Outdoor education charity welcomes proposals for overnight school trips

Proposals to connect every school in England with nature have been welcomed by one of the UK's leading outdoor education charities.

The Field Studies Council, which operates a network of field study centres across the country, was one of a number of key organisations asked to respond to a review of England's national parks and areas of outstanding beauty.

Among the proposals published in the final review by Julian Glover is a suggestion that all children should be given the opportunity to spend a night under the stars in a national landscape. 

It also suggests that a stronger mission to connect all people with national landscapes is needed and landscapes to improve the nation's health and wellbeing should be created.

Mark Castle, Chief Executive for the FSC, which has its headquarters near Shrewsbury in Shropshire, said: "Opportunities for children to connect with nature have been declining slowly over the years due to school funding pressures and this issue has been one of great concern to us.

"All children should have the chance to experience learning outdoors in designated landscapes such as national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and nature reserves. 

"We are pleased the review highlights the significance of this by suggesting overnight school trips to help pupils understand more about their natural environment.Little boy playing in a tree on one of his overnight school trips

"Many of our field centres are located in the heart of these protected landscapes and the schoolchildren who visit get the opportunity to learn about the natural world first-hand rather than through books and screens. 

"For the vast majority it is a life changing moment."

The FSC welcomes 165,000 school, college and university students a year to its centres across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

It runs a range of courses aimed at inspiring and bringing environmental understanding to all. 

Accomplished and knowledgeable tutors provide young people with experiences which they cannot get in the classroom and they are ambassadors for behavioural change on issues such as sustainability, biodiversity loss and climate change.

In the Landscapes Review requested by the environment secretary Mr Glover, a journalist and former government aide, said the country's landscapes provided unrivalled opportunities for enjoyment.

He also suggests 'inspiring younger generations' to be the most important way of getting interest across all of society.

"This is why we set out a proposal for every child to spend at least one night in a national landscape," his review says.

"We think that seeing and knowing our country is the best way to respect and save it. There are many good examples of working with schools, but we want to see more done."

For further information about the Field Studies Council and its centres visit the website https://www.field-studies-council.org/


October 1, 2019

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