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Fellow (IOL) Profiles

IOL Fellow Awardees

Paul Airey photo
Paul Airey

Paul’s career in the outdoors has progressed from handyman through instructor to teacher of outdoor education, deputy and head of centre, to his last full time post as Outdoor Education & LOtC Adviser for Cheshire West Chester Children’s Services and Halton Children’s Services. Paul has at various times been Chair of the Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP), Chair of Mountain Training Cymru, and a regional chair of the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres (AHOEC).
Other roles include/have included Vice Chair of the Outdoor Partnership and LOtC Trustee on the Quality Badge Committee. Paul was elected onto CLOtC’s (Council for Learning Outside the Classroom) Board in 2009 and has made an exceptional contribution developing the LOtC Quality Badge and the development of LOtC Mark for Schools. He is also a trustee of the Field Studies Council and a governor of a large secondary school in Cheshire which is committed to delivering much of the curriculum through outdoor learning. Some of his other contributions have been chairing the Mountain Leader Training Board for Wales through a period of increasing financial challenge and with Bill Taylor (with the help of Bob Burson and Stephen Brown) designing and writing the new National Guidance for the OEAP. Paul has been a member of AAIAC and the Managing Forum for AAIAC.  He has also been part of the development groups for both APIOL and LPIOL and continues to help mentor and assess for the latter award.
Paul has been an inspiration to many younger practitioners. As a mentor, he adopts a questioning and reflecting approach that encourages them to develop their own thinking, but is also there to give advice when necessary. He has a quiet, understated approach to getting things done effectively, combining an extremely patient determination, a huge sense of humour, innovative and creative ideas, a measure of pragmatism for knowing what it is realistic to expect, and a great talent for creative diagrams and mind maps!
Paul is approached for advice and guidance by a huge range of professionals from across the sector, as he is held in such firm regard by his peers.
Paul has an incredible capacity for engendering enthusiasm in everyone; he is an excellent ambassador for outdoor learning and an all-round nice bloke.
Despite retiring from full time work, Paul continues with his trustee commitment to LOtC and the FSC and does enough inspection and consultancy work to keep himself out of too much mischief.

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Geoff Cooper

Geoff has had a wide ranging career in the outdoors and throughout has been an advocate for values based outdoor education. He has managed to combine a deeply reflective approach with practical and productive ground breaking work.
He has had a range of roles from a teacher of geography, both as an overseas volunteer in Sierra Leone, and within secondary school in Cheshire. He has held a senior lecturer post in higher education in Liverpool and spent several years as deputy head of Loosehill Hall in the Peaks. Since 1983 he has been head of centre for two Wigan outdoor education centres in the Lake District.
His sphere of influence has been considerable with national and international impact both within and beyond the outdoor learning field. His book ‘Outdoors with Young People’ has been a university text for over five years and he has secured European funding to continue a programme he developed which brings together teachers and other outdoor leaders from more than nine countries.
His values clearly underpin every aspect of his work and he is adept at communicating these to others and inspiring them to think about their own values and practice via numerous articles in Horizons and other publications.  He has also organised conferences which have brought together practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds and from different countries.
His long standing work with the Environmental Awareness Group has been a key strand of his contribution to the outdoor field. Described by one of his referees as ‘a natural alliance builder’ he has brought together outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists and land managers to facilitate co-operative and positive working.
A man of vision, Geoff has helped to inspire and develop young people and outdoor leaders across the outdoor learning spectrum and has reached beyond the sector into work with health authorities and others. This is also demonstrated through his work with Cumbria Development Education Centre where he has promoted the links between outdoor education and global awareness. Despite recent funding challenges he is determined to see this work continue.
His tireless efforts to keep environmental issues at the heart of all outdoor experiences show his future focused style and commitment to the development of more sustainable lifestyles. Geoff is held in great esteem by colleagues for his holistic approach and the way he has translated this into action to influence and inspire others at all levels.

Wendy Johnson

Sad to announce the death of Wendy Johnson

We are very sad to announce the death of Wendy Johnson, a past chair of the National Association for Outdoor Education and a pivotal figure in helping it to converge with other organisations to form the Institute for Outdoor Learning. 

Wendy was a pioneering woman leader in our field (Head of an Outward Bound Centre, Local Authority Adviser for Outdoor Learning, both of these at a time when this was not the norm), a far-sighted and inspirational convenor of new projects and a generous friend; we will miss her enormously.

A fuller appreciation of her life will be appearing in Horizons.

26th January 2015.

Wendy Johnson

Wendy, after graduating from I.M.Marsh College, Liverpool in 1957 started her career as a PE teacher. A post in Derbyshire led to voluntary work at Whitehall, the first LEA Outdoor Education Centre; contacts from an alpine summer in the Dolomites led to an high school post in Wisconsin; a Masters degree from Madison University led to lecturing at Beloit College Illinois. On returning to Britain she became a Senior Instructor with the Outward Bound Trust and after further work in comprehensive schools became Head of Rhowniar Outward Bound in  1978, taking particular pleasure in ensuring gender equality on her staff. She then became the Outdoor Education Adviser for Hampshire, became an Ofsted Inspector in 1989 before retiring to the Lakes, finishing an Open University Sociology degree and latterly moving to Mid Wales. Wendy took a crucial role in lobbying and influencing at national level,  convincing many people in positions of authority of the positive value of purposeful activity in the outdoors, and that quality of experience was as crucial as safe technical performance.  This was particularly important during the early 1990s, when outdoor centres in particular came under serious threat for the first time.
Wendy has been involved with NAOE/AfOL/IOL since its inception in 1974.  She moved from being a member to membership secretary, secretary, chair and vice chair of IOL. When NAOE/AfOL was in serious danger of collapsing during the early 1990s, leaving outdoor professionals with no central educational voice to represent them,  Wendy did the boring bits, holding the membership records together and generally encouraging, supporting and leading the other people who were helping the association to stay in existence and evolve at that time. Wendy acquired the premises, workforce and publications of Adventure Education Ltd. and in 1999 donated these to NAOE. The office and staff were seminal in the growth and development of the Institute.

Wendy continued to sponsor personal Bursaries through the 90's and Institute projects into the first new decade. She continued in the second decade to sponsor work at government level hoping to encourage a benign climate in experiential work in a risk adverse society.
Wendy was awarded an MBE in 2004 for services to outdoor education and  learning, and IOL is very grateful to her for her outstanding services to outdoor learning ….. and to us!

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Bertie Everard

Bertie’s paid career was in HR, mainly for ICI, but his contribution to the development of young people through outdoor education has been exceptional, as  has his significant wider contribution to the fields of education, training and management development over the years.
He worked tirelessly to ensure ‘joined up thinking’ across different sectors, for example through his work on the English Outdoor Council and his chairmanship of the Development Training Advisory Group Employers’ Group.  Bertie played the leading part in mounting a well-attended national conference on development training in 1986, which brought together the main players at the time and gave development training more of a national identity. Thereafter Bertie helped to get development training on to the educational map - helped by his writing of the History of Development Training.
Bertie also had a huge influence on the development and acceptance of professional and vocational standards in outdoor learning. He was involved with the development of the management and leadership, the training and development, the youthwork and the trustee competences, and one of his lasting contributions was the inclusion of a spiritual development unit in the youthwork suite.
He also served on one of the Adonis committees leading to the Manifesto for Outdoor Learning, which led to the Learning outside the classroom project.  He also gave enormous time and energy to charities that work for young people: Brathay, Bowles, Endeavour, Fairbridge, Leadership Trust, Lindley, Outward Bound, Raleigh, Trident and YMCA to mention a few!
Bertie wrote a number of chapters in edited books, articles and speeches promoting the significance and philosophy of development training as part of the overall education offer, for example, in the development of values and the importance of the spiritual dimension.  He was also a University of London Institute of Education Visiting Fellow.
He served on IOL committees for many years, and could always be relied on for wide knowledge, sharp intellect, passion and a ruthless eye for detail and sloppy reasoning!  He was valued as a knowledgeable provocateur, activist and challenger.
His most recent contribution to the outdoors was as founder chair of Lambourne End outdoor residential centre. The centre has acquired a good reputation and an unusually wide repertoire of activities, including the most complex artificial caving system in Europe.
Bertie now puts his energies more into his local church and youth groups, but IOL is immensely grateful to him for his steering and nudging of outdoor learning over the years…….. it wouldn’t be in the same place as it is now, if you hadn’t been involved!

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Randall Williams

Randall’s Fellowship was awarded in February 2010.  He has been a significant influence on the maturing of the outdoor learning sector over the last 20 years and was chair of the English Outdoor Council from 2003 to 2012. He was the first chair of the Southern Council for Outdoor Education and chaired the convergence committee leading to the formation of IOL in 2001, for which he was an interim trustee/chair. In the 80’s and 90’s his enthusiasm for skiing led to a variety of roles in the English Ski Council, including a two year period of service as ESC President. In 2002 he was asked to chair the IOL Professional Accreditation Group developing the APIOL process and criteria and has been involved in the Learning Outside the Classroom project including as a trustee of the council. On retirement from his day job (Director of Bowles Outdoor Centre in Sussex) he completed a doctorate researching the impact of residential outdoor education on primary school pupils.  He remains chair of the IOL Employers’ Group.

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Ken Ogilvie (on left in the photograph)

Ken’s Fellowship was awarded in February 2010.  Ken is author of the classic text ‘Leading and Managing Groups in the Outdoors’.   From the 1970s, to the 1990s Ken was continuously an active contributor to NAOE, MLT B and AHOEC committees, including as AHOEC treasurer, secretary and chair. Just for good measure he also sat on the local D of E Gold panel for most of his working life (as Warden of Manchester’s Lake District Ghyll Head Centre) and beyond. Most people will know him as the IOL, and previously NAOE, Newsletter Editor which he has steadfastly written and edited four times a year since the early 90s. He continues to write ‘Green Scene’ for Horizons. His new publication 'Roots & Wings: A History of Outdoor Education and Outdoor Learning in the UK'  - a 15 year work on the history of the outdoor sector.

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Bill Taylor

Bill Taylor has been professionally involved in the outdoors for over forty years and has made an outstanding national contribution during that time.  His educational philosophy stemmed from a wish to share with young people the wonder he had experienced in the outdoors, from his early experience in the Mountains of Mourne to the two winters that he spent in the Antarctic.  His personal adventures include the first kayak circumnavigation of Britain and Ireland, which he led.
He has worked in a variety of roles, graduating from secondary school teaching to Head of Centre at both Stubbers and Llanrug, to his current role as Outdoor Education Adviser for Worcestershire.  He has also spent a number of years as Staff Training Adviser for Outward Bound Singapore.
His major contribution lies in the work that he has done for the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres (AHOEC) and the Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP).  He was National Chair of AHOEC between 1998 and 2000.  This coincided with the government’s Fair Funding initiative and the political influencing that Bill achieved helped to mitigate the negative impact of that initiative.  He also facilitated changes to the constitution of AHOEC to allow a wider membership base and has been one of the principal authors of the AHOEC Code of Ethics and Code of Practice.
He has also been an active member of OEAP and was centrally involved in the development of Educational Visit Co-ordinator training and the newer Visit Leader training.  He remains very active to this day, being part of a small team that has developed new OEAP guidance for employers in learning outside the classroom, which will update the existing national guidance and will be launched in October 2010.  He has been particularly keen to develop alliances between the major outdoor organisations and has for a number of years been the liaison officer responsible for the relationship between AHOEC and OEAP.
Bill is widely respected across the outdoor community.  His analytical and reflective approach contributed to numerous innovations within AHOEC and OEAP.  He has been tireless and persistent in working to develop the awareness and skills of those who work in the outdoors and he continues to shape and create a climate of professionalism within which young people can enjoy quality outdoor experiences.

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Bob Burson

Bob has a working lifetime in outdoor and adventurous education going back to 1965. He has been a teacher in schools, a voluntary youth worker, a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award leader, an instructor in O.E. Centres in this country and in Sweden, a Head of Centre and an Outdoor Education Adviser, - and a counsellor.
His early working years were influenced by the ex-services instructor attitude to adventure activities when blood, sweat and blisters were regarded as essential to character development.  In the 1970s he developed an innovative two year curriculum for “non-academic” boys in a tough single gender city school, and later moved into full time residential outdoor education.  As a Head of Centre he transformed an old-style centre into a place of inspiration for young people from the county, establishing bursaries to give help to those from difficult circumstances and raising money to improve the facilities; he eventually became Adviser for the county.
After working with the Association of Heads of Outdoor Centres at regional level, Bob was appointed to the national executive, where he became head hunter to maintain a bi-annual flow of national chairs and secretaries, taking on the role of Chair himself at the testing time of the Foot and Mouth outbreak. He represented AHOEC on MLTB/E for many years; and was vice-chair and then MLTE chairman, where one of his key achievements was negotiating the establishment of the Climbing Walls Award. 
Bob’s unwavering commitment to national agendas over the years, shows that he is in this for the long game.   His ability to think, plan and act strategically bringing together many national agendas into specific meetings is a great strength, and he has been involved in many negotiations and initiatives at government level, such as Learning Outside the Classroom and the OEAP project to produce new definitive national guidance on educational visits.
Bob is also a great enthusiast and a motivator and support to colleagues.  He has been a director/trustee to the Mountain Training trust for 6 years and has contributed to the strategic direction of the board as well as providing wise counsel and support. One of his referees commented in particular that “His continued energetic input, endurance and positiveness beggars belief; I have never heard him utter a sceptical comment despite provocation.”
Bob’s fundraising abilities are legendary, be they for his centre or for the sector, for his local church or to fund a school in Nepal.  But he also maintains his full personal adventures in the outdoors, returning after leave from yet another caving or gorge walking or skiing experience. Bob is regarded as a person with much integrity, broad outdoor experience, considerable organisational and management skill, and unlimited energy.

Dick Allcock

Dick Allcock, who led many innovative and formative projects in outdoor learning, became a honorary Fellow of IOL in March 2004. From 1959 Dick introduced the ideas of a youth work approach to expeditions, expeditions for all, mixed groups and a service ethic. He led trips to Greenland, Ethiopia and Greece, and also founded Endeavour Training. Dick was also a founder member of the National Association for Outdoor learning (now IOL) in the 60s and his love of rural life and livestock led him to start Arthur Rank Training, a voluntary organisation that has helped many young people failing at school find meaningful work in the countryside. The Stoneleigh Project, an outdoor and spirit based approach to leader development for young volunteers, was one of his later success stories.
Dick was also a wonderful story-teller. If you wanted to know how to escape from a tree you had climbed only to discover it was a trysting spot, or how to jump on a horse and land on its back and not in its droppings, Dick was the man to ask. He was irrepressible.
Edited from the citation by Chris Loynes


  • EOC: English Outdoor Council (umbrella body for all key outdoor associations/NGBs)
  • AHOEC: Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres
  • IOL: Institute for Outdoor Learning
  • NAOE: National Association for Outdoor Education (one of the IOL forerunners)
  • SCOE: Southern Council for Outdoor Education (another IOL forerunner)
  • MLTB: Mountain Leader Training Board
  • ESC: English Ski Council S&T Panel -Seeding/Technical panel
  • LOtC: Learning Outside the Classroom