Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Fife MSP warns outdoor education centres could close without Scottish Government intervention

Outdoor education
Outdoor education

Scotland’s outdoor education centres may be forced to close without financial aid, a Fife MSP has warned.

Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Liz Smith led a debate in parliament on Tuesday where she urged the Scottish Government to safeguard the centres at risk of closure.

The centres are under threat as coronavirus restrictions prevent schools from taking pupils on overnight trips until at least December.

However the centres may be unable to recover from the financial strain and could be lost forever, the Fife politician told MSPs.

To lose that precious asset is an unconscionable thought.”


Liz Smith.

“As the circumstances stand just now, it is predicted that half of our outdoor centres are likely to close by autumn 2021. If they do, they will likely not return,” she said.

“It is an extremely blunt warning, but when we see the details of the financial situation that faces many centres, in local authorities of every political hue, we realise just how desperate the situation is.

“We are all too aware of how many young people have struggled through this crisis, missing several months of school, feeling lonely and isolated in many cases.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that education in an outdoor environment provides one of the most valuable and rewarding learning experiences for a wide range of pupils, no matter what their background of abilities.

“To lose that precious asset is an unconscionable thought and I hope the Scottish Government heard the loud message coming from the sector.”

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith.

Almost 20,000 have now signed a petition calling for urgent intervention after experts suggested hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren could miss out on the life-changing experiences.

The Belmont Centre, near Meigle in Perthshire, is one of many centres under threat of closure.

Dave Spence, chief executive officer, said the loss of income from bookings could see the centre close before March.

MSPs from across the political parties joined the debate to share their own tales of how outdoor education enriched their childhood, and the lives of their children.

Outdoor education centres like Belmont, near Meigle, are under threat without support from the Scottish Government.

Richard Lochhead, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, echoed the importance of outdoor education and pledged to meet with representatives.

He also said he will be working with local authorities to highlight and encourage the need for safe day visits to outdoor centres.

He told MSPs: “We are listening very closely to outdoor education centres in Scotland.

“I pay tribute to all their efforts and to their resilience in the current difficult time, to the support that they are giving our young people, and to their professional commitment and dedication to outdoor education.

“We will explore how those funding streams can be deployed more effectively.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]