Opinion Former Article

Countryside Alliance foundation launches e-lobby on outdoor education

The Countryside Alliance Foundation – the charitable arm of the Countryside Alliance – has launched a new electronic lobby asking MPs to support its campaign on outdoor education.

The e-lobby page can be accessed at http://campaign.publicaffairsbriefing.co.uk/home.aspx?cid=469c194d-6730-470d-b5ea-3aeaab9c2e85

The Party Conference season is now underway and our presence at the conferences this year is focused on outdoor education. We are asking MPs to support our campaign and are having an enthusiastic response, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg already having paid a visit to the team at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Birmingham.

We are urging everyone who supports the work of The Countryside Alliance Foundation to email their MP today. The Countryside Alliance Foundation believes outdoor learning is good for children and young people. It helps them gain a practical understanding of the world around them, build self-confidence, test their abilities, take managed risks and develop a sense of responsibility and tolerance towards places and people.

As the e-lobby explains, we are calling for an entitlement to outdoor learning to be created within the National Curriculum to ensure the countryside becomes part of every child’s education, along the following four key principles:

Pupil Premium – clear and unambiguous guidance needs to be provided to schools that a proportion of the pupil premium should be spent on outdoor learning in the natural environment

Qualified Teacher Status – the provision for practical training of teachers in delivering learning outside the classroom should form part of the standards for teacher training

Health and Safety – awareness should be raised among teachers of the low risks and high rewards of well managed outdoor learning to tackle the myth surrounding health and safety

Criminal Records Bureau – CRB checks should be scaled back to common sense levels to ensure volunteers who help deliver outdoor learning are not bogged down by overzealous bureaucracy, which does nothing to protect children.

Sarah Lee of The Countryside Alliance Foundation commented: “The countryside remains an enigma for many children. This is why the Countryside Alliance believes that all children should have the chance to experience the outdoors through their school. Not only because it is soul enriching, but also because it can help with concentration and learning. We call on the Government to create an entitlement to outdoor education within the National Curriculum, and ensure that future generations never lose touch with the world around them. With your help we can secure this aim.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. A gallery of Parliamentarians on The Countryside Alliance Foundation stand at each conference will be updated daily and can be found here http://www.countryside-alliance.org.uk/ca/gallery/liberal-democrat-party-conference-2011

2. The Countryside Alliance Foundation

The Countryside Alliance Foundation is a charity set up to co-operate with the Countryside Alliance to build on the element of Alliance work that has always been inherently charitable. This includes educating the public about the countryside, promoting agriculture and helping to protect the natural environment.


For more information or to arrange interviews please call The Countryside Alliance Foundation press office on 0207 840 9220

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