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The Institute's Work

The Institute's Approach

The institute works to ensure the voice of outdoor learning is heard and valued across the UK. This takes many forms including: submitting evidence to government enquiries; providing comment and articles to national and regional press; advising regulatory bodies, policy makers and large scale commissioners of service and working with key stakeholders such as landowners, funders and business service providers.

The institute works in partnership with other organisations in the sector to ensure a more powerful and consistent voice. The institute providers direct support to the primary forum for this joint working, the Outdoor Council. The council’s other members are Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres, British Activity Providers Association, Christian Camping International, Field Studies Council, Outdoor Education Advisors Panel, Scout Association and Young Explorer’s Trust.

Keeping Up To Date and Direct Influencing

The institute seeks to provide opportunities for members to influence direct as well as speaking on your behalf. Member newsletter and direct emails are used to invite members to respond to consultations.

As an outdoor learning provider you are encouraged to develop a direct influencing relationship with your own MP. Many outdoor learning activities provide excellent opportunities for MP’s to engage with young people in dynamic surroundings.


Influence your MP direct

How do I find out more about and contact my MP?


Keep up to date

All the following are sources of up to date information and opportunities to participate in influencing activity :

  • The monthly member newsletter


  • Regional meetings, web pages and social media


  • Professional Practice Group web pages


  • The Chief Exec’s Blog


  • Horizon’s magazine


Current Activity

Review of ALAA and develop of a sector led inspection regime

The Institute continues to support the dialogue between the HSE and representatives of the outdoor sector. A group of representatives from the 4 home nations are exploring the possibility of enabling the HSE to draw back from running AALS.
AALA and the requirement for a licence to deliver in scope activities to under 18's will remain in place until at least 2019.
April 2017

Education select committee’s review of purpose & quality of education in England

The Institute will continue to support the Education Select Committee's review working with its chair Neil Carmichael. If you wish to influence this work please contact us

Apprenticeship standards for outdoor learning

The Institute’s work on the new outdoor trailblazer apprenticeships, led by Neal Anderson (IOL Professional Standards Manager) is progressing well. The group of employers behind the new standards have written letters of support for the first detailed standards known as ‘Outdoor Learning Session Deliverer’ or OLSD and the next stages of development work involve the preparation assessment plans and indicative costings. The guidance for development of new trailblazer apprenticeships is evolving and is now being issued by the recently formed Institute for Apprenticeships so the outdoor team has been changing plans as they go along. The unchanged element is that those employers looking to take on new outdoor learning apprentices for OLSD roles (level 2) in autumn 2017 will still be able to do so. Further details can be found on this website for more comment on this on-going review.
May 2017

Expansion of the National Citizens Service

IOL's employers group met with a representative of the NCS Trust in February 2017 to consider the developments of the service being planned by the Trust and potential implications for adventurous activity providers. The Trust's approach was questioned in a recent a recent National Audit Office report though remains confident that enhanced leadership and development of standards will deliver the value being asked of it. The institute will continue to support the development of the role Outdoor Learning plays in the NCS programme providing direct guidance and facilitating a dialogue between the Trust and the sector.
March 2017

Supporting Westminster Hall debate on learning outside the classroom

The Institute provided a comprehensive over view of the sectors benefits to Barry Sheerman MP to support his recent recent debate amongst MP's at Westminster. Further Information
April 2017

Strengthening the evidence base

The Institute has committed to funding a research coordinator post through the University of Cumbria to support the functioning of the recently formed regional research hubs. The post will be advertised in May 2017 with and anticipated start day of September. See Research for further information on the work of the Institute in improving the sector's approach to its evidence base.
May 2017



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