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.

Adventurers Mollie Hughes and Mark Beaumont drive vision for residential outdoor education to be ’embedded’ in curriculum

Mollie Hughes was recently appointed president of Scouts Scotland
Mollie Hughes was recently appointed president of Scouts Scotland

Scottish adventurers Mollie Hughes and Mark Beaumont have joined politicians from across the political spectrum to launch a new vision paper ‘Thriving Through Residential Outdoor Education’ which seeks to guarantee that all young people in Scotland have the chance to benefit from residential outdoor education experiences.

Evidence shows that learning in the outdoors, particularly when including residential and adventurous experiences, is beneficial for mental health and wellbeing, reducing the attainment gap, and developing a connection to and care for the natural environment.

However, all of these have been negatively impacted by the pandemic amid funding concerns.

Outdoor education

The recent Lockdown Lowdown report by Youthlink showed that around two fifths of young people surveyed were concerned about their mental health and wellbeing.

Scouts Scotland president Mollie, who became the youngest woman to climb both sides of Mount Everest and the youngest woman to ski solo to the South Pole, and Mark, who holds the record for cycling round the world in less than 79 days, say action needs to be taken to ensure the survival of outdoor education centres – and they believe access should be embedded for all in the Scottish curriculum.

Mark Beaumont BEM, a former Dundee High School pupil, said: “Young people have had their lives turned upside down over the last year, they have missed school and seeing their friends and their mental health has been impacted.

Mark Beaumont

“I know from my own experience how getting outdoors and having adventures can help mental health and wellbeing. That’s why this plan, which would guarantee all young people the chance to a residential outdoor education experience is so important.”

Mollie Hughes, who enjoyed outdoor education as a youngster in Devon, said: “Residential outdoor education has never been more important for young people.

“The chance to be away from home, experiencing the great outdoors with all of it’s challenges and rewards is invaluable to their development.

Mollie Hughes at the Geographic South Pole in January 2020

“At a time where the lives of young people have been shaped by staying at home to protect their communities, it is crucial that we create future opportunities that give them a chance to spread their wings, foster confidence and resilience, build new friendships and develop an attachment and respect for nature. This is unachievable in any other environment.”

The vision paper published by a number of Scotland’s residential outdoor centres has cross party support from MSPs Liz Smith, Alison Johnstone, Iain Gray, Fulton McGregor and Liam McArthur.

The vision seeks to ensure that residential outdoor learning is embedded across the curriculum, and that all young people benefit in both primary and secondary school.

Liz Smith MSP

Mid Scotland and Fife Conservative MSP Liz Smith said: “The whole parliament is united in its determination to support our outdoor centres given the invaluable role they play in the education of our young people.

“It is crucial their future is safeguarded and this new strategy goes a long way to putting the building blocks in place. Ultimately, the sector requires additional funding beyond that provided by the Scottish Government before Christmas and therefore it is vitally important that every effort is made to secure it.”

The vision paper was written by The Outward Bound Trust, Scottish Outdoor Education Centres, Scouts Scotland, Actual Reality Trust/Ardentinny Outdoor Centre, Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre, Abernethy Trust, Ocean Youth Trust and the Field Studies Council.

Outdoor education

It is also supported by Children in Scotland, the Association of Headteachers and Deputies, PlayScotland, Youthlink Scotland, RYA Scotland, The Awards Network and Ramblers Scotland.

  • A fuller interview with Mark Beaumont and Mollie Hughes on their support for outdoor education will appear in the February 27 edition of The Courier’s Weekend magazine.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]