Ardwhallan Outdoor Education Centre gains safety and quality benchmark

Ardwhallan Outdoor Education Centre is top of the class for educational visits after it earned the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge and the accompanying Adventuremark for safe practice.

Awarded by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, the LOtC Quality Badge combines, for the first time, learning and safety into an easily recognisable badge.

Ardwhallan, at West Baldwin, is the flagship of Adventure Education, which is part of the Department of Education and Children’s Youth Service.

It hosts tailor-made sessions for primary and secondary school parties and runs on and off-Island, out-of-hours, courses and expeditions for students in Year 9 and above. Activities include sailing, paddlesports and climbing.

Paul Melling, Head of Outdoor Centres for the DEC, said:

‘Being awarded the LOtC Quality Badge is a real coup for the staff here as it shows that we offer young people the type of high-quality learning experiences they really benefit from. We're thrilled to get official recognition for our efforts and we look forward to welcoming even more young people from the Island to their outdoor centre.’

The LOtC Quality Badge was launched in 2009 as part of the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto, a UK initiative to ensure young people experience out-of-school activity as part of the curriculum.

The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom provides free online guidance and information for teachers on how to plan and organise activities and the badge is designed to make it easier for them to identify providers of quality educational visits.

Displaying the badge signals to schools that a venue has met required standards so they do not need to carry out their own risk or quality assessments.

To gain the benchmark, Ardwhallan staff had to demonstrate to an independent inspector evidence of learning outcomes for sessions, risk assessments and good practice.

Ardwhallan provides activities that require technical knowledge and experience, for example rock climbing and river and coastal fieldwork, where young people enter the water to take measurements.

Jenny Lantry, Outdoor Worker at Ardwhallan, said:

‘It’s really important that the young people we work with not only have fun on a visit but that they also have an educational experience. We believe that the outdoors can enhance schools’ curriculum and students’ own personal and social well-being and develop a sense of citizenship.’

Beth Gardner, Chief Executive of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom said:

‘Educational visits are among the most memorable experiences in a child’s school life. The LOtC Quality Badge offers teachers a guarantee that not only is a venue providing the sort of educational value that they can build on in class long after the visit but also that they have the appropriate risk management structures in place.

‘Learning outside the classroom has many proven educational benefits. The LOtC Quality Badge will reduce red tape and provide assurance for schools, thereby ensuring that many more young people have memorable, exciting and valuable learning outside the classroom experiences. I congratulate Ardwhallan on being awarded the LOtC Quality Badge.’

For more information about the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge, visit www.lotcqualitybadge.org.uk or www.adventuremark.co.uk