Are we all on the same page? Applying the Australian Adventure and Activity Standards and Good Practice Guides for a consistent approach to risk assessment and management in a University Outdoor Education and Recreation study pathway

Mr Joss Rankin1

1Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia


The introduction of a new study pathway in Outdoor Education and Recreation at a South Australian University aligned with the release of the Australian Adventure and Activity Standards and Good Practice Guide pre-release documents. This presented an opportunity to cast a fresh eye over existing risk assessment and management documentation and procedures as well as identify how to safely create a range of new experiences and opportunities to enhance student learning. It was found that existing documentation was the collation of many individuals’ interpretations and that it was a challenge to monitor whether staff were comfortable with the content and related responsibilities. With many staff engaged across the broader program, often for short periods of time or intermittently, it was thought that consistency in the construction, sharing, implementation and evaluation of risk-assessment and management would be beneficial to the student and staff experience. This presentation is a description of the process undertaken to align risk assessment and management planning with the Australian Adventure and Activity Standards and Good Practice Guides. It is also an opportunity to discuss how we might assist free-lance or casual outdoor instructors to enter a program with confidence related to organisational specific procedures.

Joss is a lecturer in the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University and a member of the Sport, Health and Physical Education teaching team. After some time working as an outdoor instructor and sport coach during his studies Joss worked in education for 9 years, predominantly as a Health and Physical Education and Outdoor Education teacher. His roles were in a range of schools in both regional and metropolitan South Australia as well as Cambridgeshire in England before moving to tertiary education to work as a lecturer in Health and Physical Education at the University of South Australia. In 2017 Joss moved to Flinders University and currently coordinates and teaches into Foundations of Physical Education, Introduction to Education in Outdoor Environments, Outdoor Adventures, Introduction to Outdoor Activity Leadership and Facilitating Learning and Development in Outdoor Environments. A major focus for Joss in beginning at Flinders University was to advocate for, design and implement their new offering in Outdoor Education. Joss has been involved in a range of sporting, physical education and outdoor organisations and continues to connect with schools through a range of partnerships. As a member of OEASA and ACHPER, Joss enjoys sharing his work at a range of conferences and continues to advocate for Health, Outdoor and Physical Education.

About OEA and Outdoors NSW

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA)  was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

Outdoors NSW is the go-to place for all things outdoors in NSW.

The peak body for the outdoors in NSW, the organisation, (formerly known as ORIC), represents the outdoor community, advances outdoor standards, safety and practices, and fosters greater participation in the outdoors.

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