Local Authority

What is an Expert in Outdoor Learning?

As learning outdoors has evolved and expanded across ages, places and intentions so has expertise.  Inevitably an increasing number of individuals and organisations have established expertise in their singular aspects of outdoor learning; residential centre, school grounds design, forest school, adventure activity.  Similarly expertise has developed within specific age context; from nature kindergarten to Higher course field work.  In contrast Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence requires children and young people expereince progressive opportunities across as many flavous of outdoor learning as possible, throughout their journey through formal education.  As such, a local authority education service’s Outdoor Learning Advisor needs very broad expertise indeed!

The Scottish Government and Health and Safety Executive has long recomended “Employers must have access to technical advice on visit and activity safety matters. The adviser needs to have diverse experience of the range of outdoor activity and visit provision. They should be of sufficient authority to ensure that they can develop and take forward strategy, advice and guidance across all sectors and services.” 

The Institute for Outdoor Learning defines Professional Competence through; knowledge, skills, experience and judgement, Ethical, Informed, Connected, Current and Compliance.

Membership of the English and Welsh Outdoor Education Advisors Panel, requires demonstrable competence across a number of themes;

  • education,
  • educational visits,
  • higher risk adventurous activities,
  • the law relating to safety and risk management,
  • competence as a trainer.

Unsurprisingly no singular pathway, certification or profesional membership exists which demonstrates competence as an Outdoor Learning Advisor.   We suggest if you are developing as a Scottish Outdoor Education/Learning Advisor or looking to recruit such an Expert these factors should be specified:

  • relevant Masters degree level study,
  • sufficient relevant professional experience to easily achieve APIOL,
  • broad competence across full range of outdoor learning,
  • competence working outdoors across the age ranges,
  • competence in higher risk activity and envirionments,
  • competence in systems risk management,
  • sufficient competence in Curriculum for Excellence and EY/School structure/governance/context.


is the forum for representatives from Local Authorities across Scotland to consider and debate best practice in the development and safe delivery of Outdoor Learning.

This framework has been developed in partnership by the Scottish Government, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education (SAPOE), Education Scotland and the Association of Directors of Education, with input from other partners including voluntary organisations and providers.

Beyond Your Boundary

This webpage supports practitioners to access spaces beyond the playground.  Practical and full of ideas, a one-stop-shop.

East Lothian Outdoor Learning Service

Falkirk Outdoor Learning Service

Edinburgh Council Outdoor Learning Service

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