Shrewsbury Colleges Group


Teaching Institution Awarding Organisation
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Intermediate Awards


Mode of Study


Location of Study

London Road Campus

Course Length

Two years (One year HNC option)

Total Guided Learning Hours (GL) – 960 Hours
Total Qualification Time (TQT) – 2400 Hours

Course Code




QAA Subject Benchmarks


HECoS Code


Accreditation Type


Accreditation Details

The Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals in Sport RQF, have been developed with career progression and recognition by professional bodies in mind. It is essential that learners gain the maximum benefit from their programme of study.

Criteria for Admission to the Programme


All applicants are individually assessed on their qualifications, skills and experience.  However, a typical A Level, BTEC or other Level 3 study programme offer will be a minimum of 64 UCAS tariff points or equivalent through outdoor qualifications. GCSE or equivalent in Maths and English or willingness to work towards. International applicants require a current IELTS 5.5 score, with no single skill being below 5.

Accreditation may be given for prior learning both academic and work-based.

Minimum/Maximum Numbers

Minimum 6                   Maximum 16

Applicants will be advised w/c the 27 August 2021 if insufficient numbers have been recruited to make the course viable.

Course Fee

£7,425 for full-time study.

Please refer to the published fee policy for information on international fees, when your fees are due and how they will be collected.

Additional Costs

Occasional trips, qualifications and sports facility use.

Date of Production

February 2020

Proposed Revision Date

June 2021


This Programme Specification contains an overview of HND in Outdoor Leadership and how it will be taught and assessed at Shrewsbury Colleges Group. At the end of the document, you will find some more general information on the support and guidance available to you whilst studying with us. This document should be read in conjunction with the BTEC Higher National Specification for this award.

We hope you choose to come and study with us at Shrewsbury College and take advantage of the opportunity to access Higher Education locally in Shropshire. 

Welcome from Curriculum Leader:

Jackie Swan

Thank you for choosing Shrewsbury Colleges Group for your HE qualification and experience. You will be studying one of two pathways available, Sports or Outdoor Sports. You will be working with some of the finest subject industry specialists in the area that will work with you to support both your academic writing and knowledge as well as support your professional and practical skills.

The team and I look forwards to working with you and wish you a challenging and enjoyable experience with us.

Jackie Swan

At Shrewsbury Colleges Group we are committed to providing vocationally relevant arts education for the creative industries and enabling our students to both enjoy a creative journey and gain crucial employability skills within their chosen area. We strive with our students to make the creative journey from student to working professional achievable and enjoyable. All creative courses provide challenge and enable our students to both express themselves and understand their work in a wider context through research and analysis of the work of others. We are building our visiting lecturer and study visits programme, to provide a programme of both personal and professional development for all of our students. In Creative Arts we recognise that not all of our learners are looking for a career change and perhaps have come to Art & Design after a full working life, for these students we involve them fully in the activities within our faculty and they provide a great sounding board for younger students. A diverse mix of ages, abilities and outlooks provide for a healthy and dynamic creative atmosphere that benefits all our learners. We welcome you and look forward to working with you throughout your course here at Shrewsbury Colleges Group.

Staff Profiles

  • Jackie Swan

    Jackie Swan Curriculum Leader

    Telephone: 01743 342663
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    Jackie is curriculum leader for Sports, Public Services, Health and Social Care, Travel and Tourism, Hospitality and Catering, Hairdressing and Beauty. Jackie has worked for the college for over 20 years starting as a teacher and in management roles within the college for the last 12 years.



  •  Gareth Thomas

    Gareth Thomas Course Leader

    Telephone: 01743 34223
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    Gareth works within the sports department at Shrewsbury Colleges Group and has over 15 years of experience in the outdoor industry.

  • Victoria Thornton

    Victoria Thornton HE Study Support Tutor

    Telephone: 01743 342553
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    Victoria provides support to HE students with their studies, such as assignment planning, presentation skills, reading and taking notes etc as well as with applications for DSA.

  • Michelle Dawes

    Michelle Dawes Higher Education Lead

    Telephone: 01743 342439
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    Michelle manages and oversees the quality of Higher Education at Shrewsbury College.

Overview of the Award – what does the course involve?

The Higher National Diploma (HND) is a Level 4 & 5 qualification made up of 240 credits. It is usually studied full-time over two years.
The Higher National Certificate (HNC) is a Level 4 qualification made up of 120 credits. It is usually studied full time over one year.

The qualification provides a thorough grounding in the key concepts and practical skills required in their sector and their national recognition by employers allow direct progression to employment. A key progression path for BTEC HNC and HND students is to the second or third year of a degree, or
honours degree programme, depending on the match of the Edexcel BTEC Higher National units to the degree programme in question.

Programme Aims

Aims of the programme:

  • To equip students with sporting skills, knowledge and the understanding necessary to achieve high performance in the outdoor industry
  • To provide education and training for a range of careers in the outdoors, including instructor manager, the military, teaching, activity leader and physical training instructor
  • To provide insight and understanding into the diversity of roles within Sport and outdoors, recognising the importance of collaboration at all levels
  • To equip students with knowledge and understanding of culturally diverse organisations, cross-cultural issues, diversity and values
  • To provide opportunities for students to enter or progress in employment in the outdoors, or progress to higher education qualifications such as an Honours degree in outdoor leadership or a related area
  • To provide opportunities for students to develop the skills, techniques and personal attributes essential for successful working lives
  • To support students to understand the local, regional and global context of the outdoor industry and, for those students with a global outlook, to aspire to international career pathways
  • To provide students with opportunities to address contemporary issues facing the industry, and society at large, with particular emphasis on sustainability and the environment, recognising the role that outdoor instructors play in addressing these issues
  • To provide opportunities for students to achieve a nationally recognised professional qualification within their chosen area of specialisation
  • To provide opportunities for students to achieve National Governing Body qualifications
  • To offer students the chance of career progression in their chosen field, with particular emphasis on achieving management level positions, professional recognition and beyond
  • To allow flexibility of study and to meet local or specialist needs
  • To offer a balance between employability skills and the knowledge essential for students with entrepreneurial, employment or academic aspirations
  • To provide students with the context in which to consider professional ethics and their relation to personal, professional and statutory responsibilities within the industry.

Programme Learning Outcomes

The Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Outdoor Leadership offers students an introduction to the subject area via a mandatory core of learning, while allowing for the acquisition of skills and experience through the selection of optional units across a range of occupational sectors at Level 4. This effectively builds underpinning core skills while preparing the student for subject specialisation at Level 5. Students will gain a wide range of sector knowledge tied to practical skills gained in research, self-study, directed study and workplace scenarios. Students can then develops these skills during National Governing Body qualifications.

At Level 4, students develop a broad knowledge and awareness of key aspects of Sport and outdoor through three Core units, which include one unit assessed by a Pearson-set assignment. The units are:

  • Physical Activity, Lifestyle & Health
  • The Sport Landscape
  • Project Management (Pearson-set unit).

Depending on the Specialist pathway at Level 4, students will undertake a further two Specialist units (related to their Level 4 Pathway) from:

  • Risk & Safety Management in the Outdoors
  • Outdoor Learning
  • Activity Leadership
  • Inclusive Sport
  • Operation Management & Leadership
  • Sport Marketing.

The Centre can also choose three further Optional units at Level 4 from the following:

  • Environmental Issues & Ethics
  • Small Craft Navigation
  • Work Exposure
  • Experiential Learning
  • Biomechanics
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Working with Young people
  • Technology in Sport
  • Expedition Leadership
  • Residential Activity Management
  • Outdoor Leadership
  • Outdoor Activities.

This programme is distinctive because:

Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals are designed to help students secure the knowledge skills and behaviours needed to succeed in the workplace. They represent the latest in professional standards and provide opportunities for students to develop behaviours for work, for example by undertaking a group project or responding to a client brief. A student may even achieve exemption from professional or vendor qualifications, or student membership of selected professional bodies, to help them on their journey to professional competence.

At the same time the BTEC Higher Nationals are intended to keep doors open for future study should a student wish to progress further in their education after their level 5 study. They do this by allowing space for the development of higher education study skills, such as the ability to research. Clear alignment of the level of demand with the Framework for Higher Education qualification descriptors at Level 4 and 5 means that students wishing to progress to level 6 study should feel better prepared. The Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals address these various requirements by providing:

  • A range of core, optional and specialist units, each with a clear purpose, so there is something to suit each student’s choice of programme and future progression plans
  • Fully revised content that is closely aligned with the needs of employers, professional bodies, vendors and higher education for a skilled future workforce
  • The opportunity to develop transferable skills useful for work and for higher education, including research skills, the ability to meet deadlines and communication skills
  • Learning Outcomes mapped against Professional Body standards where appropriate
  • Assessments and projects were chosen to help students progress to the next stage (this means some are set by the centre to meet local needs, while others are set by Pearson). Students are required to apply their knowledge to a variety of assignments and activities, with a focus on the holistic development of practical, interpersonal and higher-level thinking skills
  • An approach to demand at Level 4 and 5 which is aligned with the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ)
  • Support for students and tutors including Schemes of Work and Example Assessment Brief.

On successful completion students should be able to:

Graduates successfully completing the Higher National Diploma will be able to demonstrate a sound knowledge of the concepts of the outdoor industry. They will be able to communicate accurately and appropriately and they will have the qualities needed for employment that requires some degree of personal responsibility. They will have developed a range of transferable skills to ensure effective team working, independent initiatives, organisational competence and problem-solving strategies. They will be adaptable and flexible in their approach to outdoor sports, show resilience under pressure, and meet challenging targets within a given resource. The course aims to provide individuals with the skills and experience to gain NGB qualifications, develop the knowledge and skills to lead outdoor activities to a range of clientele and develop the required fitness and professionalism that will enhance any chosen career path. Individuals will also gain a diverse range of subject-specific knowledge from experienced teachers and coaches.


Graduates can progress into the third year of a degree course at a number of recognised universities or can go on to gain employment, selecting from a wide range of positions within the outdoor industry. Jobs in the outdoor industry include working as a seasonal/trainee instructor in centres such as PGL, a full-time instructor or a senior instructor in LEA centres and eventually becoming a centre manager. Individuals will also gain leadership, fitness and teamwork in the military. The tutors on the HND outdoor leadership course have vast experience in the outdoor industry and have many links to employment.

Programme Structure, Modules and Credits

Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Diploma in Outdoor Leadership Unit credit Level
Core unit: Year 1 Physical Activity, Lifestyle & Health 15 4
Core unit: Year 1 Technology in Sport 15 4
Core unit: Year 1 Expedition Experience 15 4
Core unit: Year 1 Outdoor Learning 15 4
Core unit: Year 1 Outdoor Activities 15 4
Core unit: Year 1 Health and Safety 15 4
Core unit: Year 1 The Sport Landscape 15 4
Core unit: Year 1 Project Management (Pearson-set unit) 15 4
Core unit: Year 2 Research Project (Pearson-set) 30 5
Core unit: Year 2 Entrepreneurism in Sport 15 5
Core unit: Year 2 Advanced Coaching 15 5
Core unit: Year 2 Adventure Programming 15 5
Core unit: Year 2 Personal and Professional Development 15 5
Core unit: Year 2 Outdoor Facility Management 15 5

Teaching and Assessment

How will I be taught?

You will be taught utilising a wide range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, seminars, workshops, practical sports sessions, guided learning, research and more.

How will I be assessed?

The course entails a range of assessment methods including presentations, essays and reports, exams, practical delivery, portfolio building, research projects and more. The majority of assessments are set internally, but a selection of assessments are Pearson set.

Learners must achieve a minimum of 120 credits (of which at least 90 must be at Level 4) on their programme of learning to be awarded a BTEC Level 4 HNC and a minimum of 240 credits (of which at least 125 must be at level 5 or above) to be awarded a BTEC Level 5 HND.
The assessment of BTEC Higher National qualifications is criterion-referenced and centres are required to assess learners’ evidence against published learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

All units will be individually graded as ‘pass’, ‘merit’ or ‘distinction’. To achieve a pass grade for the unit learners must meet the assessment criteria set out in the specifications. This gives transparency to the assessment process and provides for the establishment of national standards for each qualification.

The units in BTEC Higher National qualifications all have a standard format that is designed to provide guidance on the requirements of the qualification for learners, assessors and those responsible for monitoring national standards.

HE student procession


Full-time applications for this Award need to be made through UCAS at:

Part-time applications for this Award need to be made directly to our Admissions Team via the online application form on our website.

For more information on our application process or to receive the application form in an alternative format, please follow the link below or contact our admissions teams on 01743 342346.


Students will be provided with a structured Induction Programme covering:

  • Welcome Event – June
  • Enrolment Event – August/September
  • Induction Events – September/October
      • College Induction
      • Programme Induction
      • Student Finance Support Session for those with outstanding queries

Student Charter

The College has a HE Student Charter which sets out the standards of conduct expected of tutors and students on the programme with us. Follow the link below for more information.

What happens if I fail a unit?

 All students are entitled to one re-submission opportunity if the work they initially submit is judged to have failed.

However, if the initial work is not covered by extenuating circumstances, and you submit work for the module for a second attempt (called a referral) the maximum mark that can be awarded for re-submission is the threshold pass mark; i.e. 40% grade point 4 for levels 4 and 5.

If the re-submitted failed work or non-submission is covered by a successful extenuating circumstances claim then the re-submitted work is considered ‘as if for the first time’ and can receive its full awarded mark.


The College has formal procedures for appeals if you have grounds for believing that your work has not been assessed fairly. For further information, please speak to your course tutor or the curriculum area leader within seven days of your assessment being returned. Follow the link below for more information.

Assessment and Award Boards

All summative assessment grades are agreed at formal Assessment and Award Boards held at regular intervals throughout the year at the College.

Support for students with additional needs

We aim to ensure that individual needs are met before starting a course and during the course of study.

Our Student Support Tutor for HE runs a study skills support programme throughout the academic year. This covers academic skills such as:

  • Assignment planning
  • Presentation skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Reading and note-making
  • Referencing
  • Time management & organisation

These will be advertised and accessible to all HE students. The HE tutor will also be available to work with and support learners with an identified additional learning need or disability. If you’re a current HE student or prospective HE student with additional learning needs the sooner you inform us the earlier we can discuss and advise you on the support available for you while you study.

Learning support can also be provided by approved Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) providers for Higher Education Students studying at Shrewsbury College who have an identified disability, mental-health condition, medical condition, or a specific learning difficulty and who are in receipt of DSA. If you have an identified disability, mental-health condition, medical condition, or a specific learning difficulty an application to Student Finance for Disabled Students Allowance will need to be completed along with supporting evidence of your disability. Follow the link below for more information.

Alternatively, visit

Quality improvement: Listening to your views

We aim to make your experience both worthwhile and enjoyable and to continually improve the quality of our awards. Therefore, we value your feedback about the quality of our programmes. Student Consultatives will be held every term and a nominated representative from your group will attend these to provide feedback on your experience, please let your Course Tutor know if you would like to become a student representative. An end of course review will also be carried out to obtain your feedback.

HE student engaging with teacher


We really hope you never have any reason to be dissatisfied with the delivery of your course and/or the support we provide you with here at Shrewsbury Colleges Group, however, we are aware that sometimes things go wrong. If your concerns are affecting the whole of your group please use the Student Consultative meetings to air your concerns and enable us to resolve your complaint, if able.

If your concern is of a more personal nature, in the first instance we would always encourage you to talk over your concerns with your Course Tutor or whoever it is that has been providing the service you are unhappy about, often things can be resolved quickly in these circumstances. The HE and Education Lead is also available to chat things over on a one-one basis.

If you wish to formalise your complaint you will need to access the guidance in our HE complaints policy.

If following your complaint/appeal to the College you feel that our regulations have not been applied properly or procedures followed incorrectly The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) can consider whether the decision made by ourselves was fair and reasonable. More information can be found here.

Term and Conditions/Policies and Procedures

Please ensure the Terms and Conditions you are issued with at offer stage are retained for your reference.

Policies and procedures to support you during your studies can be found via the link below.

During the year it may be necessary to make minor changes to our Terms and Conditions/Policies and Procedures. We will advise you of any such changes once you have accepted an offer with ourselves and update our website accordingly.

HE Regulatory Information

Regulatory information can be found via the following link.




Technology in Sport