Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by email


What is RockSchool?  

RockSchool began with the ideal of providing an environment for people to practice and develop their vertical rock skills under the guidance and supervision of other experienced leaders.

A cooperative of leaders provide appropriate rockcraft training, practice and assessment for members of Guiding and Scouting. It is a joint program between Southern Cross Adventurous Activities Scout Fellowship SCAASF (NSW Branch) and Girl Guides (Sutherland Zone) Noorumba Camp Staff.


Who can come to RockSchool?  

Venturers, Senior Guides, Rovers, Leaders and other adults in Scouting and Guiding.


Where is Rockschool held?

The usual location is Noorumba Guide Camp. The site used is Crown Reserve near Woronora (Sutherland Shire, Sydney) and administered by Girl Guides Assoc NSW.

Map link: Google maps

Travel – participants arrange their own travel to the site.

To access Noorumba, several tracks reach the valley from rail stations at Sutherland and Loftus.

Cars can be parked at Prince Edward Park, in Thorp Road, Woronora, or Kingswood Rd Engadine; those with 4WD may access the Water board/fire trails in convoy with one of the Rockschool staff.


When is RockSchool held?  

  • It is run on the first Saturday of the month (we don't meet in January, or when the first Saturday of the month falls on a public holiday long weekend).
  • We start at 0800 and finish around 1430.
  • On some occasions through the year, we can accommodate scouts and guides, but these dates are negotiated as we need to source additional activity leaders and instructors.

For more information or to make a booking for RockSchool, you can use our online enquiry form, or contact us on


How much does it cost?

  • Activity: The cost for the activity is $10 per person per visit.
  • Plus equipment: If you need to hire any additional equipment (including helmet, harness or descending equipment) the cost is an additional $5 each time.
  • Non-abseilers: $5 (we still need to pay for the use of the facility)

For participants who attend frequently, a special deal is offered – that is $50 for a year (any start date). This represents a significant discount. You will need to record your Rockschool member number when you sign-in each month.

  • Equipment hire will still cost $5 a time.


What do you need to bring?

Everyone will need to bring:

  • Personal permission note (click here)
  • money ($15 including visit and gear)
  • personal first aid kit
  • packed lunch, and water bottle
  • Bring/wear suitable clothing for the weather, including wet weather gear, closed shoes and long trousers
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Vertical kits if you have your own

We have the rest of the gear used for the day.

If you are interested in working towards skill recognition you can print the skill checklists for yourself and get them signed off as you are ready to be assessed. You can find the various checklists on our Resources pages.


How does the day run at Rockschool?

  • Participants arrive at the site between 0800 and 0830.
  • Expectations: When the participants arrive, they sign on, and discuss with supervisors their preferred goals for the day, and are then allocated to a group and a Scout activity leader/guide or trainer (in rockcraft, abseiling and top rope climbing).
  • They check in at the hut, handing over a copy of their parent permission note (and other paperwork as required), and the fee/contribution to running costs of RockSchool, and gear hire if required. They sign the attendance book.
  • Participants bring their own lunch, first aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellent and water; and personal vertical gear if available.
  • The participant is expected to inform the instructor at the start of the session if they require assessment of competencies on particular skills.
  • They are allocated to an instructor and an appropriate set-up for their level of experience. Relevant education and instruction (including safety issues and use of gear) are given.
  • They may be part of a larger group at varying levels of skill while under the direct supervision of an identified instructor/Level 3 activity guides.
  • The participant/trainee may be instructed to assist with setting up as well as dismantling and packup. They are encouraged to observe, question, and practise with a variety of instructors/Level 3 activity guides.
  • There is a break for lunch, and everyone helps with pack–up around 14:30. All attendees sign off as they depart. All attendees are expected to behave in a safe manner, and be considerate of others, equipment and the environment.
  • Competency: Participants may request to be assessed according to specific requirements for different skill checklists (those described in Adventurous Activity Policy and Rules)


How is Scouting Adventurous Activity Training different to other vertical training?

The goals for Adventurous Activities in Scouting differ from those of commercial trip operators and rescue board employees and volunteers in the following ways:

  • In Scouting, the Scout Method provides progressive learning by practice, experience, self-evaluation, skill mastery dictates progression and expectations of skill development relating to age, section and maturity.
  • The outdoor recreation industry commercial trip operators emphasise the experience, safety to the lowest common denominator, and is less focussed on development of skill of the participants.
  • In rescue operations the locus of control has shifted entirely to the operator who controls all aspects of rigging, ascent and descent while the participant is passive.