Lochaber pupils among first to get a taste of adventure from new Outward Bound Trust scheme

Instructors and pupils enjoy some outdoors activity.

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The instructors and teachers.

More than 500 pupils in four Lochaber schools are the first to benefit from Outward Bound trust instructors visiting weekly to offer outdoor learning experiences and adventures.

More than 130 schools from across Scotland usually visit the Outward Bound Trust’s Loch Eil centre for a week-long outdoor learning and adventure stay each year.

But as overnight stays are not currently possible due to COVID-19, the trust has
announced exciting new plans to take their outdoor adventures directly into Scottish
classrooms to ensure young people don’t miss out.

Outward Bound is a charity that provides adventurous outdoor experiences, immersing
young people in nature and helping them develop key skills such as resilience, self-
confidence and positivity.

This autumn, instructors will visit school to offer outdoor learning experiences, starting within the school grounds, building up to local adventures.

The first schools to take advantage of this are those closest to Outward Bound’s Loch Eil
centre, where staff are supporting more than 500 young people across all stages, in four
schools in Lochaber including Lundavra primary in Fort William. The charity plans to extend this work to more schools across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

This initial support for schools and young people has been made possible through funding from Mowi Scotland, Swagelok Scotland and a number of other Scottish supporters.

Martin Davidson, Director for Scotland and Innovation at The Outward Bound Trust said: ‘At Outward Bound we never sit back and say we can’t. It’s just not in our DNA. If pupils are not able to come on residentials at Outward Bound this autumn, we will go to them.

‘Covid-19 has brought many challenges to the education system, from the isolation many children felt during lockdown to the worry of how schools can open safely. Each child has had a different experience, for some safe and enjoyable and for others challenging or traumatic.

Outward Bound’s mission is to help young people see what they are truly capable of, to
believe in themselves, to be more than they think. We saw an opportunity to use our
experience of working with young people to help schools as part of their recovery
curriculums, to adapt to new ways of working and to support young people as they adjust to life back in the classroom after almost five months away.’

Katrina Kelly, head teacher at Lundavra Primary School, said having two dedicated Outward Bound instructors in the school was helping pupils develop the skills they
need to face an ever-changing world.

‘Crucial skills like resilience, confidence and self-belief, as well as a willingness to try things,’ she said.

‘The learning is done outdoors, with a firm emphasis on health and well-being and play-based learning. The children are having fun whilst being helped to address some of the emotional uncertainties of the past few months.

‘As a school team we are relishing the opportunity to work with Outward Bound to enhance our pupils’ opportunities for outdoor learning and to help them develop a wider range of skills for life, learning and work.’

All activities support the Curriculum of Excellence and will adhere to government safety
guidelines. As soon as restrictions allow, pupils near Outward Bound’s Loch Eil centre will also be able to travel to their site for bigger adventures to support their learning.