Schoolchildren whose residential trip is under threat have pleaded with the Scottish Government to throw a lifeline to outdoor education centres.
Methilhill Primary School P7B pupils told ministers they have missed out on so much due to the pandemic and fear they will also be denied the life-enriching experience of a stay at Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre in January.
In common with schools across Fife, every year Methilhill Primary School takes its P7s to Ardroy, at Lochgoilhead, where activities include abseiling, kayaking, orienteering and the Jacob’s Ladder climbing challenge.
Letters to government
This year’s class wrote letters to the government, voicing hopes they will won’t lose out.
Kizzi Wilson wrote: “I should be going to Ardroy next year and I don’t think it’s fair if the P7s in my school have all got to go before me and I miss out.
“We have already missed out on a lot because of Covid.”
Classmate Millie Drysdale said outdoor centres gave children “amazing opportunities” and wrote: “This is one of the biggest events for any P7 school in Fife and we have heard from previous years about all the fun things you do like Jacob’s Ladder.”
We have already missed out on a lot because of Covid.”
Kizzi, P7B Methilhill Primary School
Corey Eason voiced concerns for the people who work at outdoor centres, stating: “It would be good if you can help these people so they don’t lose their jobs.
“If they do they won’t be able to feed their family and this is important.”
Class teacher Louise Wilson said: “Ardroy is the big thing that the pupils all look forward to in P7.
“They’ve heard all the stories from previous years.
“It would be such a loss if places like these close, the children get so much of it.”
A Fife teenager who has also backed the #SaveYourOutdoorCentres campaign voiced his sadness at the threat to centres such as Ardroy.
Woodmill High School pupil Gregor Mitchell, 17, who is the Scottish Youth Parliament member for Scouts Scotland, said: “These centres provide opportunities for young people who will really benefit from it, myself included.
“Both in Scouting and with my school, I created memories that will last a lifetime.
“It’s scary to think young people may not be able to experience what I did.”
I created memories that will last a lifetime. It’s scary to think young people may not be able to experience what I did.”
Gregor Mitchell, 17
Phil Thompson, development manager at Ardroy, said it was fantastic to see young people getting behind the campaign.
He said: “Primary 7B from Methilhill Primary wrote persuasive letters to the Scottish Government, saying how much they wanted to attend Ardroy, and they shared them on Twitter.
“We’d love to see more schools and young people join in with the campaign as this is all for their long term benefit.
“It gave the Ardroy staff a real boost to see these letters.”
We’d love to see more schools and young people join in with the campaign as this is all for their long term benefit.”
Phil Thompson, Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre
A Scottish Government spokesperson previously said: “Outdoor education centres can provide young people with a variety of curriculum relevant experiences.
“At present, the increased risk of virus transmission associated with overnight stays means that the Scottish Government has advised against school residential visits to centres – risk assessed day visits are permitted.
“To support outdoor education centres during this challenging time we have funded the development of guidance for schools and outdoor education centres on safe day visits.”