Born Outdoors – Outdoor Citizens

Born Outdoors – ‘Campaign 22’ is being co-ordinated by the Outdoor Council and is supported by their members including AHOEC and Institute for Outdoor Learning.

Spearheaded by Anita Kerwin-Nye, who is an advisor for both Institute of Outdoor Learning and Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and has been commissioned by the Outdoor Council to drive forward Campaign 22.

Anita told AHOEC…

I have spoken much of the role of both residentials and the outdoors in influencing my personal life journey. AHOEC member Hindleap Warren played a big part in my teenage years. The work that I did there determined my choice to study education and to become the first in my family to go to University. The love of canoeing and the outdoors that I developed there became a passport to travelling around the world. And my experiences working with my disabled peers in outdoor learning set my course for a life supporting inclusion.

So, alongside my work supporting the Learning Away #brilliantresidentials Campaign – in which AHOEC play a lead and crucial role – I am delighted to have taken on the challenge of ensuring outdoor learning for all.

Anita runs AKN Consulting and with a team works across the charity and education sector to support organisations that are committed to inclusion. She is a social entrepreneur and incubates campaigns and projects that support all children and young people to access a broad and balanced set of life experiences and learning.

You can see her work at and and follow her at @anitakntweets

Why a campaign?

The benefits of outdoor and adventure learning are well evidenced – for individuals, for families, for communities and for society.

And we know that there is much excellent provision – and AHOEC’s own Gold Standard plays a part in helping secure and recognise this.

But we also know that those who could benefit the most are – as is so often the case – those who access it the least. 2016 Natural England research showed that 1 in 10 children and young people had not been to a park, forest, beach or other natural environment in the last 10 years. Tom Bennett– the government’s advisor on behaviour –has articulated concerns that children are not being exposed to and supported in managing risk. This links to several studies on schools being risk adverse and that Heads are increasingly concerned about financial and professional penalties.

There is though demand. A recent survey commissioned by Bohunt Academy Trust outlines that most adults believe outdoor learning to be important and several recent surveys have called for outdoor learning, school trips and adventure to remain at the core of a rounded experience for children and young people.

And we know it works. Education Endowment Foundation confirms that Adventure Learning in its own right has a positive impact and we know that its impact on meta cognition, team work, communication and ‘resilience’ can be significant. It is a key contribution to what the Department for Education has identified as ‘life skills’.

The evidence tells us that the best outcomes will be achieved with a progressive experience – developing knowledge, skills and passion for outdoor learning from the early years into adulthood. We know what works – our challenge is how to take this to more children and young people in a way that sets up good habits for life long engagement with the outdoors and adventure.

Outdoor Council

Outdoor Council are now launching ‘Born Outdoors to Outdoor Citizens’ – a new campaign to pull together the adventure learning and outdoor sector with a focus on building outdoor learning programmes around every child.

The campaign’s aims are to:

“ensure that the 750,000 four-year olds entering reception classes in September 2022 will be guaranteed high quality outdoor learning throughout their school life and through a rich set of family, youth work and community experiences”.

Outdoor Council want the children born in 2017 to be a generation ‘born outdoors’. We want them to have experiences at every age and stage of their childhood that move them towards being a generation of ‘outdoor citizens’ when they turn 18 in 2035.

This will help create a generation of resilient and healthy adults with a respect for, knowledge of and skills in life outdoors. Who have experience adventures throughout their childhood and understand how to manage risk and challenge. A generation whose academic success has been aided by the impact of effective outdoor learning.  A generation of future parents who know that outdoor education is a must have for their own children. A generation connected to nature in way that benefits their physical and mental well-being. A generation better equipped to address the challenges facing the environment.

In the immediate we working on two specific pieces to support schools and the outdoor and adventure community.

  • The Institute of Outdoor Learning – with some support from Natural England – have started work on a progression framework for outdoor learning that looks at what a progressive ‘outdoor learning passport’ might look like from a child’s perspective. This is being tested with the outdoor learning sector, parents, young people and schools.
  • Recognising the import of ensuring that in 2022 this group of children are entering primary schools that need to be equipped to support outdoor learning the Outdoor Council has committed to a specific piece of work on developing the ‘outdoor learning’ primary offer. A scalable model – developed with primary school and education partners – that builds the capacity of every primary school to support high quality outdoor learning.

Born Outdoors will be a key theme of November 2018 Outdoor Learning Conference which will bring together the largest gathering of schools and outdoor learning professionals to consider the next steps in adventure learning for all.

For more information on Born Outdoors you can follow @outdoorcouncil_ on twitter and watch out for updates AHOEC mailings.

Every child born outdoors and every adult an outdoor citizen.



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