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Age range flexibility

The opportunity for a young person to progress through the sections within Scouting is fundamental. All young people should be encouraged to move into the next Section at, or near to the core age range of the Section. The Programme and awards for each Section have been designed with these core age ranges in mind, and have been developed primarily for participation and involvement with the required flexibility to allow all young people to enjoy and achieve.

It is important that the needs and interests of any young person and particularly those with additional needs are kept in mind and regularly reviewed. This will support identifying occasions where further flexibility may be required to enable a young person’s full participation in Scouting.

It is therefore essential that leaders talk to each other and share information. This might cover information about a specific additional need, medical information, participation in the Programme, personal likes and dislikes.

The young person themselves and their parents or carers should be involved in discussions.

There is already flexibility in the age ranges for moving from one Section to the next.

  Section   Age Range
  Beavers   6 - 8 years old   5 ¾ and up to 8 ½ years old
  Cubs   8 - 10 ½ years old   7 ½ and up to 11 years old
  Scouts   10 ½ - 14 years old   10 to 14 ½ years old 
  Explorers   14 - 18 years old   13 ½ and up to 18 years old 
  Scout Network   18 - 25 years old   Members cease to be members of Network on their  25th birthday and should be encouraged to take on a suitable adult role in Scouting Scouting eg. Section Leader or member of a Scout Active Support Unit.

There may be occasions when it will be appropriate to further extend this flexibility. A District Commissioner may permit a young person to be in a Section outside of the recommended age range, due to a young person's additional needs and/or disability.

An exception to that is on turning 18, all Members must move into Scout Network or, if appropriate, apply for an adult volunteer role via the standard appointments process. At 18, an individual is legally an adult and cannot be in a youth Section.

Discussing age range flexibility

The decision to request age range flexibility should be in consultation with the parent/ carer, the young person and with a local volunteer holding an inclusion role, such as County Adviser Inclusion. In all cases the decision should be based upon enabling the young person to fully participate within Scouting. It should consider the individual needs of the young person, along with the requirements of the other Members of the Section.

The decision should be approved by the District Commissioner and should be reviewed at least annually.


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