NICAS programme at Ravelin Sports Centre

Our NICAS programme provides high-quality climbing curriculums for the Portsmouth community

Indoor climbing is not only one of the UK's fastest-growing sports, but it can also help your child stay fit and healthy whilst promoting mobility, agility, confidence and resilience. You may think the challenge is to get to the top, but the real challenge is to know how to scale a wall with skill and confidence. 

Climbing lessons under the National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) are launching soon and will be delivered by our professionally trained and highly qualified coaches. Our NICAS programme aims to provide high-quality climbing curriculums for the Portsmouth community and beyond.

Whether you are looking for the best way to build your child's confidence on the wall, working towards a Duke of Edinburgh award or as part of their GCSEs or you are simply looking for a new afterschool activity - climbing can be one or all of those things. Our University of Portsmouth NICAS coaches can help them reach their goals whilst having fun at the same time.


Who can sign up for NICAS? 

Lessons will be available for children aged 7 and above of varying abilities. We want climbers to get the most out of their sessions and with small groups run by amazing coaches your child is sure to reach new heights. We’re using a ratio of Climbers to coaches of 1:9 with assistant coaches present at each session alongside our qualified coach.


The Programme

  • The University of Portsmouth NICAS programme delivers Levels 1 – 3 of the NICAS program intending to expand this as the programme develops and matures.
  • Each level of the programme has a list of outcomes that need to be completed to gain an award or to move to the next level
  • The programme includes 1 90-minute lesson per week and includes a workbook, certificates and badges, expert coaching and all equipment hire
  • Pre-School lessons for children aged 4 - 6 are being explored and could potentially start in the summer.

Check out more information about what is involved in each of the levels of NICAS

When does the NICAS programme run?

It is continuous for 50 weeks per year, with closures at Christmas for 2 weeks. Lessons will still take place on Bank Holidays.

NICAS Youth Program

Ultimate member*

Core/Super member*

PAYG fee

NICAS Lessons: Level 1-3 (90 minutes)

£54 per month

£60 per month

£60 per month

*The price applies for a member purchasing lessons for a child aged between 7-17 years of age.

Frequently asked questions

Our NICAS climbing programme is available for climbers aged between 7-17 years of age.

Parents/guardians/spectators can view lessons from designated areas and should not enter the climbing area at any time.

Photography and videoing of kids' climbing lessons within the Ravelin Sports Centre is strictly prohibited.

Climber’s ability and progression will vary for individual climbers. We strive for consistency within our lesson programme to the set standards within the NICAS programme. Progressing climbers before they are ready will not benefit climbers and may affect their confidence and safety, along with the effective delivery of lessons.

  • Parents/guardians must notify the team of any issues that may affect the climber’s ability on the wall including health or learning behaviours.
  • Parents/guardians are responsible for the supervision of children in all areas of the building before and after the climbing lesson.

Climbers should wear appropriate clothing for their lessons. Ideally, clothes should be close-fitting and not be baggy as this can cause difficulties when climbing. Long hair should be tied back and no jewellery should be worn during lessons.

All equipment is provided so you do not need to buy anything beforehand.

  • The governing body for climbing lessons, NICAS, recommends that children within our programme be examined continuously as opposed to having ‘assessment days’.
  • The programme offers parents greater input as to when their child’s lesson will take place.
  • The booking system removes the need to queue at reception for re-enrolment, children will move stages when they reach their attainment level throughout the course, rather than waiting until the end of each term.

  • Climbers must change in the changing rooms and not in other areas of the sports centre, including poolside or café areas.
  • Lockers are provided for climbers' belongings and are available in the changing rooms or on the basement level by the climbing wall. Clothes, bags and other similar items should not be left unattended in the changing rooms.