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Welcome to IOL Scotland / Alba

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IOL Scotland AGM announced - February 19th 2015. Details soon...

From the IOL Scotland Chair

Dear Members
I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the committee to support the Outdoor Learning community in Scotland. Having spent many years working both in the outdoors and at sea with challenging young people I firmly believe that the outdoor environment is the best and most powerful medium for facilitating personal development.
I recently attended Wild in the Park, the first cross party outdoor parliamentary reception and was both heartened and excited to see the real political backing for Outdoor Learning that we have in Scotland. It was fantastic to meet many of you there and see the great examples of work that are going on in Scotland.
I hope going forward that the Exec committee in Scotland can support your work by providing CPD opportunities, increase access to events where we can share good practice and ideas, act as a sounding board and represent your views at a national level.
If you have any ideas for CPD that would be of benefit, any views you would like shared or have any examples good practice or learning then we would love to hear about them, please email me

I look forward to working with you all
Kind Regards
Mike Strang, IOL Scotland Chair


  • Sheriff urges tighter rules after inquiry into death of mountain guide - See more at: http://www.outdoor-learning.org/Default.aspx?tabid=118&Id=685#sthash.7mkFWXwF.dpuf
    Sheriff urges tighter rules after inquiry into death of mountain guide - See more at: http://www.outdoor-learning.org/Default.aspx?tabid=118&Id=685#sthash.7mkFWXwF.dpuf
    A sheriff has urged the Scottish Government to tighten rules after an inquiry into the death of a mountain guide. - See more at: http://www.outdoor-learning.org/Default.aspx?tabid=118&Id=685#sthash.7mkFWXwF.dpuf
    A sheriff has urged the Scottish Government to tighten rules after an inquiry into the death of a mountain guide
  • Consultation for Scotland's Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations December 2014
  • Outdoor learning support materials on the new Glow - A professional learning community has been set up to share materials from the Supporting Outdoor Learning in Secondary Schools events.
  • Health and wellbeing: responsibility of all Making the links...making it work
  • Cairngorms National Park Authority - travel grant
  • Grounds for Learning - Training Opportunities for Teachers
  • Woodland Workout Pack (Forestry Commission Scotland)
  • Documents to support outdoor learning in Scotland
  • Guide to Health and Wellbeing Curriculum Impact Report.
  • Education Scotland Outdoor Learning online support materials.
  • Supporting Outdoor Learning in Secondary Schools Glow page  - A community page has been set up on the new Glow to support the Supporting Outdoor Learning in Secondary Schools event which was held at St Joseph’s Academy, Kilmarnock on 1st March. Policy documents, support materials and workshop presentations have been uploaded onto this page. The page also has links to outdoor partners’ web pages and has a news feed where members can take part in discussions and share their OL developments. This community can be accessed by all those who have a Glow login via: http://bit.ly/olstaff
  • Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards. Scotland's Finest Woods (SFW) and the Forest Education Initiative (FEI) have once again teamed up to run an annual Schools Award in Scotland. The Award is to encourage and reward schools that increase young people's understanding and appreciation of the environmental, social and economic potential of trees, woodlands and forests and of the link between trees and everyday wood-based products. Further information.
  • Learning for Sustainability Progress Report Feb 2014 – the report of the One Planet Schools working group was published in December 2012.
  • Cairngorms National Park - 2014 Outdoor Learning Competition Open for Entries.

  • Teacher education - outdoor learning and play. Scottish Natural Heritage. Sharing Good Practice event. 26th June in Perth. Share good practice in addressing the new standards for teaching and initial teacher education, with a particular focus on Learning for Sustainability. Much of the day will take place outdoors, where you will learn about some of the innovative approaches your colleagues are using. Reflect on current policy and practice and enhance teaching by sharing research and methodologies. Meet the local and national organisations who can support your outdoor learning.
  • Mapping Scotland's wildness and wild land. On 30th April 2013 the Scottish Government published its Main Issues Report on the National Planning Framework 3 and revised Scottish Planning Policy. The new map of areas of wild land character can be viewed by following this link.

  • Planning rules reform could see wind farm ban in scenic Scotland.  A revamp of planning rules in Scotland could see wind farms being outlawed in the country's national parks and designated scenic areas.

  • Scotland's Nature Festival, 18th to 26th May.  They have free wildflower seedpacks, three designs of bookmarks and PVC banners to support your Nature Festival events.
  • £1m investment for Edinburgh outdoor centres. A £1 million investment is being ploughed into the Capital’s flagship outdoor education centres to make them fit for the 21st century. The cash will be injected into Benmore and Lagganlia residential centres to modernise them and boost their appeal to schoolchildren and families across the city. Education bosses said recent figures showed the council-owned centres were being used more than ever and that the investment would be critical to their long-term future. Full report here.

  • Masters Scholarships at the University of Edinburgh
    For details of 20 funded full-time or part-time places on Masters programmes (MSc Outdoor Education; MSc Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education) see this web page. For full details of these programmes please see this web page. These places are available for programmes starting in September 2013, and are expected to be offered annually until further notice.  They are for Scottish domiciled and EU residents only.
  • Woodland Trust launches online poll to find Scotland's national tree.

  • Mountaineering Council of Scotland Responds to Scottish Government Consultation on Adventurous Activities Responding today to the Scottish Government's consultation into developing a safety system for Adventurous Activities the MCofS stated that it believes that a licensing scheme for mountaineering club activities is unwarranted and unnecessary and urged member clubs to respond individually to the consultation.
    The MCofS response also stated that clubs organise their activities effectively on the basis of shared knowledge and experience, leading to the improvement of individual skills and self-reliance, and that there is no evidence from either experience or Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland statistics that there is a need for a mechanism for regulation for recreational mountaineering activities. In fact,, mountaineering incident statistics show that the number of incidents is decreasing whilst there is an increase in participation levels.
    The MCofS further believes that the introduction of a mechanism for regulating adventure activities in the context of volunteer- led clubs would be a barrier to increasing both volunteer support for, and participation in, mountaineering activities, and would in turn have an adverse impact on the Scottish Government’s stated purpose to increase ‘healthy life expectancy in Scotland’.
    Details of the background to the consultation and how to respond may be found here.
    Full details of the MCofS Response to the Consultation may be found here.

  • To download the minutes from IOL Scotland AGM 2013 (20/3/2013), Executive meeting minutes and the 2011 AGM minutes see the members only documents web page - click here

  • Scottish Government consultation on alternative to AALA

    The Scottish Government has opened its consultation to identify an appropriate replacement for the current AALA regime.  This is independent of the work currently being undertaken by the HSE working group and reporting to Westminster DWP minister Chris Grayling.  
    The Scottish Government is considering 3 options:
    Option 1.  The same voluntary code of practice based regime being developed by the HSE working group for Westminster
    Option 2.  A non-statutory and voluntary safety accreditation scheme with Government input limited to promoting and encouraging participation
    Option 3.  A statutory scheme (largely self funding) with a re-defined scope of adventurous activities
    Both options 2 & 3 would currently result in separate regimes applying in different home nations across the UK.

    IOL will formally respond to the consultation but if you wish to respond personally the link to the Scottish Government’s website is attached.  If you wish your comments to be incorporated into IOL’s response please send them to institute@outdoor-learning.org

    For more information click HERE http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/01/04112146/0

    CPD sessions planned for the future are... accreditation systems, games sharing, additional support needs / inclusion. Keep an eye on the website. As always, let us know if there’s anything else you’d like!

    IOL Scotland/Alba Committee - Email IOL Scotland 

    Scotland News - archive

    • Liability and Claims Defence Workshop - presented by Activities Industry Mutual. Feb 27th in Aviemore, with speakers from our supporting insurers, Scottish legal advisers and Marcus Baillie of AALS, amongst others.. For info contact Cathy Atkinson at AIM, T: 01892 888 472
    • Consultation on developing a safety system for Adventure Activities in Scotland - January 2012.
    • “Meanings, markets and magic” - 2012 Adventure Conference. 16th/17th February 2012. School of Adventure Studies, Fort William. Click HERE to link.
    • Scottish Biodiversity Week Nature Photography competition is now live. More here
    • Outdoor Pursuits Scotland 2012: the date for the next Outdoor Pursuits Scotland is 21-22 April 2012. 100 exhibit stands will be available. f you'd like to get involved and take advantage of our 10% early bird discount, please contact Gerry Carney on 0131 620 8371 or email
    • Residential Outdoor Education in Scotland is under threat. Once the residential outdoor education centres are closed due to financial challenges, they be will be closed for good.
      Associated Heads of Outdoor Education Centres [AHOEC] has produced and distributed the linked document (below) in an effort  to influence political parties manifestos, which are currently being refined, in preparation for the MSP election in May. All IOL members are encouraged to use the document to influence your local political candidates.

    • Scottish Biodiversity Week free wildflower seed packs. The packs contain  corn marigold, corn poppy, meadow buttercup, ox-eye daisy, St John's wort and  yarrow. This mix is attractive to bumblebees, honeybees and other insects and  can create a haven for wildlife. As well being ideal for a corner of the  garden, the seeds can also be sown in planters or window boxes, making them  easy for everybody to use. If you would like to order packs for  your event, simply complete a Scottish Biodiversity Week events form - you can  access this from the website  and send this to bit@snh.gov.uk and they will post you the seeds.

    • Learning and Teaching Scotland [LTS] National Network for Outdoor Learning in the Curriculum of Excellence
      The first meeting  was held in February 2011. It was attended by 36 participants including 14 LA 's and partner organisations which support schools in their delivery of outdoor learning.These include SNH, Forestry schools, Youthlink, DofE, IOL, Play Scotland, Scottish Adviser Panel for Outdoor Education [SAPOE] The Scottish Government representatives included Gordon Currie.
      If IOL members have issues that they wish IOL to raise at a LTS meeting pleases send emails to
      The LTS notes of the meeting are here.
    • Scottish Adventure Actives Forum [SAAF]  www.thesaaf.org.uk
      SAAF has launched a web site to disseminate  agendas and minutes of the meeting. If IOL members have issues that they wish IOL to raise at a SAAF meeting pleases send emails to

      SAAF open meeting was held to both inform and gain feedback from the outdoor industry in Scotland, following the abolishing of the existing legal licensing which is to be replaced by a code of practice. Minutes here

    Funding Available for Staff Training for Scottish Employers

    • Flexible Training Opportunities gives businesses with under 50 employees the opportunity to apply for up to £5,000 towards employee training costs.
    • Managed by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and supported by the European Social Fund, it aims to help small businesses become more resilient and to boost productivity and success.
    • Funding is available for up to 10 employees per business and the money is not a loan so there's no need to pay it back.
    • SDS will refund 50% of the cost of up to 10 training courses with a maximum value of £500 per course. And it’s flexible, so 10 employees can do one course each or one employee can do 10 courses, with any combination in between.
    • It effectively means businesses can double their training investment. Or it might help them introduce some training when they thought it wouldn’t be possible.
    • The application process is simple and the rewards can really make a difference. Many businesses have already taken advantage of the offer.

    Click here to find out more..

    For advice on how to apply, call free on 0800 783 6000.

    Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning

    A good online resource to support teachers and others in implementing Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning.
    "Ministerial foreword: Our vision for Scotland is that our children and young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens. This is one of the national outcomes set out in the Concordat with Local Government and lies at the heart of Curriculum for Excellence."
    "I encourage everyone in the school community to study Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning and pursue the opportunities presented by Curriculum for Excellence to provide creative, sustainable and progressive opportunities for all children and young people to participate in a range of outdoor learning experiences."
    Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, website at http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/outdoorlearning/index.asp

    Scottish Conservatives call for all teenagers to be given the right to outdoor education.

    The Scottish Conservatives have called for all teenagers to be given the right to outdoor education, such as climbing, hiking, sailing and abseiling. They want pupils between the age of 11 and 15 to have access to a one-week residential course. The Tories say 53,000 youngsters a year would be eligible - and the £8.5m it would cost could come from government and private donors. Teachers' leaders said there would be a risk of accidents and legal action. Early signs suggest the scheme may win cross-party support.

    If you are in or heading to Scotland you need to know all about the...

    Vital information on Insurance for all IOL Events

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    Scotland Exec

    Chair  -  Mike Strang

    CPD Coordinator / Vice Chair - Myles Farnbank
    Secretary - Alan Smith
    Treasurer -  Martin Davidson
    Committee: Debbie Williams
    PDC - Myles Farnbank 

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