All Party Parliamentary Group - Outdoor Learning

 A little about APPGs

All Party Parliamentary Groups are informal cross-party associations, comprising MPs and, usually, members of the House of Lords. They provide a platform for parliamentarians to engage in discussions, exchange information and advocate for specific causes or interests. APPGs are self-organizing and operate independently of the official parliamentary structure, including government. They started unofficially around 1920 and became ‘official’ in 1944. By ‘official’ we mean they have to follow strict rules which gives them some access within Westminster, with their officers’ agreement, to meeting rooms and communication systems.

Establishing an APPG

The development of the APPG will help raise the profile of our work in Westminster and is to be welcomed. It grew out of the need to develop support for the re-opening of outdoor education residential centres during the pandemic, supported by Robin Miller MP, the current chair. Following the Annual General Meeting on the 24th of March 2023 to restart the APPG, there have been two meetings. On the 23rd of May, the Outdoor Learning All Party Parliamentary Group held its first meeting, with a follow up meeting taking place on the 11th July. 

2023 work to date

During the May meeting, a brief outline was given to MPs of the range of current initiatives that the Westminster government is supporting in England and the funding allocated to each of them. Alongside this, summaries of the current work being undertaken in both Scotland and Wales in support of residential outdoor education was also outlined. Identifying ‘key and current’ outdoor learning outcomes was seen as helpful in Westminster, as well as highlighting the tradition and heritage of outdoor learning in the UK. It was suggested that some MPs are keen to undertake a number of fact-finding meetings across the UK to better understand outdoor learning, its opportunities and challenges.

To support this the APPG asked the IOL to prepare an A6 briefing card on the benefits and impact of outdoor learning to be shared with all MPs. Robin Millar asked, ‘how would an MP find out about outdoor learning in their constituency?’, so IOL has begun work on a digital map of organisational members and Leading Practitioners overlaid with MP Constituencies - a draft of which was presented at the APPG meeting on the 11th July.

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The map was well received by the APPG and have requested that this is further developed and presented by the APPG to all MPs at an event in Westminster in November. The QR code (which is Chrome compatible) will go on the A6 briefing card. There is a need to ensure the map is as representative as possible, so please share with other high quality outdoor learning providers who may like to be added to the map. This is being prepared as a UK All Party Parliamentary Group digital tool open to all who wish to be included. As a sector we need a contact in every Constituency. To request to be added please email IOL

Find out more about the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for Outdoor Learning.

All Party Parliamentary Group for Outdoor Learning Digital Map Project 2023

 

Horizons Magazine Article - Political Adventuring

 

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