Martin Whitfield MSP has met with representatives of the charity Scottish Outdoor Education Centres to discuss the importance of outdoor education and how it can best be supported during the Covid recovery period.

The South Scotland MSP met with outgoing SOEC Chief Executive Dave Spence and Centre Manager Jamie Miller at the charity’s Broomlee Centre near West Linton in the Scottish Borders.

Among the issues discussed were the impact the pandemic has had on opportunities to experience outdoor education, the charity’s plans for recovery, including renewing its three outdoor education centres and the opportunities presented by Liz Smith MSP’s Member’s Bill to guarantee access to residential outdoor education.

Speaking after the meeting, Martin Whitfield MSP said: 

“Having spent many years as a primary school teacher, I do not need convincing of the many benefits residential outdoor education can bring to the learning and development of children and young people.

“I welcome the progress that has been made on this agenda over recent years, including the ‘A Vision for Young People 2021-2031’ document, which seeks to guarantee all young people in Scotland a residential experience.

“Scottish Outdoor Education Centres have been providing quality outdoor education opportunities for children for over 80 years, and I welcomed the opportunity to catch up with Dave and Jamie on some of the charity’s recent developments and plans for the future.

“Like many sectors, it has faced a tough time with its centres having been closed for most of the last two years. However, despite these difficulties, it has positive future plans, including enhancing its residential centres.  I look forward to working with them and others in the sector to continue promoting the importance of residential outdoor education.”