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Who supports Outdoor Learning and Why?


"I am happy to place on record that the government supports the role of adventure as part of active education, especially in helping young people to learn about assessing and managing risk, in offering them new and exciting challenges, and in helping them to gain skills in leadership and team working that will be of huge value in their progression to adulthood."

Tony Blair, Prime Minister, September 2001 in support of the English Outdoor Council's 'Campaign for Adventure'.

  • "We are convinced of the value of adventurous outdoor activities for children and young people."

House of Commons Education Committee 1995.


"During this inquiry, the Committee has become convinced of the value of education outside the classroom in its broadest sense. Outdoor learning supports academic achievement, for example through fieldwork projects, as well as the development of ‘soft’ skills and social skills, particularly in hard to reach children. It can take place on school trips, on visits in the local community or in the school grounds. Yet outdoor education is in decline."
"The Department should issue a ‘Manifesto for Outdoor Learning’, giving all students a right to outdoor learning. This Manifesto should attract a similar level of funding to the Music Manifesto (£30 million) in order to deliver real change. In particular, schools in deprived circumstances should be enabled to enhance their facilities, to offer professional development programmes to their teachers and to fund off site visits. Education Outside the Classroom."

House of Commons Education and Skills Committee
Education Outside the Classroom, Second Report of Session 2004–05


"Outdoor activities both at school and on residential courses enable pupils to enjoy challenging and unfamiliar experiences that test and develop their physical, social and personal skills. They can bschool-days. This report [Outdoor education, Aspects of good practice] shows that many schools e among the most memorable experiences for pupils of their recognise the many benefits of outdoor education but also that we must work harder to ensure pupils in all schools do not miss out on these opportunities."

David Bell, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, September 2004

  • Education Secretary Ruth Kelly wants to increase the "quality and quantity" of school trips to make them an essential part of every child's education. Kelly is set to unveil the government's Outdoor Education Manifesto through which schools and outdoor pursuit centres will have to work together to improve opportunities for pupils. The move follows a critical report from a committee of MPs who blamed fear of "compensation culture" for a decline in the number of trips carried out by schools.

Ruth Kelly, Education Secretary, February 2005


"Children need to be taught how to deal with risks in life. We will encourage learning outside the classroom and provide protection for teachers worried about school trips."

Conservative Party Election Manifesto 2005

  • "To enhance our children's understanding of the environment we will give every school student the opportunity to experience out-of-classroom learning in the natural environment."

Labour Party Election Manifesto 2005

  • "We believe that out-of-classroom learning is a key part of a good education, and will include the quality of out-of-classroom education in the criteria on which schools are inspected."

Liberal Democrat Election Manifesto 2005

  • "We believe every child and young person should experience the world outside the classroom as an integral part of their learning and development, complementing learning in the classroom. High quality education outside the classroom can stimulate and inspire; foster independence; aid personal and social development; and can often motivate reluctant learners. These experiences should be stimulating, safely managed and enjoyable, and contribute to meeting the needs of every child."

Department for Education and Skills, Education outside the Classroom Manifesto (draft)

  • "We agree with the Committee that there is a wealth of good practice and many committed teachers, Heads and providers who value the benefits of learning outside the classroom and who make sure pupils experience a range of safe and stimulating activities. We believe these experiences should be widely acknowledged as an essential part of children's education at all stages."

Government response to the Second Report from the Education and Skills Committee, Session 2004-05.


"My Lords, well planned and safely delivered school trips, with learning later reinforced in the classroom, make a valuable contribution to the education of pupils of all ages and abilities. The importance of an enriched curriculum is set out in our Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners. We believe that there are educational and personal benefits to be gained from experiences as diverse as fieldwork, visiting farms, museums and galleries, and outdoor activities."

Baroness Andrews, House of Lords, Friday 12th November 2004


"The school curriculum should….enable pupils to respond positively to opportunities, challenges and responsibilities, to manage risk and to cope with change and adversity."

  • Department for Education and Skills & QCA, The National Curriculum, "Aims for the School Curriculum" 1999

"There is an essential need for adventure in the education of young people. The human need for excitement and challenge can, if unfulfilled, express itself in anti-social behaviour. Outdoor and adventurous activities have the potential to satisfy the need for excitement and challenge in a positive way."

Curriculum proposals, Secretary of State for Education and Science 1991.

Links to other websites for these (and other) sources of support for Outdoor Learning
Second Report from the Education and Skills Committee, Government response, Session 2004-05.
Education outside the Classroom Manifesto (draft, 2005) (Now known as Learning Outside the Classroom) Department for Education and Skills,
Tragedies deflect us from our core aims Anthony Seldon, Times Educational Supplement, 2006.

What is Outdoor Learning:

INDEX: What is Outdoor Learning?

Introduction page to this research

How Safe is Outdoor Learning?

How Much Outdoor Learning is going on?

Why Outdoor Learning Matters: the case for Outdoor Learning

Who supports Outdoor Learning and Why?

Campaigns for Outdoor Learning

What are the Benefits of Outdoor Learning?

Examples of Benefits gained from OL

What does the research say about Outdoor Learning?

Where to find Outdoor Learning Research?

Outdoor Learning Research in other Journals



The “What is Outdoor Learning?” research was undertaken by Dr. Roger Greenaway, author of publications such as 'Playback'. The idea for the research project came from the English Outdoor Council, and has been funded by IOL. It is potentially a key resource for the field.

Links to other websites were correct at the time of publication.