NICAS Level 1


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NICAS (The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme) is a UK wide scheme designed to promote climbing development and accredit individual achievement on indoor climbing walls. 

The key aim is to provide a safe introduction to climbing for anyone aged 7 years and up, and helps to standardise the teaching and coaching of climbing in a structured manner, whilst providing lots of fun too. Those who progress through to the higher levels also start to look wider and learn more about the history, ethics and styles of both indoor and outdoor climbing, and it can be used as a starting point for eventually taking up climbing and mountaineering!

Level 1: New Climber

This is the entry level for candidates wishing to learn basic climbing skill on this nationally recognised scheme. This level focuses on a safety conscious attitude as much as climbing skills. It is designed to be easily achievable by any climber with aptitude in a short space of time, whilst remaining under the supervision of an instructor at all times.

Course Terms

  • This course runs over school term time only, and takes a minimum of one full term to finish
  • The cost of a NICAS course is £200 per term
  • This course is for candidates aged 7+ years old only
  • Please contact us for details on when the next courses / dates will be available from
  • All equipment is provided, and a NICAS logbook is included in price. 




Q. How old do you have to be to take a NICAS course?

A. At Mile End Climbing Wall 7 years old is the minimum age for Levels 1 & 2, then 8 years old for Level 3, and 10 years old for the Level 4 courses. 

Q. Do I need to do anything prior to booking someone onto a NICAS course?

A. Yes. All young people must be registered with us here at the wall prior to commencing this course. This can be done by contacting reception to obtain the form and returning it to us here at the wall or it can be done on the first day of the course (but it has to be completed by a parent). 

Q. How long do courses run for?

A. There are typically 10-12 sessions of 1.5hrs duration per term, and it is expected that young people attend every session.

Q. What happens if my child misses a session(s)?

A. It is important that your child is present at all the sessions. If any are missed your child may have to attend catch-up sessions (at an extra cost) in order to reach the required level for assessment.

Q. How do we know if our child has passed the course?

A. There will be a formal assessment on the last session. At the end of this session the young people will be told if they have met the required standard or not.

Q. What happens if my child attains their course award?

A. The instructor will fill out their logbook and pass it on to the NICAS course director for a certificate. Successful young people are then qualified to book onto the next course level (spaces permitting).

Q. If my child passes their current level, are they guaranteed a space on the next one?

A. Whilst we do our best to accomodate everyone, we cannot guarantee spaces so always encourage people to enquire and sign-up as soon as possible.

Q. What happens if my child does not pass their assessment?

A. Anyone who does not pass their assessment may book available places at the same level next term (£200), or book private instructed sessions (£60 per 1.5hrs).

Q. This course is full, when is the next one?

A. Courses run for 10-12 weeks from the start of each school term.

Q: What is your refund/cancellation policy?

A: Cancellations or amendments must be made 7 days or more in advance of the course start to receive a refund (100%) of the cost or a transfer to another date. Cancellations or amendments made after this time (within 1 - 6 days of the course start) will not receive any refund, nor a transfer to a different date. When you register for a course / class, you agree to these terms. If you cannot come to the Assessment session you will not be able to finish the course and you will have to do it again if you want to continue with NICAS program. 

Latest Reviews

5 stars.

5 stars.

Our son had high hopes for the course and wasn’t disappointed. He felt very motivated and looked forward to each session. He would have preferred a consistent teacher - some seemed more comfortable dealing with kids than others. It was a bit frustrating that the class was refined to one room on the weekends when competitions were taking place but we understand that you are a busy centre with many people to accommodate. Overall, we would (and have been) highly recommend the course.

I loved being able to do the climbing. However, because I was the oldest in the group I didn't feel that I was stretched at all.

my daughter loved the course. teachers were so nice to her.

My son is so happy -thank you

Eve had a splendid experience and now wants to progress......what more could we ask for Thank you

Very friendly, efficient climbing facility. Different teachers brings advantages but also the disadvantage of lack of familiarity.

Great instructors. Everything went well.