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South West Moorland Leader Training Scheme (SWMLTS) syllabus

logo SWMMLTS

The South West Moorland Leader Scheme is a scheme operated and accredited by local authorities within the South West of England

Employers can use the scheme to demonstrate the competence of employees and volunteers as an 'Externally Accredited Award' in accordance with the Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority's statement on evidence of competence and the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974).

Section 1

SWMMLTS awards

The South West Mountain and Moorland Leader Training Scheme (SWMMLTS) is a scheme operated and accredited by local authorities within the south west of England.

Employers can use the scheme to demonstrate the competence of employees and volunteers as an 'Externally Accredited Award' in accordance with the Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority's statement on evidence of competence and the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974).

Participants may take part in some or all of the leader awards dependent on their needs.

Coastal and Countryside Leader

Approval to lead day walks in coastal and countryside areas in summer conditions.

Summer Moorland Leader

Approval to lead day walks in moorland areas in summer conditions.

Winter Moorland Leader

Approval to lead day walks in moorland areas in winter conditions.

Coastal and Countryside Camping Endorsement

Approval to lead camping expeditions at non-remote camp sites in coastal and countryside areas in summer conditions.

Summer Moorland Leader Camping Endorsement

Approval to lead camping expeditions in remote moorland areas in summer conditions.

National awards

Participants seeking a national award should consider awards offered by Mountain Training:

  • Lowland Leader award
  • Hill and Moorland Leader award
  • Mountain Leader award

Find more details of these awards from Mountain Training.

Guidance notes and definitions

South West

For the purposes of this scheme moorland areas of the South West also include the Brecon Beacons; excluding exposed ridges, gullies and steep ground.

Employers can deem awards under the SWMMLTS as appropriate to lead in similar environments outside the South West. For further advice employers should seek guidance from their Outdoor Education Adviser.

Winter conditions

Winter means when winter conditions including a combination of heavy rain, cold winds and low temperatures or, when snow and ice prevail or are forecast. This cannot be defined by a time of year.

Conditions which require the use of ice axes or crampons to protect the leader and other members of the party are outside the scope of all levels within the scheme.

Summer conditions

Summer means conditions anything not covered by 'winter'.

These are typically seen as fair weather days throughout the year. It should be noted that even during summer conditions a non-forecasted combination of wind, rain, low temperatures and poor visibility are a potential hazard for which the leader and party should be suitably prepared and equipped.

Leadership and supervision

The term leadership is a general term that refers to a spectrum of supervision where the leader has a clear legal responsibility to group members. This could be what is sometimes referred to as 'direct' supervision where the leader is with the group, or 'remote' where there is more distance between the leader and the group, or a mixture thereof. At all times, the 'leader' is responsible for deciding the 'method of supervision' based on a risk assessment of the group's skills, knowledge, weather, terrain, planned activity and any significant hazards.

Navigation

Throughout the scheme, participants are expected to be able to navigate with a map and compass alone. However there should be an awareness of other navigation technologies, for example a GPS or altimeter.

Common themes

Common themes running through all levels of the scheme are leadership skills, navigation skills, the legal responsibilities of a leader, Safeguarding, completion and implementation of risk assessments and safe operating procedures.

First aid

All leaders must hold a current first aid award (minimum of 16 hours) for their leadership award to be valid. It is the responsibility of the award holders' employer to maintain first aid records. Ideally the first aid training should provide a focus on casualty care in remote locations.

Quality walking days and areas

At assessment you will be asked to demonstrate via your log book, the required number of quality walking days.

The quality of a walking day lies in such things as:

  • the conditions experienced overhead and underfoot
  • the exploration of new areas
  • the terrain covered
  • the physical and mental challenge

Such days make a positive contribution towards a person's development as a competent leader.

Relevant logged experience is generally regarded as having taken place within the last 3 years and should include experience of group leadership.

Participants are asked to undertake walks in more than one area in this respect an area is a distinct geographical area, such as:

  • Dartmoor
  • Bodmin Moor
  • West Cornwall
  • Blackdown Hills
  • Quantock Hills
  • East Devon coast path

It's not possible to provide a list of each and every walking area, but the LA provider at assessment is responsible for ensuring participants demonstrate sufficient breadth of experience in order to operate safely within the remit of the award.

Exemption from training

Participants may request to be exempted from the training aspects of the scheme and apply for direct assessment at any level if, they satisfy the pre-assessment requirements.

Participants may have previously undertaken training for a national award such as those offered by Mountain Training England which may be treated as training for a comparable SWMMLTS award.

Any decision on exemption rests with the LA provider.

Participants should be aware that candidates that have not completed formal training (either SWMMLTS or MTE) have a statistically higher than average chance of deferral at assessment.

Definition of terrain

Coastal and countryside

Coastal and countryside environments using public rights of way and small, well-defined areas of common land or woodland. This may include small areas of land which may be ecologically described as moorland but where groups can easily retreat to non-moorland areas without significant hazard.

Coastal and countryside camping areas are non-remote campsites that have vehicular access and both tap water and waste disposal on-site.

Moorland

Large areas of open, uncultivated, non-mountainous high or remote country.

Moorland camping is camping expeditions in moorland environments at remote campsites, sometimes referred to as 'wild' camping.  Such campsites will be away from human habitation and without vehicular access, tap water or waste disposal facilities. Use of such locations will require self-sufficiency. 'Low impact' environmentally sensitive camping will require consideration of the impact caused by the use of stoves and toileting in fragile environments.

Which award is right for me?

This table is for guidance only. It should help you decide which is the right level of the award for your needs. Individual awards such as Duke of Edinburgh's Award produce their own matrices of qualifications and terrain and you should refer to these where appropriate.

Purpose of activityMinimum relevant award

Countryside walks for curriculum purposes or enjoyment of natural spaces.

Coastal and Countryside Leader

DofE training day walks in normal rural, open countryside or forests.

Coastal and Countryside Leader

DofE expeditions in normal rural, open countryside or forests

Coastal and Countryside Leader with Coastal & Countryside Camping Endorsement

DofE training day walks in DofE designated 'wild country (remote from habitation)'

Summer Moorland Leader

Moorland walks for curriculum purposes or enjoyment of natural spaces

Summer Moorland Leader

Ten Tors training walks

Summer Moorland Leader

Ten Tors training expeditions camping in non-remote locations

Summer Moorland Leader with Coastal and Countryside Camping Endorsement

DofE expeditions in DofE designated 'wild country (remote from habitation)' with remote wild camping

Summer Moorland Leader with Summer

Moorland Camping Endorsement

Ten Tors expeditions camping in remote locations

Summer Moorland Leader with Summer Moorland Camping Endorsement

Ten Tors walks in winter conditions

Winter Moorland Leader

Section 2

Core Syllabus (applicable to all awards)

Leadership and group management

The ability of candidates to demonstrate effective leadership and group management is an essential criteria for successful attainment of each of the awards within the South West Moorland Leader Scheme.

In order to become an effective leader, candidates must demonstrate that they have acquired the knowledge, skills and experience to enable, inspire and develop those individuals that they seek to lead and for whom they have a responsibility as a leader.

In order to be consistent with the Mountain Training Association, the South West Moorland Leader Scheme has adopted the following INSPIRE Leadership Behaviours as framework for training and assessment.

INSPIRE Leadership behaviours

I

Involve and motivate your group

N

Nurture an environment of group-focused behaviours

S

Set the example you want to see in your group

P

Praise and give constructive feedback to help individuals to develop

I

Insist on setting high standards (for the group and for each individual)

R

Recognise and respond to each individual's needs

E

Empower the group to create and implement their own solutions

(after McElligott, MTA: 2017)

During training for each of the awards, candidates will have the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of the following key leadership traits associated with each behaviour and a range of practical skills.

Involve and motivate your group

To involve and motivate your group you can:

  • explain to your group the specific aims you want them to achieve together
  • use encouraging and motivational language to enthuse your group
  • tell individuals how their strengths and abilities can contribute to these aims
  • demonstrate that you believe the aims are achievable
  • be consistent with positive, enthusiastic language, tone and action, open body language, appropriate eye contact
  • appreciate what motivates each person and tailoring your approach to build and maintain their motivation
Nurture an environment of group-focused behaviours

To nurture an environment of group-focused behaviours you can:

  • encourage your group to consider team goals ahead of personal goals
  • encourage negotiation, compromise and the importance of working together as a team to reduce the potential for conflicting goals
  • encourage group interaction and for individuals to think about others in the group
Set the example

To set an example you want to see you can:

  • model and reinforce the behaviours you want your group to develop such as wearing the appropriate kit, joining in, sticking to footpaths, leaving no litter
  • focus on the positive and using them as examples of good practice
  • be consistent in your behaviours to emphasise the standard you expect from others
Praise people

To praise people you can:

  • give appropriate and genuine praise
  • give feedback as soon as possible after the event or during the activity so that it is clearly associated with the performance
  • be specific about your feedback and praise; letting individuals know exactly what it is they're doing well and how well they're doing it
  • encourage individuals to reflect on their own practice and what they might do to adapt or maintain their own performance
Insist on high standards

To insist on high standards for the group and individuals you can:

  • set an expectation of high standards from the outset, brief your group well, let them know you have high standards for yourself and you want them to be the best they can be
  • use positive feedback to motivate or improve performance level
  • aim for excellence and commitment from everyone
  • set the expectation that everyone needs to actively participate and contribute
Recognise and respond to needs

To recognise and respond to each individual's needs you can:

  • guide your group so that they can improve
  • take time to get you know your group and appreciate who they are, their experience, their aspirations and their concerns
  • recognise the differences between individuals and understanding their needs
  • adjust scope of activity and/or environment to better fit needs of your group
  • be flexible in your planning and make sure you have variety and range to allow all of your group to develop
Empower people

To empower the group to create their own solutions you can:

  • encourage individuals to think for themselves
  • ask questions of your group and encouraging them to find their own answers
  • encourage your group to explore possible solutions and critically evaluate the most appropriate strategy
  • challenge your group to solve problems
  • allow space for your group to arrive at their own solutions and being prepared to go with it even if it isn't your preferred option
  • direct your group to other learning resources

Navigation

During training for each of the awards, candidates will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of navigational techniques and strategies. Having a well thought through navigational strategy before setting off will reduce errors, reduce delays and make the activity more enjoyable for all.

Destination

Think about:

  • where you want to go

Direction

Think about:

  • which direction I should be heading in
  • can I see it from here? Is it left or right, north or south?
  • do I need to take a bearing?
  • what the best route is for this group today

Distance

Think about:

  • how far am I going?
  • do I need to measure the distance and use pacing and/or timing?

Duration

Think about:

  • how long should this take me?
  • calculating using walking speed, adjust for height gain and terrain
  • do I need to start my stop watch?

Description

Think about:

  • what will happen en route
  • what will I pass? (tick-off features)
  • will I be going up or down?
  • will the terrain change?
  • verbalising your journey as a story

Destination (again)

Think about:

  • how you'll know you've got there
  • how will you recognise it
  • how you'll know if you've missed it (catching features)

Knowledge and understanding of navigation

During training the necessary navigational skills and knowledge specific to each award will be taught.

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • the nature of a map as a two-dimensional plan
  • how to use map symbols and scales, on a variety of maps
  • how to take a 6 figure grid reference for any given position and also locate such a reference on the map
  • how to orientate the map with and without a compass
  • how to use the orientated map to identify land features and indicate direction of travel
  • how to take a (grid) bearing from a map
  • how to take a (magnetic) bearing from a visible feature
  • how to relate grid to magnetic bearings and vice versa
  • how to choose appropriate navigation strategies and routes
  • how to use linear features (like tracks, walls, rivers) as handrails in simple navigation exercises
  • how to estimate distance on the map and by sight using visible land features
  • how to match major landforms like hills and valleys to their map representation
  • how to relocate using simple techniques on handrails and in open ground
  • navigation techniques to employ in poor visibility

Access and conservation

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • adopting a philosophy of minimal environmental impact
  • the multiple uses of countryside areas and conservation issues
  • the effects of human pressures on the environment and the impact of outdoor recreation
  • how and where to get information on access, for example land ownership, firing ranges, specially designated areas
  • legislation relating to private property, rights of way and common land
  • the Countryside Code

Hazards and emergency procedures

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • assessing significant hazards and risks associated with the activity and environment and their likely impact on the group
  • appropriate techniques for crossing water hazards safely
  • how to summon appropriate help from the emergency services

Equipment

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • appropriate personal clothing (leader and group) for the planned activity, environment and likely weather
  • emergency personal and group equipment for the planned activity and environment and any conditions you're likely to encounter

Organisation and responsibilities

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • legal responsibilities to parents/carers, to individual group members, to the group as a whole and to themselves
  • responsibilities to the employer, local authority or governing body and to the head teacher, local manager or other person organizing or approving the activity
  • responsibilities in the initial planning, for example getting parental consent, local authority and/or outdoor education adviser endorsement, relevant personal information of participants, insurance arrangements
  • responsibilities to members of the public

Weather

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • basic weather patterns that affect the UK, and an ability to make short-term forecasts from observed weather conditions
  • how to gain and interpret a local weather forecast, and apply its significance for the group on their route selection and level of activity

Expedition skills

Knowledge and understanding of;

  • the range of appropriate camping equipment for the planned activity and environment and any conditions likely to be encountered
  • the range of appropriate cooking equipment for the planned activity and environment and any conditions likely to be encountered
  • how to provide appropriate training for and supervision of the use of cooking equipment
  • appropriate meal planning, nutrition and food hygiene for the planned activity and environment
  • appropriate toileting, waste and hygiene for the planned activity and environment
  • safeguarding requirements and legal responsibilities for supervision of groups on overnight expeditions

Coastal and Countryside Leader

Scope

This award is the foundation level of the SWMLTS and is designed to provide an introductory level of knowledge, understanding and experience sufficient to lead groups safely and enjoyably in 'summer conditions' in coastal and countryside environments.

Syllabus

Find the core syllabus.

The syllabus content needs to be completed over a minimum of a 21-hour training course.

Pre requisites for training and assessment

Training

No pre-requisites other than an enthusiasm for walking and a genuine interest in leading groups on walks in coastal and countryside environments.

Assessment

You must:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • have a minimum of 10 days recent experience of 'quality walking days' to include a minimum of 2 day group leadership/assistant leadership experience including 1 day of poor visibility
  • pre-submit your logbook of experience plus satisfactory completion of risk assessment, route card and home study paper
  • hold a current 16 hr First Aid Award

Method of assessment

The participant will be required to show competence in the relevant skills and knowledge to demonstrate effective leadership during a walk of a minimum 4 hours duration.

Participants should note that the navigation standard required is equivalent to the National Navigation Award Bronze Navigator Award. 

Find out about the National Navigation Award Scheme.

Participants will also be required to complete an assessed written task. The time required for this is in addition to the 4-hour practical element.

Summer Moorland Leader

Scope

This award provides training and assessment in order to lead groups safely and enjoyably in 'summer conditions' in moorland environments of the south west of England and the Brecon Beacons.

Syllabus

Find the core syllabus.

The syllabus content needs to be completed over a minimum of a 21-hour training course.

Weather

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • the varying nature of weather in a moorland environment
  • the effects of changeable weather on the group's ability to perform the planned activity
  • the effects of changeable weather on the leader's ability to lead effectively

Equipment

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • appropriate group clothing and equipment for a moorland environment including additional spare/emergency clothing and equipment for changeable weather
  • appropriate leader's personal clothing and equipment for a moorland environment including additional spare/emergency clothing for changeable weather including unplanned and extended delays
  • appropriate leader's equipment for supervising groups in a moorland environment including additional spare/emergency equipment for changeable weather including unplanned and extended delays
  • effective and appropriate load carrying and packing

Navigation

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • appropriate route choices in challenging terrain
  • avoidance of significant water hazards
  • strategies to be used in poor visibility or darkness
  • avoidance of military training areas during live firing

Risk management

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • the effect of rainfall on water hazards
  • effective supervision of groups in poor visibility or darkness in remote locations
  • effective communication techniques with groups in remote locations

Access and conservation

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • the effects of rainfall and periods of extended dry weather on moorland environments
  • access arrangements under relevant legislation, for example the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 and the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000
  • military firing ranges and notifications of live firing

Pre requisites for training and assessment

Training

You will need:

  • Coastal and Countryside Assessment or 'equivalent' skills
  • an enthusiasm for walking
  • a genuine interest in leading groups on walks in moorland environments
Assessment

You will need to:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • have a minimum of 20 days recent mountain and/or moorland walking experience, on a variety of routes in more than one area. This must include a minimum of 2 days walking in poor visibility and a minimum 3 days group leadership/assistant leadership experience
  • submit your logbook of experience plus satisfactory completion of risk assessment, route card and home study paper before you apply for this course
  • hold a current 16-hour first aid award

Method of assessment

The participant will be required to demonstrate effective group leadership during a walk in summer conditions and to show competence in the relevant personal and leadership skills. The assessment walk will be a minimum of 8 hours.

All assessments require the participant to demonstrate navigational techniques that can be used in poor visibility.

Participants should note that the navigation standard required is equivalent to the National Navigation Award Silver level.

Find out about the National Navigation Award Scheme.

Participants will also be required to complete an assessed written task. The time required for this is in addition to the 8 hour practical element.

Winter Moorland Leader

Scope

This award provides training and assessment in order to lead groups safely and enjoyably in 'winter conditions' in moorland environments of the South West of England and the Brecon Beacons.

Syllabus

Summer moorland syllabus as per:

The syllabus content needs to be completed over a minimum of a 21-hour training course.

Weather

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • the varying nature of weather in a moorland environment in winter conditions
  • the effects of winter conditions on the group's ability to perform the planned activity
  • the effects of winter conditions on the leader's ability to lead effectively

Equipment

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • appropriate group clothing and equipment for a moorland environment including additional spare/emergency clothing and equipment for winter conditions
  • appropriate leader's personal clothing and equipment for a moorland environment including additional spare/emergency clothing for changeable weather including unplanned and extended delays in winter conditions
  • appropriate leader's equipment for supervising groups in a moorland environment including additional spare/emergency equipment for changeable weather including unplanned and extended delays in winter conditions

Navigation

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • appropriate route choices in challenging terrain in winter conditions
  • avoidance of significant water hazards after prolonged, heavy rainfall
  • strategies to be used in poor visibility or darkness and times of heavy rainfall or snow

Risk management

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • the effect of prolonged, heavy rainfall on water hazards
  • effective supervision of groups in poor visibility or darkness in remote locations in winter conditions
  • effective communication techniques with groups in remote locations in winter conditions

Access and conservation

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • the effects of prolonged, heavy rainfall and snow on moorland environments

Pre-requisites for training and assessment

Training

You will need to have:

  • summer moorland walking leader assessment or equivalent skills
  • an enthusiasm for walking
  • a genuine interest in leading groups on walks in moorland environments in winter conditions
Assessment

You will need to:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • have at least 40 days recent mountain and/or moorland walking experience, on a variety of routes in more than one area. To include a minimum of 10 days walking in poor visibility, a minimum 10 days group leadership /assistant  leadership experience and 10 days in winter conditions
  • submit your logbook of experience plus satisfactory completion of risk assessment, route card and home study paper before you apply for this course
  • hold a current 16-hour First Aid Award

Method of assessment

The participant will be required to demonstrate effective group leadership during a winter day walk and to show competence in the relevant personal skills. The assessment walk will be a minimum of 8 hours.

All assessments require the participant to demonstrate navigational competence in poor visibility so will be planned to take place at least partially in darkness.

Participants should note that the navigation standard required is equivalent to the National Navigation Award Gold level.

Find out about the National Navigation Award Scheme.

Participants will also be required to complete an assessed written task. The time required for this is in addition to the 8 hour practical element.

Coastal and Countryside Camping Endorsement

Scope

This award provides training and assessment sufficient to lead groups safely and enjoyably in 'summer conditions' on camping expeditions in coastal and countryside environments, using non-remote campsites that have vehicle access and access to both tap water and waste disposal. The term campsite can be applied to simple bunkhouses and camping barns, where similar services are provided.

Syllabus

The following syllabus content needs to be completed over a minimum of a 21 hour training course.

Read the core syllabus.

Expedition Skills

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • appropriate selection of campsite for group and planned activity
  • the range of appropriate camping equipment for the planned activity and environment and any conditions likely to be encountered
  • the range of appropriate cooking equipment for the planned activity and environment and any conditions likely to be encountered
  • how to provide appropriate training for and supervision of the use of cooking equipment
  • appropriate meal planning, nutrition and food hygiene for the planned activity and environment
  • appropriate toileting, waste and hygiene for the planned activity and environment
  • safeguarding requirements and legal responsibilities for supervision of groups on overnight expeditions
  • campsite organisation including siting of tents for group members and leaders
  • campsite routine and agreeing a relevant code of conduct including consideration for other campsite users and members of the public
  • selection and supervision of appropriate evening activities
  • safe management of stoves, fuel and open fires

Pre requisites for training and assessment

Training

Coastal and Countryside Leader Award. And, an enthusiasm and genuine interest for leadership of camping expeditions in the outdoors.

Assessment

Minimum age of participant; 18 years of age.

Minimum 2 nights camping experience including use of lightweight tents and stoves.

Pre-submission of logbook of experience plus satisfactory completion of risk assessment, route card and home study paper.

Method of assessment

The participant will be required to demonstrate competence in camping skills during 3 hours plus an overnight camp with a particular emphasis being placed on the safe use of stoves and fires, and general hygiene.

Participants will also be required to complete an assessed written task. The time required for this is in addition to the practical element.

Summer Moorland Leader Camping Endorsement Scope

This award provides training and assessment sufficient to lead groups safely and enjoyably in 'summer conditions' on camping expeditions in moorland environments at remote campsites.

Syllabus

The following syllabus content needs to be completed over a minimum of a 21 hour training course.

Core Expedition syllabus as per pages 17-18 plus:

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • Appropriate selection of campsites in remote, moorland environments for group and planned activity.
  • The range of appropriate camping equipment for remote camping expeditions in a moorland environment and any conditions likely to be encountered.
  • The range of appropriate cooking equipment for remote camping expeditions in a moorland environment.
  • Appropriate toileting, waste and hygiene for remote camping expeditions in a moorland environment.
  • Campsite organisation including siting of tents for group members and leaders for remote camping expeditions in a moorland environment.
  • Safe management of stoves, and fuel in a moorland environment with particular consideration for the prevention of moorland fires.

Pre requisites for training and assessment

Training

Coastal and Countryside camping endorsement or equivalent skills. And, an enthusiasm and genuine interest for leadership of camping expeditions in the outdoors

Minimum of 2 nights camping including use of lightweight tents and stoves.

Assessment

You will need to:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • have the Summer Moorland Leader Assessment or equivalent Mountain Training UK award
  • submit your logbook of experience plus satisfactory completion of risk assessment, route card and home study paper before you apply for this course

Method of assessment

The participant will be required to demonstrate effective group leadership during an expedition walk including at least one overnight camp in a remote location in summer conditions, and to show competence in the relevant personal skills.

Participants will also be required to complete an assessed written task. The time required for this is in addition to the practical element.

Revised December 2019.

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