Posted 20 hours ago

Nothing Ventured (William Warwick Novels, 1)

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Despite this, children and young peopleface growing adult anxiety over theirsafety, across many aspects of theireveryday lives. While we do not wantchildren to come to harm, our fears canlead us to underestimate their ownabilities and to overreact to extremelyrare tragedies. After graduating from university, William begins a career that will define his life: from his early months on the beat under the watchful eye of his first mentor, Constable Fred Yates, to his first high-stakes case as a fledgling detective in Scotland Yard's arts and antiquities squad. Investigating the theft of a priceless Rembrandt painting from the Fitzmolean Museum, he meets Beth Rainsford, a research assistant at the gallery who he falls hopelessly in love with, even as Beth guards a secret of her own that she's terrified will come to light.

Despite the rarity of cases againstschools, teachers or organisations,concern has grown about the impact ofthe fear of litigation. In response,Parliament introduced a new Act, theCompensation Act 2006. Part 1 of theAct makes it clear that, when consideringnegligence claims, the courts may takeinto account the danger of discouragingor deterring ‘desirable activities’ such asvisits. Hence the risk of harm cannot andshould not be eliminated entirely, if weare to give children the chance torespond to life’s challenges. What ismore, the fact that most children leadmore constrained lives at home meansthat extra efforts may need to be madeto give them a taste of freedom,responsibility and self-reliance. Nothing Ventured... Balancing risks andbenefits in the outdoors aims toencourage readers to take a reasonableand proportionate approach to safety inoutdoor and adventurous settings, andto reassure them that managing risksshould not be a disincentive toorganising activities. It is not a ‘how toguide’. Rather, at a time when manywonder whether society has gone too farin trying to keep children safe from allpossible harm, Nothing Ventured... addsits voice to the call for a more balancedapproach: an approach that accepts thata degree of risk – properly managed – isnot only inevitable, but positivelydesirable.

Nothing Ventured... is aimed ateducational and recreation practitionersand managers working with children andyoung people, including teachers, youthworkers, early years, play and out ofschool professionals and others workingin children’s services. It has a focus onadventurous activities, although much ofthe content is relevant to other learningcontexts. It is written with an Englishlegal and policy context in mind, but isalso relevant to those engaged inoutdoor activities in Wales, Scotland andNorthern Ireland, and – to a degree –beyond these shores.

Jeffrey Archer was born in London and brought up in Somerset. He was educated at Wellington School, and Brasenose College, Oxford, where he was President of the University Athletics Club, and went on to run the 100 yards in 9.6 seconds for Great Britain in 1966.

What are the risks?Teachers can be forgiven for believing that childrenregularly come to serious harm on outings and activities.The media can sometimes appear to give that impression.Yet the reality is that visits and activities are by any measurecomparatively safe. Minor accidents and upsets are notuncommon – and should not be ignored – but again, there isnothing to suggest these are any more frequent than ineveryday life.

Her husband was one of those unfortunate men, called speculators. He believed that to gain thousands, thousands must be put in jeopardy—“ nothing ventured, nothing gained,” was his rule, and he practiced it to perfection. The role of guidanceLocal authorities and employers should provide guidanceon how risks and benefits should be assessed and managedin different circumstances, including situations whereexternal agencies such as adventurous activity providersare used.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

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