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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.

We work in partnership with other organisations in the sector to ensure a more powerful and consistent voice. We make direct comment submitting evidence to government enquiries and provide articles to national and regional press as well as supporting our partners to strengthen their voice in the sector.









English Outdoor Council






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. IOL News, member newsletter and direct emails are used to invite members to respond to consultations. Working for you - the quarterly IOL Insights section in our professional magazine, Horizons, reports on recent activity.

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 and community groups in dynamic surroundings.


Influence your MP direct

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


Open Consultations


Character and resilience, a call for evidence - Closes 5th July 2019

Education Secretary: “Character and resilience are key to social mobility”

Having a go at new activities and learning from failure will boost children’s character and resilience, the Education Secretary has said today. A new advisory group of experts in character ...

This call for evidence seeks views on the importance of character and resilience in young people. It welcomes examples of good practice in developing character in pupils in schools, colleges and other educational settings.

Responses will be used to help the advisory group further refine their thinking in relation to the development of character in children and young people.

(Link to consultation)


Draft Curriculum for Wales 2022 - Closes 9th July 2019

Draft Curriculum for Wales 2022. Designed by teachers. Built for children. The new curriculum is now available for feedback. This is your chance to get to know the new curriculum and make your contribution.

(Link to consultation)


Have your say. We have been working with education and childcare professionals, and other experts to develop a new approach to the curriculum. Together we have developed guidance which will help funded non-maintained settings and schools create a new curriculum for their learners.

(Link to Have Your Say)


Review of AALA and development of a sector led inspection regime

The Minister, Sarah Newton MP, has confirmed her support for the HSE Board’s decision to pursue Option 3. HSE will continue to engage with the Devolved Governments and stakeholders throughout this process. The AALA team thank you for your patience and remind stakeholders that the final decision rests with Parliament and it will take a number of years before we reach a conclusion.

Latest Updates :

Join the UK Outdoor Learning, Sector Strategic Forum 3rd Oct 2019 to discuss the latest updates on Safety, Inspection and post AALA licensing.



Current Activity


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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