Author Topic: Access for Intermediate School Cavers  (Read 1600 times)

Offline JohnMCooper

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2017, 05:10:06 pm »
Quote
Do CSCC have any rules re led groups or under 18's?

Don't know. However the draft CSCC Minutes of 16th September 2017 contains the following:

LIW David Rose appears to be pushing for access controlling bodies and regional councils to
reduce their minimum age restrictions to 13years. Will the CSCC representative raise this at
the next BCA meeting.

Not sure if that implies CSCC have an age limit or if it just refers to other access controlling bodies.


Offline BradW

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2017, 05:29:41 pm »
OK, BradW,  I'm pleased to note what you say about Aggie.

Happy to help, David.

It's the second time in a few weeks this has been pointed out to you, I think.  ;D

Offline David Rose

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2017, 05:44:57 pm »
Getting old, y'know. One forgets these things.

Actually I wasn't sure it was true until you helpfully provided that link - a South Wales caver told me after the last thread that it wasn't, but I didn't check. I think I will take Daniel down the main streamway and see how far we get. 

Offline David Rose

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2017, 05:49:32 pm »
I'm surprised to hear about these minutes, John M. Cooper. I had no idea I was mentioned in them.

I do stress that in caves where access is controlled - such as Longwood or GB - I would not support the idea that young teenagers should wander around without adults. In fact, I would support a minimum 1:1 youth/adult ratio, especially in caves where conservation is a big issue.

Would anyone from the CSCC like to contact me so we can have a chat about this?

Online Les W

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2017, 07:55:13 pm »
Do CSCC have any rules re led groups or under 18's?

CSCC has no rules for the caves it "controls".
Any rules that might exist are those required by land owners, not CSCC.

All the current access conditions to ALL Mendip caves (not just Caves that CSCC controls the access for) are on CSCC's website.
This is kept as up to date as possible.

For CSCC controlled caves see "CSCC Caves" in the access guide.
http://cscc.org.uk/wiki/doku.php?id=access:start
I'm a very busy person

Offline jasonbuckley

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2017, 08:12:30 am »
Thanks for these comments. I think at the heart of this is the problem that caves are individually managed and the focus for each one is on "access to" whereas the difficulty for returning youth groups is a general problem of "access for". If caving wants to get serious about rejuvenating its ranks while focusing starter trips on places such as Goatchurch, then some sort of Young Cavers Award, a bit like a proficiency badge in Scouts, that shows you have got a certain level of experience and opens up more possibilities might be a good thing.

It will also require a shift in the attitude to commercial operators, because unless clubs are willing to operate in essentially the same way as a commercial operator would, it's impossible for schools to sign off a caving trip. So access is going to be limited to kids whose parents are interested - though it sounds like even then it's rather inhospitable.

We have done Waterwheel in the past too which is a good one. Andy and I have talked about Eastwater so that's a likely one. Can probably put together a third trip in the Mendips from such places and then it will have to be Wales or a longer trip to Yorkshire by the sound of it.

A few responses to specific things. I don't think one can really criticise the young people for wanting to go to different caves rather than exploring the further reaches of the same one. If the caves are nearer to you or you are going under your own steam and it's inexpensive, then you can be relaxed about going to the same places and squeezing the interest out of them. But if you get to go once a year and your parents have to pay for you to go away for the weekend, it's understandable that you'd want to be in a new space from the start of the trip, rather than spending a large chunk of it in areas you've been before. The pleasure in caving is a mix of sporting challenge, aesthetic appreciation and the excitement of discovery, and if you have few opportunities for it, it's great  if those can all come together.

In terms of commercial/not commercial, I think it's a very crude distinction anyway. As I said in my post, I run an outdoor ed company (it's not my main income, and I'd be much better off if I concentrated on other more lucrative work) but these trips are just for fun. There was one occasion when think the trip cost me more than the it did the participants. On average over the years I have enjoyed free caving and have covered my travel to the school. I don't put in to my own company for the time on the caving trips, it's just the "wrapper" of insurance and so on that allows the trip to happen.

But why should it make a difference? I used to be a Scout leader and a teacher volunteer running DofE l. The trips I do now, both caving and DofE, are exactly the same activities. Scouting and other voluntary outdoor organisations are great, as are in-house school DofE programmes. But there aren't enough volunteers to meet the demand (fewer and fewer schools do DofE in-house), so commercial providers allow lots of young people to access outdoor activities who would otherwise go without. Because commercial providers are able to spend a lot of time on the work, they building up their expertise and that often feeds back into enriching voluntary activities. Lots of my instructors are still Scout leaders or do other volunteering.

I won't deny that the sniffy attitude some people have to commercial operators in the outdoors gets up my nose. Nobody is in it to make a fortune, but a professional instructor like Andy is responsible for thousands of days of young people enjoying caving who would otherwise never get the chance, and that's a good thing which I don't think is tainted in the slightest by his making a living from it. There are people working for charities that provide outdoor education who have had a far smaller impact, and who are paid a higher salary without the uncertainties of running a business, so I think the commercial/non-commercial split is a nonsense. What matters is the quality of the experience and the combination of participant competence/experience and supervision that makes for good safety and conservation.

Offline glyders

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2017, 09:31:35 pm »
It will also require a shift in the attitude to commercial operators, because unless clubs are willing to operate in essentially the same way as a commercial operator would, it's impossible for schools to sign off a caving trip. So access is going to be limited to kids whose parents are interested - though it sounds like even then it's rather inhospitable.
I'm not quite sure what you mean here. I don't have any problems getting a school caving trip signed off. I simply get a date booked in the school calendar, submit my risk assessment and related paperwork, then take the pupils on the trip.
I do also run an in-house award scheme for caving, similar to the NICAS scheme I am a course director for.

Offline Hammy

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2017, 10:02:53 pm »
It will also require a shift in the attitude to commercial operators, because unless clubs are willing to operate in essentially the same way as a commercial operator would, it's impossible for schools to sign off a caving trip. So access is going to be limited to kids whose parents are interested - though it sounds like even then it's rather inhospitable.

I can assure you that there are several schools and scouts who run technical and challenging caving trips in the Dales, Ardennes and the Vercors using school staff, scout staff and professional instructors to enable this to happen.

Offline mikem

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2017, 10:54:15 pm »
He's talking about clubs not allowing under 18s to go caving (& then wondering why they don't have younger members coming through)

Mike

Offline jasonbuckley

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2017, 06:42:15 pm »
Of course some schools are lucky enough to have in-house staff with the necessary caving experience and qualifications; the vast majority of schools don't, so it's not really a solution. Others are close to areas such as the Dales where access is more favourable, but what if everywhere had the same restrictive access as the Mendips? For a lot of schools, the Mendips is the obvious area to visit, and the only way they are going to do so is via commercial operators. For young people to really get the caving bug, it's good if they can make repeated and progressively more challenging trips.

To make a specific, positive proposal, what about some caves being designated as:

No U18s unless they have already had a minimum of x days caving experience and there is an adult ratio of 1:y.

Anywhere that required 4 days caving experience would eliminate the great majority of commercial trips, but it would be possible to use unrestricted sites in order to reach that threshold without much repetition. I would guess that well over half the commercial trips at least are one-off days or weekends so that the numbers wanting to go beyond the usual places would be quite small. I'm not sure you'd even need any additional restrictions on commercial groups if the same experience requirement was extended to adults. I can't imagine many people book up lots of days with a commercial provider before simply joining a club.

For sites where conservation is sensitive, a high adult to child ratio could be specified, or the minimum number of days could be higher.

I expect someone has suggested such a scheme before, but I can't see what the downside is, unless you particularly want to keep things exclusive.


Offline glyders

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2017, 05:17:03 pm »
I suspect a big problem with getting a scheme like that would be how to prove they were sufficiently experienced/competent. I can imagine landowners and managing bodies getting worried about what that would involve and taking the easy option of using age.

An experienced caver known to the access body vouching for the young caver would be OK for those who were known by such a person, but it wouldn't help in the situation described. It would also be even more cliquey than things are already in many areas.
Perhaps a quick test like climbing walls do on registering. But who would administer that test and what would it involve?

Now, you could go down the NGB awards route (like using an RYA powerboat certificate when hiring a RIB) but that seems rather unpopular in the caving community. I'd actually quite like such a thing. It could be added as an alternative option for access - you have to be 18+ or hold suchandsuch award.
But it is unlikely to happen. There would be a big worry that it would be imposed as a requirement for access (believing insurers and HSE would like it). However, that was a worry for walking awards and climbing awards and that hasn't happened - all its done is give more people the skills to stay safe.

Offline crickleymal

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #36 on: November 25, 2017, 11:34:28 pm »
He's talking about clubs not allowing under 18s to go caving (& then wondering why they don't have younger members coming through)

Mike
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The problem is having people signed off as CRB checked.  You have to have enough people to cover a variety of trips  and it costs money. Plus  CRB  acreditation never used to be transferable  so I might be checked at work but that's not valid for my hobby so more expense.
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2017, 06:51:11 am »
CRB no longer exist, it is now Disclosure & Barring and is only relevant to employers. There is no requirement whatsoever for clubs to go down this route, and IIRC never has been. The requirements from the POCA/BCA CPP kick in if there are regular events involving children and/or just a lone adult supervising under 18s. Providing caving to a group of under 18s on an ad hoc basis with multiple adults running the trip is perfectly OK and non-problematic.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2017, 07:02:40 am by Cap'n Chris »

Offline mikem

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2017, 10:12:06 am »
DBS/CRB checks for volunteers are free (although there may be an admin fee depending on where you get it done).

The discussion wasn't about clubs necessarily taking under 18s caving, but making access possible for them - otherwise they are going to find other interests by the time they are old enough.

Mike

Offline Pete

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #39 on: November 29, 2017, 01:55:45 pm »
A little further I appreciate (carry on the M4 for a while longer) but in the Clydach area you have Clogwyn which is excellent for out and out novices, Eglwys Faen and Ogof Pen Eyr which would make for a nice weekend of caving for a variety of levels and would also be convenient for Agen Allwedd as mentioned above!

Offline 2xw

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #40 on: November 29, 2017, 02:27:49 pm »
I suspect a big problem with getting a scheme like that would be how to prove they were sufficiently experienced/competent. I can imagine landowners and managing bodies getting worried about what that would involve and taking the easy option of using age.

An experienced caver known to the access body vouching for the young caver would be OK for those who were known by such a person, but it wouldn't help in the situation described. It would also be even more cliquey than things are already in many areas.
Perhaps a quick test like climbing walls do on registering. But who would administer that test and what would it involve?

Now, you could go down the NGB awards route (like using an RYA powerboat certificate when hiring a RIB) but that seems rather unpopular in the caving community. I'd actually quite like such a thing. It could be added as an alternative option for access - you have to be 18+ or hold suchandsuch award.
But it is unlikely to happen. There would be a big worry that it would be imposed as a requirement for access (believing insurers and HSE would like it). However, that was a worry for walking awards and climbing awards and that hasn't happened - all its done is give more people the skills to stay safe.

It's unpopular because it adds an unreasonable burden of expense. NICAS is expensive and further on up the CWA and SPA more so. Caving shouldn't be about whether you can afford an instructor.

Go the other way, it is simpler to just let U18s go underground accompanied by an adult. Age is not a factor in safety (you dont exclude the over 70s on the presumption of infirmity because that would be ridiculous)

Offline glyders

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Re: Access for Intermediate School Cavers
« Reply #41 on: November 29, 2017, 05:34:41 pm »
It doesn't have to be expensive (we charge £5 per pupil for NICAS - 50p over costs, with the extra being used to give it free to those who can't afford £5).
However, I completely agree that a qualification should not be a requirement of access. I was suggesting that it would be a possible way of satisfying access controllers that someone was competent to allow in a sensitive cave that wasn't based on age.