Posted: Mon 15th Apr 2024

Senedd to vote on Outdoor Education bill this week

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales


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Organisations dedicated to outdoor education in Wales are rallying behind a legislative push that could make Wales a leader in integrating residential outdoor learning into the school curriculum.

The Residential Outdoor Education (Wales) Bill, set for a Senedd vote next Wednesday, proposes that all Welsh youngsters should have the chance to participate in a week-long residential outdoor education program during their schooling years.

This initiative, backed by influential groups such as The Outward Bound Trust and Scouts Cymru, aims to establish a statutory duty for local authorities to facilitate these programs, with provisions for necessary funding.

The bill is seen not only as an educational reform but as a potential booster for youth well-being and community integration.

Martin Davidson, CEO of The Outward Bound Trust, is at the forefront of this campaign.

In a widely endorsed open letter, Davidson stated, “Now is the time for Wales to lead the way by letting every young person in on this adventure,” highlighting the transformative potential of the bill. The letter has garnered additional support from a broad alliance, including AHOEC, Field Studies Council, and UK Youth, among others.

As the vote approaches, the letter calls on Senedd Members to recognize the far-reaching impacts of the bill. “Consider the difference this could make, not just in education, but to both individual wellbeing and the communities we live in,” the letter urges, appealing to a broad spectrum of stakeholders from legislators to parents and educators.

The Outward Bound Trust, with its deep roots in outdoor education since 1941, underscores the importance of such programs.

The Trust operates several centres across the UK, including in north Wales, impacting over 25,000 young people annually.

Their approach—fostering self-belief through outdoor challenges—reflects the essence of what the new bill aims to achieve on a national scale.

As this bill moves towards its next legislative stage, it carries the potential to not only reshape educational experiences but to serve as a model for similar initiatives across Scotland and England, where related bills are also under consideration.

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