600+ Pupils Attend 2015 Orienteering Festival – Final Results

si-start_closeorienteering Boxes jpegOver 600 pupils took part in the recent Orienteering Festival at Vogrie Country House. An amazing turnout to a fantastic event using this superb venue.

A huge thank you to the staff at Vogrie, the Active Schools team and all the staff in the Primary Schools who entered their enthusiastic pupils and made the event possible.

The event was organised by Midlothian and East Lothian Outdoor Learning Services and has been a great success and we hope to run again in 2017.

Three linear courses were set out for P5, P6 and P7 that challenged their navigational abilities.

Despite the mixed weather all young people appeared to enjoy the opportunity to partake in this event. It was great to see so many enthused pupils and staff.  With course times ranging from 9 minutes to almost an hour it certainly appeared to challenge all pupils. Plenty of smiles from our confident,successful learners.

Congratulations to all the pupils who took part.The Midlothian winning schools in each category are:

P5 – Newtongrange PS
P6 – St. Mary’s PS
P7 – Cuiken PS

Results can be found here – Showing all results for all schools so you can see how well your individual teams and pupils performed. 

IMG_5639We will be running more “Come and Try Orienteering Events” in the 2016/17 year. but for those orieneteers that wish to take their talent further and pit themselves against others from across Scotland then we need to enter some great events coming up;

Scottish Schools Orienteering Competition.(click link)

Closing date for Entries  – 27th May 2015

More Orienteering opportunities locally:

A series of informal events run by ELO will visit three towns of East Lothian in the coming weeks (6 to 7pm)

  • Wed 20th May – North Berwick – Lodge Grounds and the Glen
  • Wed 3rd June – Haddington – Neilson Park and the Tyne Path
  • Wed 17th June – Tranent – Polson Park and the Heugh

These events visit areas new to orienteering. They aim to provide an introduction to orienteering for beginners. Please just turn up between 6 and 7 – look for an East Lothian Orienteers flag. No equipment required – just a willingness to give the sport of Orienteering a go.

More local events can be found here 

EVOLVE Visit approval and planning system goes live.

group beachThe new EVOLVE online educational visit planning and approval system is now live in Midlothian. A fantastic turn-out at our recent launch means that we have 14 schools (and growing) in the pilot phase. The system offers a huge amount of benefits to aid trip planning for our educational establishments in Midlothian. We hope this system will enable and encourage more of-site visits as it can;

  • Simplifies procedures
  • Promotes efficiency
  • Promotes confidence to plan educational visits
  • Builds portfolio of staff  experience
  • Supports planning – reflection – planning working practices
  • Reduces paperwork
  • Provides a clear audit trail
  • Ensures staff planning adheres to procedures
  • Pre-configured robust framework
  • Manage all Extra-curricular activities – not just visits!
  • Dynamic monitoring and live customisable reporting tools
  • Supports inspection preparation and process of self review
  • Comprehensive overview of all learning opportunities
  • Flexible, intuitive & easy to use

EVOLVE screenshotWe are looking forward to getting all establishments on the system from August 2015 with the previous paper based system being retired by December 2015.

For establishments that were not the pilot launch and who wish to get involved now please contact us ( william.stephen@midlothian.gov.uk ) and we will get you on-board.

There is also further courses available in Visit Leader Training and Educational Visit Coordinator training to support Midlothian Educational establishments in planning and managing off-site visits.


SNH report highlights benefits of Outdoor Learning

IMAG1403New report from SNH highlights  the need for further progress in outdoor learning  &  notes “Learning outdoors more engaging”

“Teachers who bring their pupils into the outdoors find it makes their learning more enjoyable, challenging, active and collaborative according to a report published today by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The study shows that outdoor learning in school and pre-schools has increased since Curriculum for Excellence was introduced but that further increases could be made. The survey of nursery, primary and secondary schools looked at over 1000 outdoor lessons and compared results from surveys in 2006 and 2014″

“Whilst these findings are positive we have some challenges ahead. Greater provision is required, particularly in secondary schools in order to capitalise fully on outdoor learning of all kinds, including residential experiences. Schools in areas of deprivation also face challenges in providing this type of learning…”

The press release and full report can be accessed at link  SNH Outdoor Learning Report


EVOLVE and get out there! – System Demonstration Event

EVOLVE screenshot

We are holding a demonstration event of the new EVOLVE system on the 24th Feb 2015 and representatives from Midlothian Council Educational Establishments are invited to attend.

This new system for Midlothian establishments will replace the current EV1 system. This system will change how educational and community establishments plan, manage report and evaluate off site activity. It’s designed to remove barriers and adopt a low bureaucracy approach to all offsite visits. This will result in more visits!!

The session on the 24th Feb 2014 at the Lasswade High School Centre, Conference Room 1600-1700, will cover;

  • EVOLVE Overview
  • Benefits to Educational Establishments
  • Demonstration
  • Pilot Phase details
  • Further Training
  • Going Live
  • Next steps

Who Should attend?:  Educational Visit Coordinators & staff currently approving and coordinating visits within educational establishments, CPD co-ordinators, staff involved in regular trip planning.

In order to manage the logistics of the session, which we expect to be very busy, could you please let us know who, from your establishment, would wish to attend.  You can do this by emailing:


Delegates will be able to nominate their establishment to join the pilot phase of the system during attendance on the 24th.

We look forward to seeing you then – Slides from the recent meetings with more details can be found by clicking on image above. Further information is also available on the EVOLVE system at the Edufocus website.




“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).