Manoeuvres in the dark

1st October 2004 at 01:00
Robert Louis Stevenson believed it was better to travel hopefully than to arrive, but he was not a school trip organiser. After so many tragedies such as Land's End and Lyme Bay, arriving home safely must be the number one aim of all schools.

It is therefore questionable whether this week's uplifting statement on the value of outdoor education by chief inspector David Bell will persuade more schools to pick up their rucksacks again. Yes, it is comforting to hear that most outdoor education centres are well-run. But Ofsted's description of a model outdoor activity is not as reassuring as the inspectors intended. "Inside a cave, Year 10 students are given a range of sensory experiences ... As they go deeper into the cavern, they are encouraged to help each other manoeuvre through narrow spaces and deep running water."

Would you volunteer to lead that expedition?

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