Chair of Trustees
I was appointed as a Trustee in Feb 2010 and have now the privilege of supporting IOL in becoming the Chair of the Trustee Board. I started working in the outdoors when I was a 16yr old apprentice and now 30 years later I have the privilege of continuing to enable people to engage with the outdoor environment. Through this journey in the outdoors I have overseen the development of Releasing Potential which is an education charity that comprises of an Independent Special School, Academic Institute and Forest Schools amongst its interests. I became a trustee as I believe that interaction (in any form) with the outdoors is a positive vehicle for change in people’s lives, enabling them to understand who they are and what they can become.
I look forward to serving the Institute, meeting members of the organisation and helping to develop relationships that supports a positive interaction with the outdoors for the whole of society.
I’ve been an IOL Trustee for about 9 years to date and have held the roles of Chair and Vice Chair previously. I have worked in the Outdoors for around 35 years as a climbing instructor and running outdoor centres so becoming involved with IOL seemed a chance to help shape and develop our world a bit. I’m currently based at Castleton in the Peak District running Losehill Hall for the Youth Hostels Association. I’ve been very fortunate in that this role has given research and travel opportunities around the UK, Europe and beyond over the years.
I was honoured to be appointed to the Board in March 2018 as a Trustee. I have been enjoying the outdoors since escaping inner-city Cardiff in the late 70s with the Scouts, canoeing in the Lakes with Lancaster University, and 25 years of walking and cycling all over the UK, Europe and more exotic locations including Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan and China – interspersed with teaching science and 25 years working for PGL. The Outdoors can be transformational – not least for those of us who grow and develop through working in it. My passion these days is for working to ensure that the outdoor workforce has access to fit-for-purpose training and assessment programmes that can stand shoulder to shoulder with other better understood sectors. This is hugely interesting time for IOL and I look forward to working with the Trustee team and Executive.
I was appointed as an IOL Trustee in March 2017, I am currently Head of Geography at AKS School, Lytham St Anne’s. I don’t really remember a time before spending time in the outdoors, but professionally I been in the Outdoor Learning sector since 1997; first as an outdoor instructor, then as a geography teacher trying to spend as much time outdoors, where the learning is enhanced. As a teacher for the last 16 years, I am keen to ensure that the myriad of outdoor learning opportunities that take place in countless schools are represented and supported both in and through the IOL.
It was a privilege to be co-opted as a IOL trustee in 2018. I’ve been working in the outdoors since volunteering at my local Scout site at the age of 15. Having got the bug for being in nature and sharing adventures and I went on to do one season in an instructor role. Many years later, in what must surely be the longest season ever, I now work in the voluntary sector for the Scouts looking after Scout Adventures.
I’ve joined the trustees of IOL as I think the voluntary sector plays an important role in both enabling young people to have truly life changing experiences outdoors well as providing a great route into becoming a practitioner either as a volunteer or in a paid position.
It’s an exciting time to be part of IOL and I look forward to working with the team to bring our aspirations to life whilst making sure we also represent the vast voluntary sector that contributes so much to young people getting outside.
Having spent my working life with environmental organisations such as National Parks, RSPB, CCW, and latterly the Field Studies Council I have recently retired. I have always enjoyed the outdoors myself, and in my working life looked to encourage others to develop their professional skills, particularly focussing on young people, the natural environment and educational aspects. I have now more time to look to work with others such as IOL to continue to focus on developing professional standards, helping others progress in their careers and retain that enthusiasm for the outdoors. When not outdoors on the local hills, or in my veg garden here in west Wales, I am to be found in my sewing room being creative.
I have worked for 37 years in the field of learning outside the classroom with the last 25 years as the Chief Executive of the Field Studies Council. I actively support the gathering and dissemination of research on learning outside the classroom (LOtC) and have been involved in lobbying for the place of LOtC in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. I have been a past member of SEC; SEAC; SCAA; NCC and ACAC committees on geography and environmental education and have assisted in establishing residential and day field centres in Hungary and Slovakia. Similarly, I have helped to develop partnerships to share good practice in learning outside the classroom in China; Japan; Singapore; India; Slovenia and Poland. I recognise the importance of ensuring a varied entitlement of LOtC experiences for ALL children and students throughout their formal education.
I am a qualified teacher and have worked as an outdoor instructor in public, private and 3rd sector Centres in both the UK and aboard. I have been head of centre at Calvert Trust (Lake District) and Outward Bound (Ullswater and Howtown). I also hold a number of high-level outdoor qualifications but my main field of interest the inclusion of those with disabilities into outdoor learning opportunities, a field in which I have completed a PhD and work as a consultant. I have written a number of book chapters and articles on this topic. I became a trustee as I had gained much from the being a member of IOL (and its preceding guises) benefitting greatly from the work and experience of others. I now felt I should contribute what I could for the future of outdoor leaning and to the benefit of members.
Growing up in and having a heritage in the outdoors meant it was inevitable I would continue along that path albeit with various dispersions into other sectors such as engineering and food manufacture. From working in outdoor centres, local authorities, commercial and third sector environments, I now specialise in Leader, Instructor and Coach education, leading on mountain biking and integrating the Outdoors Sector within the NGB context through my role at British Cycling. My motivations in the outdoors started with groups returning from my activities saying ‘that was brilliant’ and ‘when can we do that again?’. These still apply although I now want participants to say it to the leaders and instructors that have benefitted from the training and provision I have been able to influence. I am keen to enable engagement in the outdoors across society and to help in being part of IOL’s increasing support in transforming lives.
I have worked in environmental education for many years and in education for even longer as a trained teacher. During this time I have developed a passion for learning and the benefits of developing connection with the natural environment, strongly believing that learning experiences in contexts outside the classroom make significant and long lasting impacts.
In my current role as Head of Engagement with the Peak District National Park, I am involved in working with the education and outreach teams across all 15 of the UK’s National Parks to deliver the commitment for every young person to have a National Park experience during their school years.