The Perse School

Perse teacher coaches the coaches on remote survival and navigation techniques

A Perse teacher has shared experiences gained on remote expeditions with the Perse Exploration Society with a group of coaches from across the East of England.

Ben Parker, Head of Outdoor Pursuits at The Perse Upper School, was approached by Canoe England to help train others at their Coach Update at the Mepal Outdoor Centre last weekend. The School organises many expeditions each year, from local camping trips to a canoe expedition on the lakes of Sweden.

The morning session saw coaches learning remote survival skills spanning fire lighting and water purification to the use of cutting tools and shelter building. Of most interest to many of the coaches was The Perse’s robust approach to the use of cutting tools with children which both encourages responsibility and self-reliance in an often overly cautious industry. Many were impressed by the simple approaches to safety that had made a big difference to pupil experience out of doors such as the use of welding gauntlets and abattoir gloves to prevent injuries from fire and sharp implements. For many coaches it was a freeing and confidence building experience.

The session ended with an impromptu ‘fire by friction’ session, with many participants impressed by the ease of this often overlooked method.

Over lunch Canoe England representatives gave a seminar on the environmental concerns of invasive species in UK waterways and the role canoeists can play in protecting our natural habitat. In the afternoon coaching moved on to navigation, with The Perse leading a session on how to help children learn skills like the use of map and compass alongside innovative teaching methods for students such as the ‘ABCDEF method’. Wrapping up the session, participants were asked to test their navigational ability on a micro-navigation course, with some outstanding results.

Mr Parker said of the day’s coaching “It was an excellent opportunity to share the knowledge and experience in outdoor education held by The Perse School Outdoor Pursuits team and an absolute pleasure to work alongside passionate enthusiasts and youth leaders in the outdoors industry. I also learnt a great deal about other teaching methods which I look forward to bringing back to The Perse.”

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