The Education Authority (EA) has published plans for a revised Residential and Outdoor Learning Service which responds to the needs of our children and young people.
A public consultation on the Review of Residential and Outdoor Education concluded in February 2017. EA listened carefully and considered all of the feedback received. This enabled EA to review and transform the future delivery of residential and outdoor education.
EA’s Assistant Director for Youth Services Arlene Kee said;
“We are seeking to provide a Residential and Outdoor Learning Service that meets the needs of all our children and young people as they learn outside the classroom and engage in local youth services, extending their opportunities for experiential learning.
We have given careful consideration to the many responses received through the consultation process and have devised a model of delivery that is child centred, developmental, flexible, and inclusive. This model is also designed to work in partnership with our schools, youth organisations and the wider voluntary youth sector.
The new framework includes specialist outdoor learning provision at Delamont, Gortatole, Shannaghmore and Woodhall, which maximises the use of natural resources. It also provides extended opportunities through partnership working with Greenhill YMCA and the Corrymeela Community.
In addition, peripatetic instructors will provide a flexible Outdoor Learning Service to local schools and youth groups within the community and at three day centres, located in Armagh, Bangor and Ballycastle.
We will be actively working with children and young people to design this service, promoting extensive volunteering and staff development opportunities within both the statutory and voluntary sectors.
The existing outdoor centres located at Bushmills, Killowen and Killyleagh will be developed to provide essential services for children and young people who require specialist provision as part of Education Otherwise Than At School (EOTAS).
This new approach to outdoor learning will enable us to reflect the voices of our children and young people in the future planning and delivery of the Outdoor Learning Service. It will extend youth provision, enhance educational opportunities for children and young people, whilst contributing to the EA’s overall aim of improving educational outcomes.”
The full consultation report and the Residential and Outdoor Learning Provision – Moving Forward (2017) document can be downloaded from the EA website at www.eani.org.uk/oec