University of Chester

Programme Specification
Adventure Sports and Coaching. FDS
2016 - 2017

Foundation Science Degree

Adventure Sports and Coaching.

Adventure Sports and Coaching (Reaseheath).

University of Chester

Reaseheath College

Reaseheath College

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

2 years

5 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Business and Management Sport and Community Engagement

QAA Foundation Degree Qualification Benchmark (May 2010). 

Subject Benchmark Statements for Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism (Unit 25).


Department of Sport and Community Engagement Module Assessment Board.

Wednesday 13th July 2016

The programme aims to:

  • provide a high quality academic and practical programme of study in Adventure Sports and Coaching, with learning opportunities for students from a variety of backgrounds, through utilising specialist facilities and resources on the Reaseheath College Campus.
  • provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required by employers in the Adventure Sports industry, through using teaching, learning and assessment strategies that underpin both professional and academic development.
  • offer flexible modes of delivery to meet the needs of students from a variety of backgrounds, close to their work and home.
  • provide a high quality academic and practical programme in the study of Adventure Sports and Coaching that remains relevant, valid and responsive to the needs of employers and students through maintaining and expanding effective partnerships with students, employers, professional bodies and sector skills councils.
  • provide a programme of study in Adventure Sports and Coaching that qualifies students for further study at Level 6, on the BSc (hons) in Sports Coaching offered by the University of Chester.
  • provide a degree programme that equips students with both the academic skills and required confidence to pursue and engage in further development and learning opportunities.

Level 4 :

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of UK coaching policies (SS4218).
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of coaching principles and practice (SS4218).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the underpinning physiological and psychological factors contributing to performance, adaptation and development in adventure sport (RC4022, RC4023).
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the legal duties expected of an adventure sports coach (RC4021).
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of child protection issues within a sports coaching session (RC4020, SS4218).
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the underpinning theories and principles of the recreational, educational, developmental and therapeutic uses of adventure sports and the outdoors (RC4020, RC4021).

Level 5:

  • Identify and apply a wide range of principles, concepts and theories of coaching, positive change through adventure and effective communication (SS5204, RC5022).
  • Demonstrate developing knowledge and understanding of specific coaching methods, behaviours and styles (SS5204).
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the coach-athlete relationship from grass roots to excellence (SS5204).
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles that underpin performance in the context of Adventure Sports (RC5021).
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of outdoor adventure and their use in educational, developmental, therapeutic and recreational programmes (RC5020).

Level 4:

  • Demonstrate an initial ability to evaluate the relationship between CPD, coaching initiatives and organisations (SS4218).
  • Demonstrate an initial ability to analyse the coaches’ role relative to the advancement of performance from both a psychological and physiological perspective (RC4022, RC4023).
  • Analyse the factors of risk and harm in sports coaching and develop knowledge of safeguarding, risk assessment and management (SS4218, RC4020, RC4021).
  • Develop and substantiate arguments by drawing on academic and practical evidence when evaluating the process and practice of sports coaching sessions (RC4022).

Level 5:

  • Analyse the appropriateness of a variety of research methods and discern between approaches to data collection (SS5202)
  • Analyse, interpret, summarise and present theoretical information and data in a competent and effective way (SS5202)
  • Critically develop and substantiate arguments by drawing upon a broad range of academic and practical evidence when evaluating the process and practice of coaching sessions and related issues in the sports industry (All modules).
  • Demonstrate an ability to recognise and critically reflect upon strengths and weaknesses in their own personal approach to a range of situations (SS5204, SS5211, RC5021, RC5022).

Level 4:

  • Demonstrate an ability to plan, deliver and evaluate effective adventure activity sessions (RC4020).
  • Demonstrate an ability to recognise and evaluate performance in adventure sports settings and offer points for development through corrective practice (RC4022).
  • Conduct risk assessments and apply appropriate risk management within adventure sports (RC4021, RC4023).
  • Utilise abilities developed on the programme to construct an effective CV and letter of application to increase likelihood of success in application for work in the Sports Coaching industry (RC4021, SS4218).
  • Demonstrate the skills required to be a competent Adventure Sports practitioner in a range of environments and activities (RC4020, RC4021).

Level 5:

  • Apply an increasing range of coaching techniques, methods and strategies (pedagogical, psychological and physiological) to ensure effective delivery at participation and increasing performance level (SS5204, RC5021, SS5211).
  • Develop and present a feasible research proposal demonstrating awareness of rationale, potential research designs (SS5202).
  • Select appropriate techniques/methods for the analysis and presentation of data (SS5202).
  • Develop an ability to lead and facilitate outdoor adventure activities to promote positive change (RC5022).

Additional Professional Qualifications and Awards

Students benefit from the opportunity to undertake a range of National Governing Body Awards alongside their vocational and academic studies, providing them with a significant advantage when entering the Adventure Sports Industry. Awards currently delivered by the Sports Department at Reaseheath include;

  • British Canoe Union Star Awards 1 – 3
  • British Canoe Union Foundation Safety and Rescue Training
  • British Canoe Union UKCC Level 1 & 2 Coach Awards
  • ITC 16 hour Outdoor First Aid Award
  • Bushcraft Level 2 Award
  • Royal Yachting Association Levels 1 - 3 in Sailing and Seamanship Skills
  • Royal Yachting Association Levels 1 & 2 in Powerboating
  • Royal Yachting Association Safety Boat Award
  • Mountain Training Hill & Mountain Skills
  • Mountain Training Lowland Leader Award
  • Mountain Training Mountain Leader Award (Summer)
  • Mountain Training Climbing Wall Award
  • Mountain Training Single Pitch Award
  • Archery GB Instructor Award

Additionally, the college has the capacity to offer both the Award and Certificate in Education and Training , which for students who aspire to work in an educational setting, offers them a significant advantage. As the resources and expertise to deliver these are in place at Reaseheath, this enhancement of the programme can easily be supported by careful timetabling, whilst the requirement for students to undertake 30 hours of teaching practice will be facilitated by the sport department’s association with a number of primary schools in Crewe and Nantwich and access to the department’s own FE students.

The sport department also offers students a number of extended residential courses aimed at developing their specialist skills and experience. Courses currently offered to our level 4 & 5 Adventure Sports students include,

  • Mountain Skills Course – based in North Wales
  • Winter Mountain Skills course – based in Aviemore, Scotland.
  • Open Canoe Expeditions in Scotland and Wales
  • White Water Kayak Courses in Scotland, North Wales and Europe
  • Skiing and Snowboarding in the European Alps
  • Offshore Sailing in association with the RONA Trust

These additional opportunities can enhance the potential for graduates to develop an exceptionally diverse and high quality profile and provide employers within the Adventure Sports Industry with high quality employees.

Level 4:

  • Demonstrate developing self-confidence to contribute to group discussions, seminars and practical activities (SS4219 specifically + all modules generally).
  • Apply research skills to approach both familiar and unfamiliar situations associated with the study of sports coaching (SS4219 specifically + all modules generally).
  • Use ICT skills such as word processing, spreadsheet and graphical presentation packages (SS4219 specifically + all modules generally).
  • Search various resources e.g. library, online databases, internet with guidance (SS4219 specifically + all modules generally).
  • Demonstrate an initial ability to undertake independent learning through the development of learning and organisational skills (SS4219 specifically + all modules generally).

Level 5:

  • Demonstrate effective communication, feedback and reinforcement within a work-based learning environment (SS5211).
  • Adopt a flexible approach to learning which includes effective group interaction and increasing autonomy (All modules).
  • Use ICT competently and effectively to analyse, present and communicate information and data (All modules).

The Foundation Degree in Adventure Sports and Coaching requires a total of 240 credits, 120 at Level 4 and 120 at Level 5. On a full time course of study this would usually take 2 years, whilst in part-time mode this would normally take 4 years (60 credits to be attempted each year of study).

Adventure Sports encompasses a wide and eclectic range of activities, undertaken for a variety of purposes in a diverse range of environments that present unique challenges, for both participants and practitioners. Hence, those who aspire to work in the Adventure Sports sector will require a broad skills base that allows them to operate competently and safely in these challenging environments and possess a variety of coaching skills to facilitate a range of different outcomes that encompass the recreational, developmental, educational and therapeutic uses of the outdoors. Consequently, an adventure sports practitioner will require a comprehensive understanding of not only their participants’ performance, but also their own and this key concept is embedded throughout the programme.

The Foundation Degree in Adventure Sports and Coaching has been designed to accomplish this through a programme that reflects level-related characteristics, as indicated by the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and subject benchmarks.  In respect of subject knowledge, emphasis at Level 4 concerns “describing” and “knowing about” fundamental principles that can be reinforced and developed when constructing rational argument and questioning skills. Level 5 encourages and promotes more research informed study, making reference to, and linking, complex elements of knowledge, and subsequently allowing students to demonstrate their own critical approach to data and evidence.  

The programme has a level of distinctiveness, in that it includes a clear focus on performance within adventure sports, alongside more common adventure sports and coaching modules, to provide a focus on understanding the performer as an athlete across all levels of ability, applying elements of sport science and coaching to enhance performance within a safe, equitable and suitable environment. Athletes within the discipline, for example, vary from elite slalom canoeists and arctic explorers, to novice climbers – each requiring a level of performance analysis, coaching and development. The programme will also provide opportunities for a range of additional vocational qualifications, required for employment in the industry, whilst enhancing students' skills through a unique and well-designed offer.

The programme provides a clear progression route for our level 3 students, many of whom have demonstrated a strong desire to continue their studies at Reaseheath. This will be facilitated through an efficient delivery model, using shared resources, delivery and content with other HE programmes delivered at Reaseheath.

The Foundation Degree in Adventure Sports and Coaching follows four themes designed to;

  • develop the academic skills required for current and future studies and deployment
  • provide a firm foundation of adventure sports and coaching theory, practice and application
  • underpin the development of employability skills through professional development and work based learning
  • the principles upon which performance are developed and applied.

How these themes articulate through the different modules across levels 4 and 5 is indicated below,


Level 4

Level 5

Academic Skills

SS4219; Academic Preparation and Development

SS5202; Research Skills for Sport and Physical Activity

Coaching and Adventure Sport Theory, Practice and Application

RC4020; Principles of Adventure Education

RC5020; Philosophy of Adventure

RC4021; Land and Water Based Adventure Sports

SS5204; Pedagogy for Sports Coaches

RC4023; Psychology for Adventure Sports

RC5022; Positive change through Adventure

Professional Development and Work Based Learning

SS4218; Professional Development for Sports Coaches

SS5211; Learning at Work II (Sports Coaching)

Performance Development and Application

RC4022; The Adventure Sports Performer

RC5021; Applied Performance in Adventure Sports

Overall, the emphasis of this programme is placed upon the development of knowledge transfer but also technical and practical skills. It pulls together the academic expertise of staff, which together with the extensive Adventure Sports facilities at Reaseheath, enables the delivery of a high-quality academic, vocationally relevant and applied programme of study. 

The programme structure herein endeavours to provide learners with module combinations which will allow them to develop and enhance core transferable skills that are relevant to the Adventure Sports industry, and allow them to explore particular roles that resonate with their career aspirations and specialist interests. For those students aspiring to progress and complete undergraduate studies at Level 6, this course clearly articulates onto the BSc (Hons) in Sports Coaching at the Warrington Campus of the University of Chester and enables further professional skills and knowledge to be developed.

Employability skills should be a core part of a student’s University experience and these encompass the attributes that help graduates to secure employment, enable them to respond to the changing demands of the workplace and contribute positively to their employer’s success. Their own progress in these skills is therefore essential as an outcome in the programmes of study. Employability skills include self-management, team work, business and customer awareness, problem-solving, communication and literacy, application of numeracy, and application of information technology. Additionally, students will benefit from the opportunity to undertake National Governing Body Awards that will enhance their employment prospects and underpin their future career development.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
RC4020 4 Principles of Adventure Education 20 Comp
RC4021 4 Land and Water Based Adventure Sports 20 Comp
RC4022 4 The Adventure Sports Performer 20 Comp
RC4023 4 Psychology for Adventure Sports 20 Comp
SS4218 4 Professional Development for Sports Coaches 20 Comp
SS4219 4 Academic Preparation and Development 20 Comp
RC5020 5 Philosophy of Adventure 20 Comp
RC5021 5 Applied Performance in Adventure Sports 20 Comp
RC5022 5 Positive change through Adventure 20 Comp
SS5202 5 Research Skills for Sport and Physical Activity 20 Comp
SS5204 5 Pedagogy for Sports Coaches 20 Comp
SS5211 5 Learning at Work II (Sports Coaching) 20 Comp

Certificate of Higher Education:  The award of Certificate of Higher Education shall involve the accumulation of 120 credit points at Level 4.

Foundation Degree (FdSc): The award of Foundation Degree shall involve the accumulation of 240 credit points, with not less than 120 at Level 5.



The Foundation Degree in Adventure Sports and Coaching is designed specifically to offer education and training to people who have not had the opportunity of a university education, but who will benefit both personally and in their career, by developing their work-related academic knowledge and higher-level skills. The standard admissions requirement is that candidates should be able to evidence achievement of ONE of the following qualifications:

  1. An appropriate BTEC Level 3 Diploma achieving a minimum of 72 UCAS points for 2017 entrants
  2. An appropriate Access to Higher Education course ‘Certificate of Achievement’
  3. 2 A/S Levels or 1 A Level

Appropriate NVQ Level 3, modern apprenticeship, work experience, and free-standing qualification that form part of the post-16 qualifications framework will also be considered.

Reaseheath encourages wider access and participation in higher education and applications are encouraged from those who may not have the necessary points/qualifications. The Programme Leader will be happy to discuss the requirements of the course and assess prospective students who do not meet the standard admissions requirement. Such assessment is intended to gauge the candidate’s enthusiasm and attitude to complete the programme and will be based on a combination of the candidate’s qualifications, experience and motivation. The assessment is likely to arise through a formal interview with the Programme Leader, or via a written personal statement/testimony.

 * The FdSc in Adventure Sports and Coaching is reflective of the defining characteristics of the Foundation Degree (QAA Foundation Degree qualification benchmark, May 2010) with its integration of employer involvement; accessibility; articulation and progression; flexibility; and partnership, underpinned by work-based learning, which makes the award very distinctive and meets the practical and technical skills of the Industry.  

* FHEQ Intermediate level descriptors (as cited by the QAA, 2004) have been used to develop the programme learning outcomes and have informed the development of the module learning outcomes, providing underpinning knowledge and skill at Level 4, progressing to greater application and evaluation at Level 5.  

* Skills Active Foundation Degree Sector Framework for the Active Leisure and Learning Sector and subject Benchmark Statements for Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism (Unit 25) have been consulted to guide in the development both of course content and module learning outcomes.

Skills Active, the Skills Council for the active leisure, learning and well-being sector, recognises that the outdoor industry sector gains its strength through its diversity. There are about 26,400 employees working in the sector across the UK and the sector has experienced excellent growth which is expected to continue, predicting growths of 3.5% per year. This is supported by the latest ‘Active People Survey’ which suggests that sports participation is up by 245,000. Skills Active recognise that although historically the outdoor sector has been seen to be about non-competitive activity, progression into further skills development and competition are part of the wider landscape linked into sport. Thus, the potential for growth and the diverse nature of the sector mean that graduates with a high quality and varied skills portfolio are likely to do well. Therefore, the rationale behind offering the Foundation Degree in Adventure Sports and Coaching is to;

• provide students with the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to be effective and safe practitioners in the outdoors
• allow students to develop varied coaching and facilitation skills that can be applied for a variety of purposes
• provide vocational pathways into higher education which are attractive to applicants with non-standard entry profiles, thus widening participation
• prepare students for further study at level 6 and beyond

Foundation degrees should "enable learners to benefit from the interpretation of ideas and the experience of practice, within the wider context of employment and one in which knowledge, understanding and skills are clearly integrated" (QAA: Foundation Degree qualification benchmark. 2004. p.8).

The FdSc in Adventure Sports and Coaching has been designed for both part time study, by people already employed in the industry, and for full time study for those aspiring to forge a career in this field. The modules are designed so that students are given credit for competences developed and utilised within their place of work, or during work experience.

Module delivery will make use of the specialist facilities on the Reaseheath Campus and local venues. Exceptions to this will be some aspects of the 'Learning at Work' module where students will clearly be off-site for a large part of their work experience. Appropriate expert mentorship exists in the workplace (this is a requirement for any valid placement) and regular tutor contact and support is available. Reaseheath's Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle) will be used as the learning framework throughout and will contain information on work schemes and links to support materials as well as providing a platform for communication.

On occasion UKCC / SCUK awards will be delivered on the Reaseheath Campus, but students are able to enrol on accredited courses elsewhere. The Department will 'signpost' and facilitate access to relevant courses on campus, locally and within the region.

Within all modules the core emphasis will be placed upon the development of students' cognitive, key and professional skills, and the application of academic knowledge and understanding in Sports Coaching work settings. Aims, learning outcomes and content will be reflective of this.

Reaseheath based learning will be delivered in the form of lectures, field practicals and workshops to provide the majority of subject knowledge and understanding, and of course to promote the development of academic skills. Seminars and discussion sessions will be used to promote formative communication with peers and tutors. A practical application of the acquired academic knowledge and understanding will be fostered through each students' work experience, which permeates throughout the whole of the programme. Strong tutorial support, mentoring in the workplace and visting speakers from the adventure sports and coaching industry will provide clarity of context.

Formative assessment features quite strongly at the start of the programme. This has been done purposefully in order to develop students' academic skills and confidence and to encourage to the development of more independent and autonomous learning subsequently. Summative assessment attempts to feature application of academic knowledge and understanding to the workplace as much as is possible.

A variety of assessment methods will be used within the programme and tasks will typically feature short objective / multi-choice tests, essays and structured reports, oral presentations, practical sports coaching, video analysis and reflective learning logs.

At level 5 there will be a greater emphasis on the development of cognitive and transferable skills and the use of academic literature to inform work related practice. Case studies, portfolios, seminar, group projects and a research proposal will feature in order to prepare students to engage in study at level 6 should they choose to progress further.

The programme content and development of a skills base is mapped against the SkillsActive framework for Foundation Degrees. The intention is to develop high quality graduates who will possess the intermediate Higher Education Skills identified as requirements for employment by the industry.  In short graduates of the FdSc Adventure Sports and Coaching programme will have the requisite skills, knowledge and understanding (as identified in section 26) to gain, maintain and purposefully develop a career in the Adventure Sports and Coaching sector.

A graduate will have developed a sound understanding of the principles employed within the use of Adventure Sports for a variety of outcomes and coaching within an Adventure Sports context. They will have developed skills to communicate information, argument, and analysis, using appropriate techniques to a variety of audiences. The competence gained through Work Based Learning and skills based modules will prepare individuals to perform procedures and skills effectively in their chosen industry. A typical graduate will be adaptable to the dynamics of modern business, be a core team player, demonstrate an ability to analyse and apply a range of methods for solving problems in the work place. It would be expected that graduates would be employed in a situation where the individual personal responsibility and decision making is an integral part of the job.

 Within the Adventure Sports Sector, graduates could consider employment in the following sub sectors: 

•  Outdoor Education: Local Education Authority Centres providing opportunities in utilising the outdoors, usually with school or other groups of young people;personal/group development or more formal school based curriculum.

•  Development Training: Similar to aspects of Outdoor Education but usually, though not exclusively, for adults from organisations;  development of teamwork skills, project planning etc.

•  Outdoor Recreation: Covers outdoor activities for enjoyment and adventure for all ages. Commercial and non commercial companies e.g. PGL, Acorn Adventure, NST travel and Exodus.

•  Exploration & Expeditions: covers a wide range of locations and different purposes. e.g. individual, school, recreation, education, charity, conservation and science based trips offered by specialist companies.

Students will also be provided with the opportunity to progress onto the third year of the BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching Degree at the University of Chester, Warrington Campus.

The Foundation Degree in Adventure Sports and Coaching fully embraces the University of Chester's commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity both, as an employer and an educational institution, for this purpose it has an Equal Opportunities Policy and appropriate codes of practice. 

The University has four approved Equal Opportunities Policies relating to: Freedom of Speech; Multicultural Education; Gender, and Disability.  It also has a code of practice and guidance notes on recruitment.  The Equal Opportunities Committee is responsible for monitoring the operation of the policies.  The aim of the policy is to ensure that all students and all members of staff at the University of Chester have equality of opportunity and are treated solely on the basis of their aptitude, ability and potential to pursue a course of study or to fulfil the requirements of a job.  The policy also aims to eliminate unlawful or unfair discrimination.  In particular, the University will ensure that no member of the community will be disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: sex; age (subject to University of Chester retirement policy); marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union, or socio-economic background.  It also aims to ensure that disabled people, or those with special needs, do not suffer unfair discrimination and are enabled to achieve their full potential.

The objective of the policy is a University which is open to all sections of the community, where people from all groups in society are represented at all levels, and in whose activities all members of staff and all its students can participate fully and equally for the benefit of the University of Chester.

The programme, specifically, is designed to be open to all who are sufficiently qualified to engage within it. As such, there are support mechanisms in place for students from the moment they enter the programme. The Department instigates a well established system of support, most noticeably, though not exclusively, through the Personal Academic Tutor system. In addition, students are represented on the Foundation Degree Programme Team, which meets twice per academic year, where issues regarding diversity and equality can be discussed. In addition, Teaching, Learning and Assessment strategies are deliberately varied in order to be as accessible as possible to all. Practical work can be modified to ensure that students of all physical abilities can engage appropriately with the intended learning outcomes. Aspects of the programme are also deliberately designed to discuss the myriad of ways in which race, gender, disability and age impact upon sport and exercise particpation.

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