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MP secures meeting with Schools Minister over support for outdoor education

July 6, 2021 5:49 PM

On the floor of the House of Commons this afternoon, South Lakes MP Tim Farron secured a meeting with the Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb, to discuss how the Government can support the outdoor education sector in Cumbria.

Speaking during an Education Statement in Parliament, Tim said: "A couple of weeks ago I was at the Bendrigg Trust outdoor education centre in my constituency, and it was a massive joy to see residential activities slowly starting again, with young people getting the benefits of outdoor education. It is a reminder of two things.

"First, 6,000 of the 15,000 people who worked in outdoor education at the beginning of the pandemic have now lost their jobs, and because of a lack of a specific bespoke package to support those centres, many have closed and many more are on the cusp of closing.

"Secondly, our outdoor education specialists in Cumbria and around the country have a unique set of skills that we need to deploy at this very moment, to encourage young people to re-engage with learning, and reignite a love of learning.

"What will the Right Honourable Gentleman do specifically to commission outdoor education centres to do that, out in mainstream schools, and will he meet me and some outdoor education specialists so that we can explain how that could be done?"

Responding, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "The best thing we can do to help those outdoor centres is ensure that their doors can open to welcome not just day visitors, but those who want to stay there on a residential basis.

"We will continue to look at what other measures we can introduce to support the sector. I know the value and enrichment that comes from doing so many activities, whether on Lake Windermere or in many other excellent locations around the country, and it brings real benefit.

"I am sure that my Right Honourable Friend the Minister for School Standards would be happy to meet the Honourable Gentleman and his colleagues."