Issue - meetings

Outdoor Education and Learning Strategy

Meeting: 07/12/2021 - Cabinet (Item 7)

7 Outdoor Education and Learning Strategy pdf icon PDF 306 KB

A report seeking approval of the Outdoor Education and Learning Strategy.


Portfolio Holder – Councillor Jeff Morgan.

Additional documents:


Councillor jeff Morgan opened this item by explaining that outdoor education can mean different things to different people.


The document placed before Cabinet is an enabling strategy, this being a good means of approaching policy and delivery. Development of the strategy had involved a number of members and those from educational settings. Councillor Jeff Morgan urged schools to include outdoor education in their curricula. It is unknown whether any similar strategies exist nationally, but it is thought not. The expectation is that the strategy and its implementation will result in a network of professionals in schools that can focus on outdoor education opportunities.


Councillor Jerry Roodhouse welcomed the strategy emphasising that it should be a stand-alone corporate document and not a sub strategy of the education strategy. Members agreed that this should be the case and added a statement to recommendation 2 to that effect.


Councillor Peter Butlin agreed that children should be given the opportunity to be educated outdoors. He observed that often the chances of this are determined by affordability.




That Cabinet:


1. Notes the recommendations made by Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 16th November 2021 (attached as appendix 1); and


2. approves Warwickshire County Council’s Outdoor Education and Learning Strategy as a corporate strategy of the Council (attached as appendix 2).

Meeting: 16/11/2021 - Children & Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 5)

5 Outdoor Education and Learning Strategy pdf icon PDF 426 KB

Additional documents:


Sarah Tregaskis (Service Manager – Education Service Delivery) introduced the report along with the draft strategy and appendices.


Councillor Dahmash, acknowledging the closure of the Marle Hall facility in North Wales asked what should be said to people who miss it. In reply the committee was informed that outdoor education is about more than one facility. Marle Hall was a facility and not a provision. It had not been widely used by schools in recent years. The strategy aims to open up opportunities for more schools to pursue outdoor education activities.


Councillor Pete Gilbert observed that very often outdoor education relies on having a teacher with a passion for it. It is an important element of the curriculum and should not be overlooked. Schools, he added, need to work with the County Council. Would the strategy ensure that outdoor education is included in the curriculum? Councillor Gilbert closed by suggesting that there is a role for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in monitoring future outdoor education provision.


In reply, Sarah Tregaskis stated that a part of the delivery plan is a proposal to set up a professionals’ network for Warwickshire. This will bring schools and teachers together to share practice and obtain feedback. A recent survey had found plenty of activity going on already.


The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places overall responsibility for health and safety on educational visits with the employer. Where Warwickshire County Council is the employer; which includes community schools, community special schools, voluntary controlled schools, maintained nursery schools but not academies, foundation, voluntary-aided or free schools, WCC provides support to schools via the web-based system EVOLVE to facilitate the efficient planning, management, approval, and evaluation of visits.


One school that operates a forest school approach has offered to provide training for other schools wishing to follow this route. One school that operates a forest school approach has offered to provide training for other schools wishing to follow this route.


Councillor Brian Hammersley recognised the difficulties of providing outdoor challenges and activities in a climate of blame and litigation.


Councillor Jerry Roodhouse suggested that outdoor education had been given a low priority for some time. The closure of Marle Hall had brought it to the fore. A clear definition of outdoor education and provision is required, and it will be important to monitor delivery of the strategy over time.


Councillor Roodhouse challenged the status of the emerging strategy. At one stage it was to have been a sub-strategy of the Education Strategy, but this had been considered inappropriate. It should, he suggested, be a corporate strategy signed off by the Leader of the Council. It would then sit at a high level with other corporate documents.


Councillor Jeff Morgan agreed that it would be useful if the strategy included a definition of outdoor pursuits. Some activities that were undertaken in the 1970s would not be considered acceptable now he added. The committee was reminded that outdoor activities are not a statutory service. Nevertheless, they  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5