Aiglon recently came out with flying colours from its adventure activities provision appraisal through Adventure Risk Management Services.
The assessment process, similar to that of the UK’s Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA), ensures that we constantly strive to follow the best possible safety management practices, allowing our students to challenge themselves outdoors and take measured risks.
Two major items stand out from the report this time: 1. The significant gains we have made over the years since previous evaluations, and 2. The quality of our staff steering the activities programme.
Expeditions are, without question, at the heart of Aiglon’s ethos and an essential element of the holistic education we provide. Furthermore, the way in which we carry out our adventure activities sets us apart. No matter the challenge it is therefore vital that we keep endeavouring to improve.
Over the last decade, outdoor learning has been progressively better integrated into the curriculum as a whole, thus enabling even more efficient educational synergies to emerge. Aiglon’s innovative management structure is further facilitating this transition towards a coherent learning experience.
September’s report, which was the culmination of a variety of in-depth staff and external-guide interviews, of analysis of pre-existing written material, and of direct activity observation, clearly highlighted that our staff are dedicated and passionate about their work. To quote the report: “The quality of the staff is of crucial importance in safety and risk management and Aiglon appears to be in a good position in this respect.”
Of course, beyond core safety concerns, it is also a delicate balancing act for staff to deliver activities that are more than purely fun and hopefully transformative. Students themselves even have the opportunity to train as expedition leaders for independent expeditions. Fresh eyes on existing processes - on the lookout for ‘lemons’1 - can only add to the success of our broad activities programme.
It is fundamental that we remain aware of how we deliver our programme, with thoroughly thought-out process guidelines and fine-tuned reporting, and simultaneously continually open to optimisations. We are actively assimilating the valuable advice encapsulated within this report.
Indeed, the inspector’s 360° review that transported him from open canoe rafting to exhilarating downhill mountain biking via an expedition campsite in Les Diablerets led him to see the even greater promise of the programme this year. We are, therefore, all equally very eager to see what the future holds for Expeditions - one of our school’s key raisons d’être.
1. Read more about James Raffan’s Lemon Theory in risk management here.