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1

Sep

2017

The purpose of your outdoor learning practice

What have you done since the challenge at the 2016 IOL National Conference when  Valerie Hannon asked ‘what is the purpose of outdoor learning?’ and challenged us with the evidence of need for a changed approach to learning in a rapidly changing global community.

So what is the purpose of your outdoor learning practice?  For those working with schools it can be very easy with the regular work of the annual school cycle, to allow sole focus on the immediate learning programme content.  For those working to develop the effectiveness of businesses or provide impactful leisure experiences, the pressure of generating the right level of income can also lead to a short term focus.  Finding the space and asking such high level questions with potentially hard and far reaching answers, requires a change in mindset.  How do you achieve that?

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2

May

2017

Life beyond AALA

We like what we’ve got thank you

We’ve come to know and trust the licensing regime and value the role its inspectors play.  I am clear that the sector has benefited hugely through the development of an intelligent approach to risk management and legislation compliance.  We don’t want to lose the culture that AALA has brought to the sector and any new regime needs to continue to bring the same rigour and developmental benefits to the sector.

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31

Mar

2017

It’s a question of status

The outdoor learning sector delivers its services through a range of business models like many other sectors in the UK economy.  It is a vibrant mixture of profit led, public sector and charitable businesses ranging from the self employed model to the large scale multiple site based employer.  Recent efforts by the HMRC to clarify the status of workers in the UK is helping to make a little clearer the rights and responsibilities of employers, employees and the self employed.

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22

Aug

2016

Obesity and the outdoors

The recently published Westminster government's plan to tackle childhood obesity contains some encouraging elements that encourage regular exercise. The response of the press though has largely been around the responsibilities of the food and drinks industry and the retailers. Surely the debate should be about why people don't adopt healthy lifestyles and not how much tax should be levied on sugary drinks. It's worth reading what is a fairly short paper on the plan to tackle childhood obesity.

The Institute will be responding to the associated consultation. If you have strong views you want represented let me know. If you want to explore this further catch me at the IOL National Conference in October.

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18

Aug

2016

Creating a sustainable culture of outdoor learning in schools

The launch of the reported findings of the largest recent study of outdoor learning in schools, 'Natural Connections', is a helpful contribution to our understanding of the impact of outdoor learning in schools and the key factors that influence positive outcomes.  Less helpful from my perspective is the introduction of yet another acronym to the teacher's lexicon!  I fear that we may add a good deal of confusion with the introduction of the term 'Learning in the Natural Environment' or LINE, as a way of sub-dividing outdoor learning.

Acronyms to one side, the Natural Connections report is worth a read (full report). If you prefer to listen to others describe some key insights Natural England have produced a useful 10 minute film

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