Outdoor Learning Sector Survey report
The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across all areas of the Outdoor Learning sector. The sector provides over 15,000 jobs and £700m to the UK economy and is also starting to experience the influence of rising energy costs, staffing challenges and a ‘cost of living’ squeeze on parental spending power. This survey has been specifically requested by the DCMS to provide informed evidence about the immediate and future support requirements of the varied domestic outdoor learning delivery models in the UK. We recognise that whilst education and youth services are devolved issues for Home Nations, ownership or responsibility for outdoor learning organisations and their education and youth services can be UK wide.
Much of the sector is making a good recovery from the short-term impacts of the pandemic. This masks some underlying challenges that many providers anticipate will impact them. The ‘4 big threats’ are Energy costs, Staffing shortages, Parental spending power and Very high inflation.
27% of providers responding to this survey have experienced growth in excess of 20%, compared to pre-pandemic levels. Some of this is driven by a desire by schools to ensure those that missed out in 2020 and 2021 can access the benefits of outdoor learning and may not repeat.
A third of providers have seen turnover decrease in the last year and the confidence levels for the medium to short term are not high. 45% of providers say they are unsure or not confident of future booking trends over 6-24 months, rising to 53% for more than 2 years.
Whilst providers will welcome government funding to support workforce development, resource development and assistance in reaching children and young people, their biggest concern is the funding of outdoor learning activity provision.
Read or download the summary report PDF here