Training issue of outdoor learning

15th October 2004 at 01:00
Your editorial asks "Would you volunteer to lead that (caving) expedition?"

(TES, October 1). If someone has trained and qualified as a cave leader, he or she could confidently reply, "yes".

The problem that you do not mention is the difficulty faced by teachers (and other professionals working with young people) in getting trained and qualified in any branch of outdoor education.

Few schools release staff for training during term-time and even fewer offer financial support for the costs of these courses.

One teacher paid all the pound;1,000 costs of training courses during 19 years in teaching to get his qualifications. He also gave on average more than 25 days per year of his time (weekends and holidays) to take young people on residentials and camping expeditions. When, for the first time, he asked for unpaid time off school to lead an expedition to Africa, he was refused. How does that encourage volunteer staff?

The forthcoming House of Commons education committee inquiry will be an opportunity to examine the outdoor education sector and make comprehensive proposals for universal provision.

Chris Johnson 103 Links Road Cullercoats, North Shields

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