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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-05166: Richard Lochhead (Moray)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 29 November 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what support it gives to (a) community groups and (b) social enterprises to promote outdoor learning in nursery and school settings.

Answered by: John Swinney 9 December 2016

Outdoor Learning is a key component in the delivery of Curriculum of Excellence. The outdoor environment has massive potential for learning and we are keen to see all of our children and young people having positive learning experiences in a variety of settings. Community groups and social enterprises have a clear role in helping to deliver this.

(a) The People and Communities Fund, £10.775 million in 2016-17, provides support for community-led regeneration. Current examples which promote outdoor learning include:

  • The promotion of confidence, self-esteem and resilience for children and young people by providing activities to engage with the natural world, whilst offering challenge in a calm and therapeutic environment.

  • Community gardening programmes offering training and skills development support for local school-children, young adults with learning difficulties or mental health issues, adults and older people.

  • Partnership working with local schools to deliver bike maintenance and proficiency training and out-of-school sporting activities for secondary school-aged pupils to encourage positive lifestyle changes.

The Scottish Government also supports community groups within the youth work sector to promote outdoor learning through a range of sources.

The Children and Young People Early Intervention Fund provides core and project funding for youth work organisations, including those who provide outdoor learning opportunities for example uniformed organisations, the John Muir Award and the Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award.

The National Support Fund for National Voluntary Organisations, administered by YouthLink Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, supports development and training and has supported youth work organisations such as the Ocean Youth Trust and Scripture Union Scotland to develop new services including a teacher training modules.

Additionally, funding to support Outdoor Learning has been given to a number of Outdoor providers under the Youth Work programme and through Education Scotland’s support for social studies and learning for sustainability within Curriculum for Excellence.

(b) In the coming weeks, the Scottish Government will launch a new ten-year Social Enterprise Strategy for Scotland. Co-produced with the sector with wide consultation, including ten thematic roundtable discussions, over 200 written submissions, an online consultation (receiving more than 3,000 votes) and rural and minority ethnic community focus groups, this publication capitalises on the sector’s energy and passion and sets strategic direction for the next decade.

Over the last decade, sustained investment and strong leadership has helped establish Scotland’s internationally recognised ‘eco-system of support’ for social enterprise. This year, the Scottish Government has maintained direct investment of £24.5m in the Third Sector, which includes support for social enterprise.

A range of support is available to social enterprises, including those involved in outdoor learning in nursery and school settings, through for example the Social Entrepreneurs Fund, Just Enterprise, and the Developing Markets Programme.