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Level 3 Extended Diploma Outdoor Education

  • LEVEL 3
Sports Academy facilities

Course Overview

This course will develop the professional competencies and knowledge needed to be a skilled outdoor educator and activity leader. It will provide a good understanding of the practical and contemporary issues within this exciting sector. You will be given the opportunity to participate in and lead a range of practical outdoor and adventure activities and gain valuable expedition experience on UK and international trips. You will study and develop skills in a variety of outdoor sports, learn about environmental education as well as establish a strong foundation of interpersonal skills required for this industry including problem solving, decision making, confidence and communication.

Along with providing you with the necessary knowledge and skills, you will also have the opportunity to gain professional qualifications alongside your level 3 programme which will enable you to gain employment and continue progressing towards your career in the exciting and expanding outdoor industry.

Why BCA?
At BCA we have:
100% pass rate on all sport programmes
95% of our students progress into positive destinations
90% of our students achieve on or above their target grades
Excellent links with local sports clubs and outdoor centres which offer realistic job opportunities on completion of your course.
All of our staff have extensive industry experience and qualifications
Outstanding facilities
Opportunity to represent one of our sports academies.

Course Code


End Date

Fri, 04 Jul 2025

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above including English, and preferably Maths or a Level 2 Diploma in Sport at Merit/Distinction grade (or equivalent) and GCSE En...

Course information

Over the duration of the two-year course, you will study a wide variety of modules developing your skills and knowledge in a range of sports-related disciplines.

Below are some examples of units that will be studied over the duration of the course:

Principles and practices in outdoor adventure
Skills for land-based outdoor and adventurous activities
Skills for water-based outdoor and adventurous activities
Impact and sustainability
Outdoor and adventurous expeditions
Equipment & facilities
Alternative pursuits

2 Years- There is an option for learners to study for a one year foundation diploma.

The course is delivered by experienced Lecturers in sports and outdoor education. The units are taught via a multitude of engaging and exciting methods including, role plays, guest speakers, trips and expedition alongside traditional lectures and interactive online learning.

You will learn through a variety of theory and practical sessions and be assessed via a range of methods including: Presentations, written reports, practical observations, discussions, debates, and projects.

Learners will begin on a Foundation Diploma, equivalent to 1.5 A-Levels. Successful completion of year one will lead to progression onto the second year where they will study additional credits to achieve an Extended Diploma, equivalent to 3 A-Levels. Students will also have the opportunity to gain further qualifications in leadership, and coaching in outdoor adventurous activities.

Please note: progression to the second year of study is dependent upon students achieving their target grade and Maths GCSE Grade 4, maintaining college minimum expected attendance levels, professional conduct & behaviour on course, as well as positive references from the teaching team.

For each year of your course you will take part in a week’s industry placement at a centre of your choice, where you will work alongside instructors to deliver a wide range of sessions.

In addition to this you will attend guest lectures, trips and run events using the college’s outstanding outdoor facilities. Students will also have the chance to represent the college, working at the Royal Berkshire show running our mobile climbing wall, engaging with the public and learning about how to manage different people’s abilities.

The full two year programme is the equivalent to 3 A levels, preparing the students to progress onto Higher Education studying a range of subjects at University such as Outdoor Adventure and Environment, Outdoor Education, Outdoor Leadership, Sports Coaching, Sports Teaching, and many more.

Alternatively, this course is perfect preparation for students wishing to go into employment within the outdoor industry, making use of our strong links with PGL, Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre, The Outdoor Experience, Go Ape and many more.

Level 3

This is a fast-paced course that provides students with an outdoor centre experience, preparing them for application and working life in the outdoor industry. The course makes full use of the excellent facilities

Modern fleet of boats including racing kayaks
Modern classrooms, fully equipped with IT support
4 full-size football pitches
A state of the art sports hall, incorporating 4 badminton courts, a full-sized basketball court and cricket nets
Indoor and outdoor climbing facilities
High & low rope courses
Archery range
A fully-equipped fitness centre and a separate strength and conditioning facility
Trim trail
400-acres of Berkshire countryside including 12 orienteering courses.

Uniform and PPE:

All Outdoor Education students will be required to purchase the compulsory BCA kit, which is appropriate to their programme. We try to keep all compulsory kit bundles to a minimum cost and then give the option for you to purchase additional items. A clean, practical kit must be brought in every day. Please refer to the size guide and ensure that the sizes you order are correct. Once the kit has been personalised with the BCA logo, refunds/exchanges will not be permitted. As a new Outdoor Education student, you will need to buy the compulsory kit package.

In addition to the compulsory bundle, all Outdoor Education students are required to have a suitable pair of approach shoes or walking boots, a pair of walking trousers, a waterproof coat and waterproof trousers for expedition. For water-based lessons, a water sports kit suitable for use all year round will be needed.

Returning students are very welcome to order another complete bundle, however, you will already have some kit from last year, so you may decide just to order a few additional items. Please email Nicky Cornelius, Curriculum Assistant for further details on how to order individual items.


All students will be required to bring appropriate stationery and a notebook to all lessons. We advise students to purchase a ring binder folder to keep class notes and resources in, for future reference. BCA does not supply pens, pencils, rulers or notepads.