British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

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Chris Bolton
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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:01 am

ron-t wrote:the BCU stole the 4 star and the 5 star awards and turned them into coaching awards - although the BCU tried to pretend that they weren`t coaching awards, they were leadership awards
I understand your point, but I have a different view. I see coaching as about passing on knowledge to others, while leadership is about ensuring that everybody has a safe and enjoyable paddle, and is a personal skill.
Allan Olesen wrote:A coach has been taught how to coach and lead.
A leader has only been taught how to lead
At the higher levels, in sea kayaking, coaches do have to be able to lead, but some coaches are bank based and only coach. Being pedantic, both are about being competent, not necessarily having been taught; learning styles differ.
RichJ wrote:1) Why gain very expensive qualifications ?
I know four possible reasons
(a) To be seen to be competent to take formal responsibility for others in a commercial context
(b) To be seen to be competent to take formal responsibility for others in a voluntary (club) context
(c) To give confidence to other members of a peer group (that you may be new to) that you're competent
(d) A personal challenge and an incentive to develop your own skills
I think BC schemes are heavily weighted towards (a)

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by RichJ » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:24 am

Hi Chris,
Interesting! And I agree with the points you made in answer to my question. What do you see as the key competencies required of a Coach, separate to those of a 'Leader'?

Richard

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by Robert Craig » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:56 pm

... err ... the ability to develop and impart skills ... or is that too simple?

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by ron-t » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:42 pm

Hi

Funny how there seems to be a lot more nit-picking about my phraseology about coaches and leaders in my previous post than there is about the essential point of my post - which is that the 4 star and 5 star awards are no longer being used as coaching / leadership awards - so there is now the opportunity to bring back the 4 star and 5 star awards as measures of personal paddling skills.

There still exists 1 star, 2 star, and 3 star awards for personal paddling skills, so why not have higher level awards for more advanced paddlers.

However since you seem to have gone down the road of talking about the differences between coaches and leaders, then surely it becomes significant that the BCU now seems to think that there is only 4 or 5 days training between a coach and a leader, instead of 17 days.

That is a big difference, and underlines the fact that there is less and less difference between a coach and a leader.

Personally, I think that this is the right way to go.

The BCU stealing the 4 star and 5 star awards to turn them into coaching / leadership awards was them trying to dig themselves out of a hole that they had created for themselves by kicking the then existing Instructor and Senior Instructor qualifications into the long grass, and saying that Instructors and Senior Instructors had to retrain as Coaches.

Loads of instructors and kayaking clubs went loopy about this, and the BCU totally deserved all the hassle they got - for instructors to have their qualifications negated was really bad news, and the main argument of the clubs was that the club environment didn`t need coaches - lesser trained instructors were quite sufficient.

So eventually the BCU gave in, stole the 4 star and 5 star awards and turned them into coaching / leadership awards, and handed them down to clubs to shut them up.

However I am afraid to say that I really don`t agree with the idea that because you are within a club environment, you can get along with lesser qualified instructors.

The risks of whatever sea or river environment you are in are just the same whether it is a club trip or a commercial coaching trip.

In fact I think that the risks are higher in the club environment than they are in the coached environment - in a coached environment the decisions on where to go, where not to go, how to handle the sea conditions, are nearly always dictated by the capabilities, safety, and welfare of the students.

In a club environment the decisions about where to go and what to do are usually decided by the more experienced paddlers who don`t want to curtail their activities or challenges to suit the less experience paddlers, so less experienced paddlers get dragged into situations into which they should not have been dragged.

So I would argue that there is no justification in claiming that within the club environment the instructors are not required to have the same level of qualifications as commercial coaches - quite the reverse - if you follow my statements above to their logical conclusion, then club instructors need to have higher capabilities and qualifications than coaches operating in the commercial environment, because on club outings it is possible or probable that the lesser experienced paddlers are paddling in sea conditions that are more challenging than the sea conditions they would meet on a commercial trip.

So it makes sense to me for the BCU to continue to bring together the coaching awards and the leadership awards, eventually to the point that there is no need to have separate awards.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by RichJ » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:47 pm

Hi ron-t,
First off, my apologies if I appear to be nit picking over phraseology. That was really not intended at all! I have been an 'endorsed leader' (in the context of this discussion) for many years and I am now looking to explore the new Coaching qualifications. Until early retirement I was a Secondary school Teacher and before that my work involved adult training. I say this simply because I am interested in people's perception and expectations of Coaches. I agree with your point, looking at the new scheme it does seem a surprisingly short period of training. However, I guess BC have responded to requests to make it all more accessible. The onus on me or other aspirant Coaches will be to be proactive in our training and development. For me, I have been in discussion with Coaches I know well and I will be like a 'sparrow on a breadcrumb' to gain skills, hints and coaching tips in advanced conditions. I will also be keen to explore the crossover between the role of a modern school Teacher, Trainer, Mentor and Coaching. (Although from what I can see BC show no recognition of these other skill sets at all)

With regard to Clubs, I believe Club endorsed leaders are important to help maintain safety. Endorsement here may or may not involve BC but equally, Club protocol for trips is essential and reduces the risk of folk being dragged into an environment outside their comfort and skill zone. Similarly, Coaching is a great asset to Individuals within clubs and surely in all disciplines to help bridge the gap between where folk are currently performing and where they want to be.
Finally, whilst the new BC scheme may be more streamlined and certainly shorter (on paper), I am under no illusions of the considerable skill sets, expertise and ability which is required to be a good Coach!

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by twopigs » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:28 pm

RichJ wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:47 pm
Hi ron-t,
First off, my apologies if I appear to be nit picking over phraseology. That was really not intended at all! I have been an 'endorsed leader' (in the context of this discussion) for many years and I am now looking to explore the new Coaching qualifications. Until early retirement I was a Secondary school Teacher and before that my work involved adult training. I say this simply because I am interested in people's perception and expectations of Coaches. I agree with your point, looking at the new scheme it does seem a surprisingly short period of training. However, I guess BC have responded to requests to make it all more accessible. The onus on me or other aspirant Coaches will be to be proactive in our training and development. For me, I have been in discussion with Coaches I know well and I will be like a 'sparrow on a breadcrumb' to gain skills, hints and coaching tips in advanced conditions. I will also be keen to explore the crossover between the role of a modern school Teacher, Trainer, Mentor and Coaching. (Although from what I can see BC show no recognition of these other skill sets at all)
If you are very quick you might just have the opportunity to test that ..... I have an acquaintance who did the old Level 2 training (before UKCC was introduced) however she had lots of experience, worked as a Raft Guide and is employed as a teacher. She applied to our NGB for exemption from the requirement to do the UKCC Level 1 coach award so she could progress directly to UKCC Level 2 training. To our surprise she was granted exemption from UKCC Level 2 training and allowed to go directly to assessment (after doing all the portfolio building) and then she met my expectation by passing. So BC did have a mechanism to recognise other skill sets ..... As of January 1st you are supposed to be able to join the coaching pathway at an appropriate point - which implicitly recognises those other skill sets.

I too have trained as a teacher (specifically for post-16), a mentor and a coach and it is wonderfully rewarding working with other paddlers. But yes - you need to build your skill set in the paddlesport environment - which is more about knowing where the benchmarks are and being able to guide people through their needs to reach their wants. In your case I suspect that will be the rate limiting step.

Good luck with the journey

Paul
Canoeing - bigger boat, broken paddle, more skill!

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by MikeB » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:04 pm

RichJ wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:11 am
- - - as mentioned earlier in this thread there are many groups who perform at top levels without 'formal' BC endorsed qualifications.
Being involved with one of these groups, I will say that one of the events we've run over the years has been a skills development w/end. This has been very generously facilitated for us by some of the UK's top coaches, with others helping. From a purely personal perspective, I picked up a massive amount of what we may term "personal development" on these w/ends.

To put that into context, the "heel hook" rescue certainly wasn't on the syllabus when I went through the star and the old-fashioned coaching scheme, and I was taught to rescue a sea-boat by the old fashioned method which didn't involve turning it over first. Equally, the concept of the short foredeck tow wasn't around then.

All of these - and more - I picked up thanks to modern coaches who were constantly developing their thinking. Of course, it could be argued that we, as paddlers, should be doing this too and to some extent I think we do. But having the input was useful.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by RichJ » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:32 pm

MikeB,
You make a very interesting point....And indeed, I am very keen to come to your next skills session to learn and share.
Now, and please bare with me as I try to formulate my thoughts.... We can discuss similarities and possible differences between 'Teaching' and 'Coaching'. Actually, I suspect the expectation on today's Teachers leads to significant crossover on the pedagological front. However, I am very aware of the masses of information, training, assessment/observation and developing best practice involved as a Teacher and I am sure that is the same for the professional coach. I doubt the typical Club paddler would have the time for a fraction of this but it is what the professional Coach is doing day in day out! I believe what you guys are doing makes an awful lot of sense; running trips and Coaching endorsed to your criteria, which may or may not be coincident with BC. Drawing on Professional expertise when needed, to gain new ideas or simply help maintain the momentum of developing good practice.
I am very lucky to paddle with a group of very talented paddlers and Coaches. Like yourselves, we are constantly looking at ways to improve and often look to draw on professional expertise.
With regard to the changes to BC, as I mentioned in an earlier post it seems the emphasis for development is moving towards the trainee. This may mean a more pro active approach is required but hey, it's all good fun!

Richard

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by pathbrae » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:39 pm

Interesting points about technique development over the years.

In terms of rescues, I suppose boat development was the main driver.
Old sea kayaks trapped a huge amount of water behind the seat and needed to be see-sawed to empty them, modern boats have a bulkhead right behind the seat (or the seat back is the bulkhead) so just need to be lifted from the bow to empty.
Ocean cockpits were much more difficult to enter than a modern key-hole design and although you can do a heel-hook into an ocean cockpit, it's not easy.
Communication of ideas is another area where this sort of forum has helped massively. Short tows might be new to the coaching scheme - but it's something I've used (I used bike toe-straps) for more than 20 years now.

Maybe we could sort out a day with boats of various vintages and have a session of rescues with them, just in case we needed to do it for real on an old Nordkapp paddler one day.

I'd be leaving my reed spray deck and my light-weight carbon paddles behind that day! :-)


As for the difference between leaders and coaches, most of the paddlers I go out with now are at a stage where they all have as much to teach as they have to learn (I stay away from them that thinks they knows it all...) so our sessions are often more a sharing of ideas than they are a formal coaching session. New paddlers very quickly pick up tips and tricks from everyone else in the group - and it seems to work well enough
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by PeterG » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:26 pm

Ocean cockpits were much more difficult to enter than a modern key-hole design and although you can do a heel-hook into an ocean cockpit, it's not easy.
Not at all, in fact much easier to get in to an ocean cockpit with over the side and constant cork-screw and no folds of spraydeck to get hung up on.

All of us develop alternative methods during training scenarios, someone with a particular medical issue or just poor mobility in a certain plane, will demand imaginative solutions. Then you suddenly realise that it might have wider applications.

The main thing is to be constantly developing personal and leadership skills, and how BC can be a supportive part of the journey.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by pugwash » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:10 pm

I’ve always got the feeling that the BCU teach what they want me to learn rather letting me decide what I want to learn, and the classic example of this was when I started to look at the old level 2 coaching scheme, which would have been handy for coaching at the club, I was told by the BCU that to teach sea kayaking I had to have three star open boat, which at my age, with 25 years of propping wrecking my knees, was just about impossible, so I didn’t bother. At least with the new scheme, if i’m reading it right, you don’t have to do all the wasted open boat stuff. I do tend to agree with other poster on this thread that what seems to be missing is training for paddlers who just want to paddle but might not want to lead or coach, I know of some people who have not taken the current 4 star because they feel they would then be obligated to run club trips and this isn’t something that particularly motivates them. But the same people could really do with developing their paddling further, which is difficult to do within the current BC framework.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by Owen » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:41 pm

pugwash wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:10 pm
I do tend to agree with other poster on this thread that what seems to be missing is training for paddlers who just want to paddle but might not want to lead or coach, I know of some people who have not taken the current 4 star because they feel they would then be obligated to run club trips and this isn’t something that particularly motivates them. But the same people could really do with developing their paddling further, which is difficult to do within the current BC framework.
This is really the problem with the BCU scheme, it's either 1,2,3, star which will just about get you ready to join a guided group or 4 & 5 star which is all about training people to be the guides. No where is there any place for people who want to just be an independent group. I think the people writing the syllabus and doing the assessments are more and more coming from an outdoor education background and have never paddled as anything other than leader and followers. They really don't seem to get that there are other ways of doing things.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by John K » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:01 pm

pugwash wrote:I know of some people who have not taken the current 4 star because they feel they would then be obligated to run club trips and this isn’t something that particularly motivates them.
That has to be the silliest excuse that I've heard for not developing your skills. Why would any qualification oblige you to do anything?

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by John K » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:04 pm

Owen wrote:No where is there any place for people who want to just be an independent group.
Why do you think that the 4 star syllabus doesn't apply to independent groups? What different training/qualification would you like to see instead?

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:58 pm

4 & 5 star which is all about training people to be the guides
I don't know about 5* but 4* is about having the skills to lead a group, eg, navigation, tides, rescues, self rescues; these are equally applicable to paddling as a member of a peer group. It's the main reason I'm doing 4*, although I do expect that I may be asked to lead club trips if/when I pass (which is not quite the same as being obligated to).

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by Allan Olesen » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:18 am

John K wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:01 pm
pugwash wrote:I know of some people who have not taken the current 4 star because they feel they would then be obligated to run club trips and this isn’t something that particularly motivates them.
That has to be the silliest excuse that I've heard for not developing your skills. Why would any qualification oblige you to do anything?
Well, there is another angle on this:
Some people from the UK have told me that if a serious accident happens during a kayaking trip, the most qualified paddler will be the one to be punished by the authorities - even though he was not the leader of that trip.

This is second hand knowledge to me, so I may be wrong. But it could be a reason for not taking any formal leadership training. (Of course, if you do take that training, you may end up preventing the accident from happening...)

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:52 am

if a serious accident happens during a kayaking trip, the most qualified paddler will be the one to be punished by the authorities
As I understand it, in a voluntary rather than a commercial situation, it's more a question of civil liability than criminal prosecution. Under Common Law (ie, built up by precedent, not written down by Parliament) we all have a 'Duty of Care' to others - so if you should have known that one of your group could be in danger, and you failed to warn them and they came to harm, you might have some liability for damages. Whether you should have known would be based on qualifications and experience, so not taking the qualification may not make any difference.

In a commercial situation, where you are taking responsibility for the safety of others, there could be a criminal prosecution - in 1993, four teenagers died when their kayaks were blown out to sea and swamped; the instructors only held the 1 star award. The courts didn't hold them liable, but the owner of the activity centre was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence, on the basis that he should not have put the instructors or the children in that situation. The significant point was who had made the key decisions.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by Owen » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:55 pm

John K wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:04 pm
Owen wrote: What different training/qualification would you like to see instead?
Separate personal skills about the very basic 3 star and leadership.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by MikeB » Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:21 pm

Chris Bolton wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:52 am
if a serious accident happens during a kayaking trip, the most qualified paddler will be the one to be punished by the authorities
As I understand it, in a voluntary rather than a commercial situation, it's more a question of civil liability than criminal prosecution. Under Common Law (ie, built up by precedent, not written down by Parliament) we all have a 'Duty of Care' to others - so if you should have known that one of your group could be in danger, and you failed to warn them and they came to harm, you might have some liability for damages. Whether you should have known would be based on qualifications and experience, so not taking the qualification may not make any difference.
Indeed. To my knowledge, there has not been one single case where anyone in UK has been either sued or prosecuted in these circumstances. I suspect much of this scaremongering is coming from professional instructors / coaches / providers, who (as noted below) do indeed have valid concerns over their potential liability, and / or from USA where the legal culture is rather different.

In a commercial situation, where you are taking responsibility for the safety of others, there could be a criminal prosecution - in 1993, four teenagers died when their kayaks were blown out to sea and swamped; the instructors only held the 1 star award. The courts didn't hold them liable, but the owner of the activity centre was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence, on the basis that he should not have put the instructors or the children in that situation. The significant point was who had made the key decisions.
Indeed. There are other examples too, both in our sport and mountain biking. The Hackett case and McLean case respectively.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by moontide » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:38 pm

joined the B C U after a decade of not paddling . wow ! what happend ? so many rules and regs. ect ,certificate chasers by the dozen .what happend to the free instruction bit, just cover costs ect ? Just wish to paddle my own boat within my experiance level , so have withdrawn from the B C U . cheers .

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by pathbrae » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:12 pm

PeterG wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:26 pm
Ocean cockpits were much more difficult to enter than a modern key-hole design and although you can do a heel-hook into an ocean cockpit, it's not easy.
Not at all, in fact much easier to get in to an ocean cockpit with over the side and constant cork-screw and no folds of spraydeck to get hung up on.

All of us develop alternative methods during training scenarios, someone with a particular medical issue or just poor mobility in a certain plane, will demand imaginative solutions. Then you suddenly realise that it might have wider applications.

The main thing is to be constantly developing personal and leadership skills, and how BC can be a supportive part of the journey.
I think you need to split that sentence into it's two parts. "Ocean cockpits are much more difficult to enter..." during self rescue. I have spent a lot of time in 2 ocean cockpit boats, one much more stable than the other. Self rescue was possible in the stable boat in calm water (but who needs to self rescue in calm water?) but all but impossible in the less stable bat. In both boats I used a re-entry and roll during rescue practices but, with no bulkhead directly behind the seat, both boats then had a lot of water in the cockpit.

And "although you can do a heel-hook into an ocean cockpit, it's not easy" Should be seen in comparison to heel hooking into a keyhole cockpit boat, which is much easier and quicker to do than with either of my ocean cockpit kayaks - and I don't have a huge problem with the bigger spray deck getting tangled.

"The main thing is to be constantly developing personal and leadership skills, and how BC can be a supportive part of the journey."

I completely agree with your statement - right up to the bit about BC being supportive - my own experience is of an obstructive, convoluted, constantly changing, dictatorial and non-representative organisation who's only purpose seems to be to relieve it's members of as much money as possible, as often as possible.

We don't need SCA / BC as sea paddlers. We might need BC if we are working as paid coaches. The current coaching scheme, even with the recently announced changes, is far too expensive both in terms of time and costs for non professional "club" coaches. Some of the pro coaches argue it's too expensive and time consuming for them - but that's what pays their bills at the end of the day so I don't really have a lot of sympathy for that argument - it's as pointless as me complaining about all the mandatory training and updates I have to do for my job.
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:27 pm

I fear that in doing away with stars, BC has caused us to reassess the name of our little group, the "Dark Skies Paddlers"... Dark Skies... no stars. The other day, group member David who has been paddling since the 1950's and still managed 140km over 3 full days back in May said "Why on earth would I need any stars?"

While I worked as a doctor I had to undergo extensive training, academic and professional examinations, CPD, appraisal, revalidation, record measurable outcomes and performance indicators, make sure my Quality Assurance Framework was in place etc. etc....so I can think of absolutely no reason why I would want to pay for a bit of paper to go paddling on the sea in my time off.

Douglas :o)

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by andynormancx » Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:48 pm

BC haven't done away with the stars. It is the coaching side that is changing, not the star awards.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by Allan Olesen » Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:44 pm

Star awards have also changed. 4 star and 5 star have been replaced with Sea Kayak Leader and Advanced Sea Kayak Leader.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by andynormancx » Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:14 pm

Oh yeah, thanks. I’d forgotten those had changed name.

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Re: British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach

Post by john.ruston » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:57 pm

Contributors may be interested in a very recent thread posted on the ISKA Community forum. This is a discussion which keeps appearing.

http://www.iska.ie/forum/viewtopic.php? ... d5d609eb16

A search of the ISKA forum will show that this is is less of a debate and perhaps more of a running sore.
J.

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