Launching our Outdoor Learning Policy Report

5 October 2023

  • Blog

We are delighted to have launched our Outdoor Learning Policy Report today at the Conservative Party Conference with a panel event involving young people, MPs and key stakeholders working in the youth sector and outdoor learning sector. This report is the culmination of an in depth review process of the evidence around the benefits of outdoor learning, and the barriers to access that we know a lot of young people face. We spoke to different youth organisations to help develop our key findings and produce 10 recommendations for Government on how to improve access to outdoor learning for young people, we are hugely grateful to those who shared their expertise

What is Outdoor Learning?

At UK Youth, we define outdoor learning as experiential learning within an outdoor environment to support a young person’s personal, social, and educational development, improve health and wellbeing, physical literacy, and develop environmental awareness. The outdoor space in which learning takes place is an integral part of the learning process.

We recognise the synergy between youth work and outdoor learning and by intentionally bringing these together, we feel that their combination can help support a young person’s personal, social, and educational development.

Despite the evidence we have on the benefits of outdoor learning for young people, we know that the provision and access to opportunities for outdoor learning is not equal across the country, or across groups of young people themselves. There are a wide range of barriers which have been identified that prevent young people from being able to meaningfully engage in outdoor learning, and its associated benefits.

What do we want to see change?

We have been working with colleagues at Save the Children and National Children’s Bureau on plans for influencing in advance of the next General Election. Again, there are lots of exciting projects happening in this space, if you have anything you want us to highlight please do get in touch!

Lastly, we have also been preparing for the upcoming Conservative and Labour Party Conferences, where we will be taking young people along and hosting a number of events and panel discussions. If you have plans at conference you want to share, or would like to connect whilst there please do let us know!

What’s on the horizon?

Ultimately, we believe that all young people should have access to meaningful outdoor learning experiences, with a choice of activity, a diverse range of delivery partners, and engagement delivered in combination with youth work. We know this change requires significant funding, and a long term strategy for workforce development.

Our recommendations call on Government to support the youth sector and outdoor learning sector by improving the leadership and accountability from Government for outdoor learning, increasing funding for opportunities, experiences and training, embedded outdoor learning as a solution to some of the key challenges facing young people, and supporting the sector to develop the evidence base for outdoor learning.

You can read our full report and recommendations here. Please do get in touch at kate.roberts@ukyouth.org if you would like to discuss this report further.

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