Outdoor Education (Wales) Bill – your support needed

This message from AHOEC is relevant to any Providers who handle school residential trips: it’s asking for your support in lobbying Senedd members to support a bill to “make an outdoor education residential visit of one week mandatory for every child and young person at school in Wales at some point in their school journey” – so if this is important to you, please read on and use the attached templates to write to your MSs:

“Annwyl bawb / Hi everyone, 

“I’m writing to you to ask for your support in the next stage of the proposed Outdoor Education (Wales) Bill. If you ‘re not sure what that is, please read on, but if you already know you can skip down a few paragraphs as this message is going out across several professional networks.

“Earlier this summer, I worked with Sam Rowlands MS (deputy chair of the Outdoor adventure cross party group) to put together a suggestion for an Outdoor education Bill to be submitted as a private member’s bill to the Senedd. This was part of a ballot of 45 ideas for private members’ bills submitted, and ours was the one selected by the speaker to take forward. This then led to myself, Sam and Paul (Donovan of the Outdoor Alliance Wales), along with a team of researchers from the Senedd, working this initial proposal into what is called an explanatory memorandum. This is the next step before a full bill can be presented. This explanatory memorandum has been published (and is included here for your information) and will be read to the Senedd early in the next session (commencing Monday 12th September). Members then vote as to whether to allow further parliamentary time to develop this into a full bill for the Senedd to consider bringing into law. 

“In short, the Outdoor Education (Wales) Bill would make an outdoor education residential visit of one week mandatory for every child and young person at school in Wales at some point in their school journey, and that the Welsh government will fund this residential so that no child misses out. If you’re reading this then you’re probably aware of the many documented and evidenced benefits of outdoor learning, and this bill seeks to move outdoor learning from enrichment to entitlement i.e. an explicit part of the curriculum. It is a matter of equity for the children and young people of Wales so that no one misses out the benefits of learning outdoors as part of a residential visit. 

“Attached to this message are some suggested templates to send to your local members of the Senedd (they are a parliament now with law making powers so try to avoid using the term AM or assembly member), and it would also be great to approach the regional members who don’t have a specific constituency but represent a region (Sam Rowlands, MS is one such member). We’ve also included a list of members and their regions or constituencies so if you’re not sure who to send to you can find their email addresses. One important point to note is to put your address or your organisation’s address at the top of the letter as they will only respond to or take note of those messages from residents in their region or constituency. I’d like to urge you to share this message with your staff teams, colleagues, and any other organisations or friends who are passionate about giving children opportunities to learn outdoors. If your organisation can’t lobby for constitutional or other reasons, then please consider sending the message as an individual.

“The message/letter template is included here in both Welsh and English for your convenience, but please do remember to check you’ve personalised it as much as possible and deleted all the ‘delete as appropriate’ parts. Finally, can I ask that when you’ve messaged your local and regional MSs you let [SWOAPG] know so we can ensure that every member receives some communication about the Bill. This will further support Sam’s work in Cardiff speaking to members directly.

“You can find contact details of all Members of the Senedd (MSs) here: https://senedd.wales/find-a-member-of-the-senedd/

“If you’d like any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

“Thanks for your time and in anticipation of your support.”

Graham French, Chair AHOEC North Wales.

Leave a comment