IOL Insights - March 2016
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IOL Insights - March 2016

Author:IOL FE
Date Added:16 March 2016

IOL Insights - March 2016


  • Education subcommittee review into the Purpose & Quality of Education resulted in IOL responding to the consultation.  The response continued to ask for better teacher training in outdoor learning and pointed to the developing evidence base for the impact of outdoor learning in education.
  • The Institute is engaging with Natural England’s Strategic Research Group seeking to ensure a true reflection of the breadth of the outdoor learning sector and a link between research activity and practice development.
  • IOL continue to be a key member of the English Outdoor Council ensuring production and distribution of resources such as High Quality Outdoor Learning and representing the other members of the council and the wider sector at consultations where appropriate.
  • IOL is helping the Paul Hamlyn Foundation consider the best way to continue and strengthen research around the impact of the provision residential experiences through schools.
  • The Institute is contributing to the development of a new and more joined up role for the provision of outdoor and adventurous provision in Wales.  A wide ranging group of stakeholders are supporting Wales’ 2016 Year of Adventure and seeking to develop a greater role for the sector in health, tourism and education.
  • Following the National Trust’s announcement of a pilot in England for a new form of license for commercial provision of outdoor activity on their property, IOL is seeking to ensure a good dialogue between providers and the avoidance of any unintended consequences that restrict outdoor learning.
  • Work continues with IOL’s partners in the sector following the recent statement in (Dept Culture, Media & Sport) DCMS’ new Sports Strategy that AALA is ‘likely’ to move from HSE to DCMS.  Given the England only remit of DCMS we are seeking to ensure that any evolution of AALA results in a UK wide solution that is effectively influenced or even led by the sector.


    • A report on the evidence base for the effectiveness of outdoor learning has been published.  Funded by The Blagrave Trust and prepared by Caroline Fiennes of Giving Evidence and Professor Sandy Oliver of UCL, the report calls for changes in the sector.  Initial findings have been presented at a range of conferences and IOL will seek to work with those wishing to implement the recommendations.  The full report can be found on the IOL website under Guidance/Research Reports.  IOL chaired the steering group for the work.
    • Further to the Blagrave review guidance is being prepared for reviewing and developing your own model for change and an initial workshop was provided at the IOL NW conference in January.
    • The initial survey in IOL’s review of gender balance in leadership in the outdoor learning sector is complete.  Led by Cress Allwood this work will lead to the development of guidance and workshops to support organisations looking to benefit from greater gender balance in their leadership teams.
    • Guidance for those interested in training and assessment in first aid for outdoor practitioners continues to be developed.  See the Guidance pages of the IOL website for the latest position.
    • A recent update to AAIAC’s ropes course guidance can be found on the AAIAC pages of the IOL website.

  • Regional conferences. Both the Southern and North West regions held their annual conference in the last quarter.  With good attendance and diverse populations attending both the regional as well as SIG conferences they continue to be an important focus of IOL’s provision to the sector.  The conferences provide great networking opportunities as well as the forum for dealing with local issues and the chance to engage with the work of the Institute in your area.
  • AGM. IOL’s Annual General Meeting was held at the Southern Region Conference (High Ashurst) in February 2016.  In addition to a report on the wealth of activity being undertaken by the Institute and its finances, Phil Briggs of The Venture Trust was appointed as a Trustee.  Phil is Head of Operations for the Trust which is based out of Stirling.  He is also currently chair of AHOEC Scotland.
  • Field Studies PPG.  With a new executive committee already meeting and planning new activity this groups membership and role is growing.  Expect to see developments in the guidance it provides and the CPD available in the coming year.
  • Separate to the work of the IOL Field Studies Group those practitioners who have sort to provide guidance through the group known as Adventure & Environmental Awareness met recently to propose a new special interest group within the IOL.  Further details of this proposed group will be available shortly and it is likely to work closely with the existing Field Studies PPG.


  • The first Professional Development Event for recently formed Field Studies (NAFSO) Professional Practice Group was held at Lee Valley Country Park.  It saw the well deserved retirement of the longstanding of NAFSO chair, Chas Matthews and the appointment of Tom Davis as the new Group Chair.  The event was well attended and well received.
  • Planning is underway for the next National IOL Conference which will be held jointly with AHOEC on 13-15th October 2016, returning to Yarnfield Park, Staffordshire.  The conference will consider the role of outdoor learning from a global, local, inter-personal and intra-personal perspective.  Please contact the Institute if you wish to present a paper or share insights from your practice area through a workshop at the conference.
  • The group of employers presenting a new employer led suite of apprenticeships to (Business Innovation & Skills) BIS has completed its initial consultation phase.  There will be further opportunities to influence the structure and content of the apprenticeships through 2016.
  • After a very successful launch of a new leadership workshop last Autumn there is another opportunity at the end of April to participate in the combination of challenging input, facilitated reflection and networking.  The workshop considers leadership at personal, organisation and sector levels.
  • The Institute continues to review and develop individual and course accreditation. Any feedback should be sent to the Professional Standards Manager.

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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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