forest of Dean

Wednesday 21 March 2018

DFSC Spring 2018 Update

 Spring 2018 brought its challenges with snow and cold weather at times. And when it melted our pond flooded!
Despite this we carried on running some very successful outdoor learning courses, predominantly with Year 4 groups, who got on with things despite the weather. They had great fun and dealt with all the challenges with great resilience.
 A lot of our developments over the last few months have been the sort that don't visually stand out but are nevertheless important maintenance and upgrades, particularly for safety. E.g our main fire staircase has had new landing platforms installed and has been completely painted. It has gone form being white to black, to be less intrusive to the architecture of the building.

Also just visible, top right, is a new upgraded lightning conductor and surge protection device that have been installed to comply with new regulations.
 The stair treads all have new high visibility non-slip plates on them so that they can be easily seen.
 Also related to fire safety, we have been replacing all our bedroom fire doors with new more modern fire doors. There are also some new emergency lights in the building and again we have spent £000's upgrading some of our lighting to be more efficient and offer greater security and safety.
Another small electrical addition has been a new water boiler to the kitchen in the Garden Room. This now greatly facilitates making hot chocolate for 60+ students when they're having their disco or talent show evening. 
 In February we ran a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Inspection Training Course. This was attended by 12 Instructors from various Outdoor Centres around the country. It provided useful additional training in the best ways to inspect and record checks on all climbing related equipment.
 Every item is individually coded and reference to its serial number for inspection twice a year in addition to its pre-use check.

Obviously safety is a key priority when looking after our groups but we do still try to keep our activities exciting and adventurous and sometimes there remains an element of risk that is integral to the challenge. Our crate stacking is a good example of this and we have recently uploaded a new You Tube video of this in action - see below. Our risk/benefit assessment manages the main hazards but there remains the possibility of being hit by a falling crate or getting bumped when the stack collapses. An element of unpredictability keeps the activity exciting for all concerned. The benefits in terms of developed teamwork, communication skills, trust and cooperation etc. outweigh the risks and provide learning outcomes that would not be so easily attained with a mundane non-adventurous challenge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq3s_CPQQgQ 

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