Learning in the South Downs

Useful Organisations

There are a wide range of people and organisations that support outdoor learning.

Local Networks provide opportunities to work together with individuals and organisations that are similar in location and/or goals.

Professional Bodies support the industry in a number of ways such as:

  • Lobbying and campaigning for change
  • Offering guidance and support
  • Providing training and professional development
  • Inspecting and upholding standards
  • Sharing good ideas and best practice

Local Networks


A network of around 200 outdoor learning providers delivering a range of learning outside the classroom experiences relevant to the South Downs National Park. The network is divided into three cluster groups based on geographical location within the Park. Network meetings take place once a year plus an annual conference providing a chance for providers to showcase their offers through a market-place.


The Hampshire Environmental Education Group (HEEG) exists to improve communication between any organisation or individual interested in Environmental and Sustainability Education in and around the county of Hampshire, UK. The Group meets on a termly basis at different centres in order to share news, ideas, activities, etc. This e-mail group aims to enhance that communication by providing a forum for information exchange.


The intentions of this group are to share ideas and information on a wide range of issues concerning those involved in Environmental Education and Education for Sustainability.


The Sussex Environmental Educators Forum (SEEF) brings together people who are passionate about the teaching of environmental education across both East and West Sussex. Our members work with schools, community groups and the general public to teach them about the natural world, local landscapes and sustainability. SEEF provides a network to share skills, swap experiences, visit sites and learn about best practice and new issues in environmental education.

Professional Bodies


Adventuremark is a non-statutory safety scheme for providers of adventurous activities that are outside the scope of the Adventure Activity Licensing regulations. Adventuremark allows providers to demonstrate that their arrangements for managing the potential risks of adventure activities have been inspected and found to meet the necessary standards of good practice in the adventure activity industry.


The aim of adventure activities licensing is to provide assurances to the public about the safety of those activity providers who have been granted a licence. In this way it is expected that young people will be able to continue to enjoy exciting and stimulating activities outdoors without being exposed to avoidable risks of death or disabling injury. A licence indicates that the provider has been inspected by the Adventure Activities Licensing Service on behalf of the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority, with particular attention being paid to their safety management systems with young people, and has been able to demonstrate compliance with nationally accepted standards of good There are four broad groups of activities that currently require a licence: climbing, caving, trekking and water sports.


AHOEC is committed to quality in outdoor learning, to inspirational experiences, challenging activities, excitement and fun, all with a lifelong positive impact. The aims of the Centres are to foster greater confidence and regard for others through a series of adventurous challenges requiring co-operation set in the outdoors. Gold Standard builds on the LOtC Quality Badge and extends it to a higher standard using the tried and tested OFSTED Evaluation criteria from poor to outstanding. All providers are assessed to a range of criteria by inspection and accreditation to an “excellent” standard.


BAPA is a trade body representing providers of adventure courses, activity holidays, summer camps and day camps. Member centres abide by the BAPA Code of Practice and are subject to regular inspection. The BAPA scheme was the first to be assessed and approved by AAIAC as meeting the inspection standards for Adventuremark and the LOtC Quality Badge. BAPA is a member of SkillsActive and has a lead role in developing training standards for new activity centre staff.


“Helping and Inspiring people to go canoeing” Set up in 1936 to send a team to the Berlin Olympics, the British Canoe Union (BCU) is the lead body for canoeing and kayaking in the UK. Since then the organisation has grown considerably, and the range of canoeing opportunity has increased tremendously. The BCU is the umbrella organisation for Canoe England, Canoe Wales, Canoe Association of Northern Ireland and the Scottish Canoeing Association.


British Orienteering is the National Governing Body for orienteering in the UK, formed in June 1967. It’s aims are:- – Expanding the numbers of people participating in orienteering – Widening the range of places where orienteering takes place – Winning more places on the podiums at international competitions


Subject associations are normally membership organisations, often registered charities, whose mission is to further the teaching and learning of a specific subject in schools, colleges and universities. They are independent of government and believe very strongly in supporting teachers in their subject specialism. A listing of most associations can be found on the Council for Subject Associations website.


The CLOtc are a registered charity existing to champion learning outside the classroom (LOtC) and encourage young people to get out and about because research shows that children learn best through real world, hands on experiences. The CLOtC is responsible for: – Influencing and challenging learning outside the classroom policy and practice – Raising the profile of learning outside the classroom and promoting the benefits – Providing support for education and LOtC professionals, aiming for good quality learning outside the classroom that meets the needs of young people The LOtC Quality Badge is a national benchmark recognising organisations that provide good quality educational experiences and manage risk effectively.


National charity devoted to protecting and enhancing rural England. Encourages the sustainable use of land and other natural resources in town and country. Hampshire CPRE Sussex CPRE


The UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on environmental, food and rural issues. DEFRA priorities are to grow the rural economy, improve the environment and safeguard animal and plant health.


DofE gives all young people the chance to develop skills for work and life, fulfil their potential and have a brighter future. They provide a balanced programme of activities that develops the whole person – mind, body and soul – in an environment of social interaction and teamworking. Young people (14-24) progress through three levels to achieve a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.


EOC is a forum of the principal representative organisations operating in the field of outdoor education, training and recreation. Its role is to carry out those lobbying, influencing and representational roles on behalf of the outdoor sector that are more effectively dealt with by an umbrella body than by individual organisations.


The Forest School Association is the professional body and UK wide voice for Forest School, promoting best practice, cohesion and quality Forest School for all.


Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK. We build girls’ confidence and raise their aspirations. We give them the chance to discover their full potential and encourage them to be a powerful force for good. We give them a space to have fun. ‘Girlguiding UK’ is an operating name of The Guide Association.


The IOL supports your work and career as an outdoor professional, field study officer, instructor, teacher, youth worker, outdoor leader, management development trainer, student or anyone involved in learning outdoors. The IOL encourages outdoor learning by developing quality, safety and opportunity to experience outdoor activity provision and by supporting and enhancing the good practice of those who work in the outdoors. South & Channel Islands Region


The John Muir Trust is the UK’s leading wild land conservation charity. We believe wild places are essential, and are dedicated to protecting and enhancing them for people and wildlife. Over 10,000 members support us in our work. The John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration. The John Muir Award in the South Downs


LtL is a UK charity dedicated to enhancing outdoor learning and play for children. We do this by: Advocating the benefits of outdoor learning and play at school and pre school. Enabling the design and development of outdoor environments to support children’s development. Inspiring teachers and early years practitioners to develop the confidence, ideas and skills they need to make better use of outdoor spaces.


NAEE is an association for teachers and lecturers, headteachers, advisers, inspectectors, education officers, trainers and students, and all who are concerned with any aspect of education and the environment.


Nafso represents professionals employed in teaching, developing and promoting field studies. It is a Voluntary Association which aims to disseminate good practice amongst its members and works to ensure that their interests are represented nationally. Members are directly involved in raising awareness of, understanding of, and respect for the environment, making a hugely valuable contribution to life long learning.


A UK conservation charity, protecting historic places and green spaces, and opening them up for ever, for everyone. We protect and open to the public over 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments. We also look after forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, castles, nature reserves, villages.


Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. We provide practical advice, grounded in science, on how best to safeguard England’s natural wealth for the benefit of everyone. We want to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to use, understand, engage with and be inspired by the natural environment. Our remit is to ensure sustainable stewardship of the land and sea so that people and nature can thrive. It is our responsibility to see that England’s rich natural environment can adapt and survive intact for future generations to enjoy. Our aim is to create a better natural environment that covers all of our urban, country and coastal landscapes, along with all of the animals, plants and other organisms that live with us South East Region


The OEAP offers practical help, advice and support to staff taking children off site, to different environments including visits to local areas, museums, places of worship, visits abroad and adventure activities. The OEAP offer guidance and training to ensure staff have access to high quality advice to enable visits and outdoor learning to take place.


The OIA is a trade association for manufacturers, retailers, holiday providers, outdoor centres and others who provide services, products, activities and enjoyment of outdoor leisure. We engage with government, the public and with other bodies who work to encourage people to become more active, to be healthy and to enjoy the pleasures of the outdoors, with the resultant increase in the interest in suitable equipment, clothes, holidays and clubs. Members enjoy a host of business benefits and savings as well as unique networking opportunities and access to research and data.


The Scout Association is the UK’s largest co-educational voluntary youth organisation with over 400,000 young people and 100,000 volunteer adults. Its programme covers the 6 to 25 age range in various age sections (Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorer Scouts and Scout Network) with an award scheme aimed at balanced personal development and using the outdoors.


SEEd is a registered charity that identifies, promotes, enables and supports environmental education and education for sustainable development. It is a national membership body that facilitates wide stakeholder engagement processes, promotes shared learning and develops cross sector partnerships through: workshops, an interactive website, research and events.


STF is a democratic, not for profit, organisation of leading school tour operators that promotes good practice and safety in school travel. STF act as the Awarding Body for the Study & Sports Tours Sector of the LOtC Quality Badge and our standards adopted as the benchmark for all companies operating in that sector.


There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK and the Isle of Man and Alderney. Together they are the largest UK voluntary organisation dedicated to protecting wildlife and wild places everywhere – on land and at sea. Every year The Wildlife Trusts work with thousands of schools and welcome millions of visitors to our nature reserves and visitor centres. Our objectives are to: demonstrate how nature works inspire people and communities to value and take action for nature champion nature and our work Hampshire Wildlife Trust Sussex Wildlife Trust Wildlife Watch is the junior branch of The Wildlife Trusts and the UK’s leading environmental action club for kids. If you care about nature and the environment and want to explore your local wildlife – this is the club for YOU!


The YET is a national charity dedicated to promoting safe and responsible expeditions for young people. It does this by providing advice and support to schools, youth organisations, commercial expedition providers and groups of friends who intend to run their own youth expedition. As the national voice of youth expeditions the YET also offers a wide range of practical assistance to aspiring or experienced expedition leaders and commercial providers alike.

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