“A License to Thrill” – AALA Licensing Consultation Starts

skiingWithin our schools and educational establishments we are all aware of the amazing benefits of engaging with outdoor experiential learning and adventurous activity, and the positive and powerful experiences and outcomes that can be realised by our learners.

This month there is an opportunity to get involved in a series of consultations on the future of how this activity is managed and the licensing of adventurous activities (AALA) within Scotland.

SAAF (SCOTTISH ADVENTURE ACTIVITY FORUM, tasked by ScotGov) are keen to hear from all interested parties on this important initiative.

The briefing paper available at the SAAF website outlines the consultation process which will invite all stakeholders operating in Scotland to give their views about a range of matters, including;

1.Reviewing the definition of adventure activities
2.Identifying any activities which should also be included in the regulations
3.What could be added to or taken out of the 2004 Regulations
4.Identifying any textual or factual changes required to simplify or clarify the wording of the current Regulations
5.How can the scheme be “future-proofed” as the adventure activity sector evolves
6.How can those who want to “opt in” be accommodated
7.How “cross-border” arrangements can work effectively across the UK

Although Licensing requirements generally only apply to those organisations that provide activities in return for payment,the outcomes from consultation will influence how we manage and deliver Adventurous activities within our own Local Authority and the potential to influence activity enablement and quality.

Its an exciting time to get involved as it may contribute to the evolving nature and future Outdoor Learning within our Educational arena.

More details on accessing the survey and the events are available at the SAAF website (link).

P6 CATO Results

The highly popular P6 CATO (Come and Try Orienteering) Events have begun, the first ones taking place at Ironmills Park in Dalkeith.

DSC_0278A number of local Primary Schools have attend these events.  The CATO involves full classes participating in a warm up Star activity. Then the pupils progress through 5 different courses, finally finishing with the Cross Country Event – if they have any energy left! So far all pupils involved have worked extremely hard – participating 100% and everyone who has attended appears to have great fun and learnt or developed their Orienteering skills. The results below can be used for Data Handling in Maths


Ironmills Park – 20.11.14 – Session 1

Ironmills Park – 20.11.14 – Session 2

Ironmills Park – 27.11.14 – Session 1

Ironmills Park – 27.11.14 – Session 2

Curriculum for Excellence & Orienteering Events

Orienteering can involve whole classes or individuals, it is inexpensive, helps develop life skills, is enjoyable and safe. Importantly, schools get active in the outdoors, and pupils can develop a lifelong love of outdoor activities. As well as developing the four capacities of the CfE, orienteering contributes too many of the Health and well being outcomes e.g.,

 Orienteering aspect: practice of skills in different areas and progression of skills used in orienteering. Improving speed over given distance and able to run longer distances. Able to run on rougher ground without injury. E/O: I practise, consolidate and refine my skills to improve my performance. I am developing and sustaining my levels of fitness (HWB 2-22a).

 Orienteering aspect: progression integral to orienteering; master skills individually, combine them and select the appropriate technique(s) in different situations. Goals can be defined in terms of mins per km. or achieve a particular standard in competition, or master particular skills. Through relay/team events – I work with others to optimise skills. E/O:  While working and learning with others, I improve my range of skills, demonstrate tactics and achieve identified goals (HWB 2-23a).

 Orienteering aspect: orienteering provides an alternative to many more “traditional” sports & games. Through orienteering interdisciplinary learning can happen. E/O:I am experiencing enjoyment and achievement on a daily basis by taking part in different kinds of energetic physical activities of my choosing, including sport and opportunities for outdoor learning, available at my place of learning and in the wider community (HWB 2-25a).

Outdoor Routes Programme PAVE’s the way for pupil success.


PAVE CanalIt’s been an amazing few months working with PAVE on their youth engagement Routes programme. Using a blend of classroom, vocational and Outdoor Learning the pupils will gain several awards.

The Outdoor Learning Team have been delivering a paddlesports programme with the learners gaining the SCA 1 star award that involved trying out a range of paddlesport craft to enable the learning of new skills, then a final day journeying on the famous Union Canal from Ratho to Broxburn in open Canoe. The team tried soloing and also tandem canoeing and negotiating themselves around narrowboats travelling on this famous waterway.

The next stage will involve indoor climbing with the pupils working towards their Level 1 NICAS award and then supporting some of their classroom programme, i.e navigation to numeracy, using outdoor hill walking to gain their NNAS bronze award.

This unique blend of experiential learning helps support success in the Routes programme and supports achievement in the vocational qualifications that underpin the programme.

More details of the Routes Programme and enabling personal paths to progress, can be found below;


John Muir Award

GE POCKET CAMCORDERPrimary schools from the Penicuik cluster in Midlothian are starting on a road to discovery. Strathesk P7 pupils are among many other learners who are  starting to work towards  gaining a John Muir discovery award. The schools are engaging in the award in partnership with the Outdoor Learning services. Through this many of the pupils will benefit from an experience which takes them into more remote and wild spaces where schools do not always have the resources to manage themselves. 

Well done to the learners from Strathesk P7s who have already been out in the Pentland hills.

Rosewell renewable energy walks

Rosewell Primary school have embarked on a journey of discovery into the world of renewable energy.
Wind TurbineWe have linked up with Ally and Susan Cowen the very helpful owners from Eastside Farm in the Pentland Hills.  The learners in P4 to P7  will be  given the the opportunity to see renewable energy in action.  In addition to this the learners  will have the chance to walk in the surrounding area taking in the natural beauty of the Pentland hills

“It was so worthwhile for the pupils to see sustainable energy in practice in the picturesque setting of Eastside Farm and then we had our own mini adventure of walking up West Kip and East Kip and surviving the very wind that was powering the turbine! Back at the windmill, there was a real sense of pride from the pupils when they looked back up at the two hill tops that they had conquered!
Once back at school, the pupils were full of excitement when talking about the trip to the other pupils. They had really enjoyed the challenge and were pleased with themselves at having successfully coped with a new experience”  Mrs Douglas the P4/5 class teacher
We are looking forward to the remaining Sustainable development education trips.
Sean Fallon  (sean.fallon@midlothian.gov.uk)