IOL Insights - September 2015
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IOL Insights - September 2015

Author:IOL FE
Date Added:24 September 2015
  • Provide guidance through consultation meetings and documented feedback to the Sports & Recreation Alliance and Outdoor Industries Association enabling preparation of a report on a potential outdoor recreation strategy for Dept Culture, Media & Sport.
  • A range of IOL representatives speaking at the Adventure Tourism Research Association’s annual conference at Sheffield Hallam University in September covering a diverse range of topics including Adventure Motorcycling, Gender balance, Bushcraft and Professional Standards & Accreditation.
  • Representing the outdoor learning community in the Sector Skills Council’s meeting to review changes to sport funding and apprenticeships.  The sectors work on new employer led apprenticeships is ahead of much of the wider Sports sector.
  • Responding to Dept for Culture, Media & Sport’s consultation into the development of a new national sports strategy – separate to the proposed outdoor recreation strategy.
  • Consulting with other stakeholders in the UK’s position on the developing ELESA project in which the EU is funding the development of competency frameworks for Outdoor ‘Animators’.  The Institute has sort to ensure this work reflects a more mature position in the UK than that which has been developed elsewhere in the EU.
  • Representing outdoor learning providers in consultation with Natural England to consider a ‘joined-up’ approach to ‘policy asks’, research and practice for outdoor learning.
  • Continuing to steer the Blagrave Trust funded work reviewing impact evaluation across outdoor learning with children and young people in the UK.  The review and resultant report is being run by Caroline Fiennes of Giving Evidence and Professor Sandy Oliver of UCL.  The report will be made available later in 2015 and further activity is planned as a result of the findings to build the body of evidence for the impact of outdoor learning.
  • Work to support minimum standards in Outdoor First Aid Training and Assessment continues.  The Institute will continue to hold a publicly available framework of standards for Outdoor First Aid training and will conduct periodic consultations to ensure the currency of the framework contents.  Further guidance on assessment agreed by Awarding Organisations will also be held.  Both will be supported by a simple on-line questionnaire for trainers.
  • Following an anonymous donation the Institute is conducting research into gender balance in leadership across outdoor learning.  The project is being run by Cress Allwood and will involve looking at current practice across a range of organisations and will seek to support the sector access the benefits of greater gender balance in positions of leadership.
  • The role of Horizons magazine in sharing good practice and posing challenges to the sector remains an important element of the Institute’s work.  CPD provided through the magazine for both the reader and the author is a valued service.  If you think you and others would benefit from articulating your reflections and learning gained through your practice, guidelines for preparing and submitting an article can be found in the Publications section of the IOL website.
  • The Journal for Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning remains the key academic journal for the sector and is widely read on an international basis.  The Journal is managed by an active group of academics and published by Taylor & Francis.  IOL members subscribing to the Journal are now able to access PDF copies of articles.  Further information can be found in the Guidance section of the IOL website.
  • In an effort to increase the level of co-ordination and collaboration in research across the sector the work of the Blagrave funded Research and the work of the Natural England supported Strategic Research Group will be shared to support policy statements and to develop future research and practice.  If you are interested in this work please contact us.

  • The IOL Trustees have recently considered the role and structure of Special Interest Groups. The new approach allows for two primary types of group and provides guidance for setting up and running them.  The new SIG types are IOL Professional Practice Groups and IOL Research or Discussion Groups.
  • Regional Conferences
    - North East Conference, Carlton in Cleveland, 16th Oct.
    - South West Conference, Plymouth, 14th Nov
    - North East Conference, Carlton in Cleveland, 16th Oct.
  • The Field Studies (NAFSO) SIG is holding its annual conference at Lee Valley Country Park on 4th & 5th  January 2016.  The event is based at YHA London Lee Valley and has a wide range of very practical workshops run in the local natural environment and is designed to enhance your outdoor learning practice.  More details on the SIG webpage under the Community section of the IOL website
  • The IOL team have reviewed the accessibility and visual branding of IOL’s services to its members and the wider outdoor learning community.  The new look four box summary of the Institute is designed to simplify the message about the IOL’s purpose and role.  If you have any queries or comments please contact us
  • The Institute has started a dialogue with a range of stakeholders about the use of Ghylls by the outdoor learning community in the North West of England.  If you are interested in contributing to this work or its outcomes please contact us


  • The recent IOL Employer’s Group considered the implications of research into age and participation in outdoor learning.  The work being led by Professor Mark Hickman of UCLAN is looking at the ways in which an ageing population engage with outdoor learning and is likely to lead to formation of a SIG.
  • The Bushcraft SIG have supported the development of Level 1 and Level 2 Bushcraft awards for the national Qualifications & Credits Framework.  This work has seen the SIG executive work closely with the IOL’s Professional Standards manager to ensure appropriate content and guidance for the new awards.
  • Working initially with a small group of employers  and drawing on a range of experience with new Apprenticeship Trailblazer projects supported by Dept for Business, the Institute is co-ordinating development of a new series of employer led apprenticeships for the sector.  Thanks especially to the insight gained by Mark Lavington in his work with the sector skills council People First, this employer led project should see a new definition of different levels of competence for outdoor learning practitioners and better funding for key routes to competence such as NGB awards.
  • The newly revised IOL leadership workshop was run near Swindon in September.  The 2 day programme is designed to support experienced practitioners in developing their ability to lead within their organisations and in the wider outdoor sector.  It acts as a useful catalyst for those considering IOL Lead Practitioner accreditation and other leadership and management training and qualifications.  For more information on IOL events see the Events & Courses section of the website.

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The Institute for Outdoor Learning supports practitioners and providers of Outdoor Learning. Our mission is to increase participation in outdoor learning in the UK and to recognise and improve the quality of outdoor learning in the UK. - See more at:
The Institute for Outdoor Learning supports practitioners and providers of Outdoor Learning. Our mission is to increase participation in outdoor learning in the UK and to recognise and improve the quality of outdoor learning in the UK. - See more at:
The Institute for Outdoor Learning supports individuals and organisations who use the outdoors to make a difference for others.

Our mission is to increase participation in Outdoor Learning in the UK and to recognise and improve the quality of Outdoor Learning in the UK.

By representing and lobbying on behalf of our members, both organisational and individuals, and the outdoor education and recreation sector we can help ensure the development and progression of outdoor learning.

IOL supports your work and career whether you are a professional outdoor practitioner, field study officer, instructor, teacher, youth worker, outdoor leader, management development trainer, student or anyone involved in learning outdoors.

Whether you enjoy recreation, expeditions, bushcraft, adventure, therapy, teaching or learning in the mountains, hills or wilderness, on water or land, in rural or urban areas, there will be benefits to you to visit this site or to become an active member. IOL Membership offers you the opportunity to widen your horizons of influence and networks, develop your outdoor career and gain access to deals on outdoor learning publications, gear, training and more.

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