Active NAtion


We know that taking groups of young people away form home, whilst rewarding, is a lot of work for the teachers and group leaders who make these experiences happen. 

So, we’ve got it all covered. Click through the below check lists and let us help you plan your visit.

School trips make up some to the most pivotal school memories, and so much learning can be un-packed from these key experiences. Choosing the right session to achieve a desired outcome can be will help maximise the experience of students visiting. If you’re unsure of what learning outcomes you are looking to achieve from you visit, please contact the lovely sales team for assistance.

SWAC is an approved centre on the HSE’s AALA system. We are fully compliant with guidelines for school trips and visits set by HSE, Hampshire outdoors and the Royal Yachting Association. On here you will see evidence of our AAL’s licence, our Learning outside the classroom quality mark and our Ofsted compliancy. 

Once your booking is complete you will receive consent forms that need to be signed by parents/ guardian for the students. It is important that parents/ guardians read the whole form carefully, especially where they give consent for their child to take part in activities that come with an element of risk. Medical details should be given comprehensibly. Fully disclosing won’t exclude a child from participating, just allow the Delivery team to make reasonable adjustments to the activity.

These forms should then be returned to us, prior to your booking commencement.

The outdoors by nature is subject to all of British weather. We recommend that you come prepared for your visit. The majority of our activities are water based and therefore dressing appropriately will help you enjoy your stay.

> A spare change of clothes

> Swimwear for under a wetsuit (which is provided)

> Towel

> Spare trainers (which you don’t mind getting wet) or water/beach shoes

Please bring enough food and water for your visit, keeping in mind that being on the water will make you burn more calories than usual.

We recommend that you leave personal items of value at home, and take no responsibility for the loss or damage of such items.

Personal medication that needs to be taken in session times, must be brought on to site. If students have identified Ventolin inhalers, or epi-pens on their medical form then they must be taken on session. Failure to do this can lead to the student being unable to participate. The instructor can transport them in a waterproof container if required.  Pastoral care of tablet medications will sit with the visiting supervising teachers.

As we all know, the Great British weather can be unpredictable! As a watersports centre will carry on in all weather conditions, with the exception of high winds or lightning. Its recommended that you brief the students that they will be outside for their session, and they should dress accordingly. 

It is reasonable to offer an alternative session in these circumstance to insure that you are achieving your desired learning outcomes. We can only offer refunds or rescheduling if we chose to cancel the session, as part of our Guarantee.

There are so many benefits of brilliant residential stays, creating valuable bonding experiences and great memory’s that foster independence. We offer a school camping experience (via our sister site, Woodmill Outdoor Activities Centre) that still has the comforts of good showers and a fully functional kitchen.  Young people can expect to share a tent with a class mate, however we have tent capacity for up to 6 to share. Sleeping mats and bags must be provided by the students, any tents are provided by Woodmill – unless your school wishes to bring their own!

Overnight pastoral responsibilities lie with the overnight teachers, however we all ways have a first aid instructor staying on site at your disposal. This instructor will run an evening campfire, and be responsible for securing the site. The overnight instructor will have a line of communication to the nominated point of contract, this will usually be the chief instructor. (Unless deputized to a lead instructor).

Our purpose built watersports venue allows us to provide multiple sessions and activities at any one time. Based convinently at the opening of the River Itchen, we have full access to Southampton Water and the River Itchen, at all states of the tide!

We have toilets and shower facilities available with unlimited hot water and heating. A kitchenette is available for use by teachers and includes hot and cold filtered water, a dishwasher, microwave and crockery. We also have a fully functional Hoise available, via the pontoon, which is serviced and inspected every 6 months in line with LOLER regulations.

We have wetsuits and overalls for all Watersports equipment, and PPE (personal protective equipment) will be issued before every activity that requires it. We have sizes to fit everyone, but if you have concerns about any students taking part in an activity please speak with our lovely sales team.

All of our equipment is inspected to LOLER and RosPA regulations to comply with our AALA licence. Equipment goes through 3 monthly, monthly and pre-use checks before it is used to any person to use.  

If any of your students have any food or diary requirements please let a member of the sales team know when making your booking or submitting your paperwork. There is also a box on our consent forms that you can highlight any allergies or intolerance’s – please ensure this is marked clearly.  

The Adventurous activities at SWAC are not without risk. We have a comprehensive safety management structure, to make the activities as safe as reasonable. To make them completely safe, we wouldn’t do them. Risk, supporting students to accept reasonable risks and developing decision making are what we at SWAC do best.  

In preparing your own RA for a visit to SWAC, consider the pastoral needs of the students. Our instructors are trained to prioritise safety above all other objectives, as visiting staff you can support by the following;

> Role modelling positive behaviours. (Students should find the sessions challenging.)

> Re-iterating any safety instructions given by the instructor.

> Encouraging a safe (emotional) environment for Challenge.

Using our Risk matrix can help you do this.

As part of our safety management systems we hold an AALA Licence, who provide licences for under 18 provision on behalf of Adventure Activities Licensing Authority. This inspection takes place every 2 years and covers our Watersports provision. In addition to our AALA Licence we’re a recognised Royal Yachting Association Training Centre – meaning you’re in the best hands.

Our instructors all hold a first aid certificate and safeguarding certificate as standard. All instructors are continuously assessed for competence, to ensure high levels of service quality. At Woodmill we pride ourselves on being excellent outdoor practitioners, and will be happy to support your students in meeting their learning outcomes. 

Whist visiting SWAC, the role of safety and delivering the session outcomes lies with the instructor.

Behaviour management and pastoral care will lie with the visiting teachers.

Instructors will always support behaviour needs and pastoral care, but their primary focus is always the safe delivery of sessions. They are trained to stop the session if they do not feel they are able to keep students safe with regards to behaviour and failure to follow instructions.

We recommend that you take an active role in the session to fore fill the expected pastoral role, however is does not require you to put yourself in an environment that you find distressing. Being engaged in the session is of great benefit to your students, as they have the already build rapport with you. Please speak to our instructors of how you can best fore fill pastoral requirements during your visit.

All of the instructing staff at SWAC are First aid trained, and have incident management training. Fire drills are regularly completed and the Duty Manager on site is always a qualified instructor, too. Should an emergency arise sessions will stop, and instructors will take their groups to the muster points, and await further instructions from the duty manager.

SWAC will follow a serious incident management plan, should it be required, which will be implemented by SWAC staff in the case of any of the following;

> A call to the emergency services due to or resulting in significant business interruption

> Serious injury to any person, requiring urgent hospital treatment

> Resuscitation [CPR] or fatality

> Gas, water, chemical, toxic gas, sewage leak/pollution incident

> Bomb threat or explosion

> Any act of terrorism (or potential/attempted terrorism) Notified or unexpected loss of gas/electricity/water for an hour or more

> Legionella, Cryptosporidia or similar detection/occurrence/report

> Fire or other premises evacuation (but not false alarms)

> Structural failure and/or severe weather damage resulting in cessation of business (or closure of major part of building)

> Use of the premises as part of the local Civil Emergency procedure

> Any other incident that is deemed serious by the DM.

Our staff are trained to manage incidents on both Water and in regards to the Itchen Bridge and dryside activities. In these scenarios they will assume the lead, unless relived by a more senior member of SWAC staff.

Our instructors strive to be high quality educators and deliver high quality watersport sessions. All of which have clear safety standard that the instructor will as minimum deliver comprehensively throughout the session. 

As part of all sessions instructors will;

> Set out the aims for the session

> Brief participants of expectations of behaviour, and any housekeeping expectations.

> Give a comprehensive safety brief, identifying roles, and actions that will be taken by any staff involved.

> Deliver a session that links to the agreed aims of the session.

> Review the session with participants to pull out the learning.

The minimum age for participants on a SWAC Schools session is 8 Year old, this is based on the capabilities of a young person following instructions, as well as sizing requirements for PPE, such as buoyancy Aids.

It is not a requirement for students be able to swim to take part in Watersports sessions, it does however have to be identified on the consent form. All Watersports session will take place in a Buoyancy Aid, life jackets can be made available for students with different needs.

Offsite trips are common at SWAC as we are fortunate to have a range of craft, activities and expert instructors. River trips starting at SWAC are Risk assessed like our onsite facilities, and dynamically assessed by the instructor on the water. The local waterways come under our normal operating areas, where the duty manager is notified that the group are leaving site. The boundaries are set within our Standard Operating Procedures and all team members are inducted in these.

For trips further afield an offsite trips form is completed by the instructor in charge. As well as a Comprehensive risk assessment, completed off the back of a reccy of the area. Instructors in charge of these trip will hold Senior Dinghy Instructor , RYA Safety Boat and an watersport focused First Aid Qualification.

We’re proud to be able cater to, and make our delivery bespoke to a variety of students including those with an additional needs. The instructor team have experience with young people with behavioural needs, ASD, learning disabilities as well as different physical needs.

To help use tailor our sessions to any students with additional needs, please let the lovely sales team know at the time of booking. We can make reasonable adjustments to the session, if they still sit within our standard operating procedures.  

SWAC prides itself on having affective approaches for delivering sessions for students with behavioural needs. The behavioural management strategies should be handed over to the SWAC team before arrival to create an effective approach to student management. The responsibility for managing behaviour lies with the visiting staff, though it will be supported by instructors throughout the session.

Our site has wheelchair access to the majority of activities, and has an access hoist, via the pontoon. The majority of sessions can be adapted to those with different physical needs with the exception of our our Stand Up Paddleboard and Water Carpet sessions.

At the point of booking please make the team aware if there are any cultural or religious requirements that you will need. The Team can build in reasonable adjustments such as time for prayer, same sex instructors, eating requirements and religious dress. Please let us know at the point of booking.

Our consent forms ask for expectant mothers to identity themselves to instructors, this helps them tailor the session and not put the expectant mother at any unforeseen risk. Expectant mothers will not be allowed to participate in certain activities, due to risk attached and stress on the abdomen area. Expectant mothers are advised that outdoor activities come with an element of risk that still remains residual once control measures are put in place.


Our lovely sales team are always here to chat if you’ve got questions prior to your trip. They’ll also check in with you a few days before to ensure you’ve got your kit list and are all ready to arrive!