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IOL Blog

IOL Blog - Comment from the Institute

 

11

Jan

2018

Outdoor Learning: a standalone exercise?

Perspectives article by Andy Robinson, IOL CEO, from Horizons 79

The recently published report by the Department for Education into Character Education (August 2017) could be viewed as an exercise in re-branding but I think there is more to take from it than that.  The reference to character traits in the report such as resilience, self-esteem and confidence, communication skills, self-regulation, perseverance and motivation, respect, tolerance and empathy, may lead an outdoor learning professional to think that they might be at the heart of a school’s approach to delivering Character Education.  Think again!  The survey of schools behind the report makes little to no reference to outdoor learning.
 

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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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4

Jan

2017

It’s all about social mobility

Ministers’ of state come and go and those with a portfolio for education and training are no different.  There are obviously many challenges associated with frequent change of leadership in this way.  A significant one for those of us seeking a change to the value placed on outdoor learning is the emphasis and terminology associated with some of the key outcomes of high quality outdoor learning. 

The increasing focus on ‘character education’ driven by the previous administration appears to be gently fading....or is it?  My experience at a recent forum in Westminster was that though terminology and emphasis may have shifted the desired outcomes remain the same.  It is those desired outcomes of higher levels of educational engagement and attainment, increased employability, commitment to a role in wider society and responsibility for the environment we live in, that also remain key outcomes from well designed and facilitated outdoor learning activity.

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