Member update - January 20th 2021
Sector Update : Coronavirus
The UKOutdoors group will continue to work on your behalf and provide regular updates. If you have any queries or suggestions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
On the basis of the points above it is very clear now that the sector is in desperate need of financial assistance if we are to retain our educational Infrastructure that supports Outdoor Learning in the UK. As a sector we are almost unique in having effectively been closed for some 10 months. Though Job Retention Scheme, CBILS, BBLS and a variety of local and national restrictions grants have provided support for some so far, this is clearly not sufficient to ensure the survival of providers that depend upon school residentials especially, as we approach 12 months of effective closure. Sector lobbying priority has been a change to Government guidance with the addition of specific financial support to enable us to work our way through this. However that can no longer be the case. In addition to the progress made in Scotland representatives are now committed to approaching Department for Culture Media & Sport and the Welsh Assembly directly, with detailed financial impact information and a request for funding. You will shortly receive a financial survey to gather the data needed for this.
As you'll be aware the sector is experiencing the closure of centres and other providers on top of those that were under review prior to COVID impacts. It is clear from recent sector surveys that this was a financially robust sector the restrictions associated with the pandemic are the primary reasons for the temporary or permanent closures. Download an update which, with respect to the sensitivities around this is still indicative of the current situation. Many thanks to those that have contacted us with information in such difficult times to build a picture.
School Travel Sector Stakeholder Group
This working group was formed in December to work with the Department for Education on the roadmap to re-starting residentials. The focus remains on the February review by DfE, and on preparing for that. The spread of the virus, emergence of new variants and the national lockdown now have placed significant pressure and uncertainty on the process but at present timescales for the review are unchanged. We do, however, recognise that guidance on overnight educational visits can only follow the wider health situation, success of the vaccination programme and the reopening of schools. We are currently considering a request to DfE to hold the review off until the end of February at the earliest in order to offer the best possible conditions for a favourable decision.
Download an update from the STSSG with details of work ongoing.
Robin Millar MP and Tim Fallon MP have been co-chairing the new APPG for Outdoor Learning and it has much support from MPs and parliamentarians. Plas y Brenin is providing the secretariat function and together we are now developing an advisory group to the APPG within UK Outdoors to support this. This is important as it allows us to raise the profile of the urgency and plight of our sector at a parliamentary level as well as build foundations for developing cross-party understanding of our sector and the value it provides.
Save Outdoor Education Campaign #SaveOutdoorEd
The media campaign run by several of you has gained much traction and has been invaluable in providing information and encouraging support from the public for our sector. It has coordinated regional communications, distribution of banners and provided much needed support and communications opportunities for providers. It has led the social media presence and narrative to inform those outside our world of our situation and what is under threat. It's difficult to see how progress such as the formation and work of the APPG could ever have been made without the concerted efforts of those colleagues who have given their time and commitment despite the effects of the situation on their own businesses. An update from the campaign specifically will be shared this week.