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Issue:24/25 March 2010

Give children the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom

THE Countryside Alliance Foundation has published a new report Outdoor education – the countryside as a classroom showing unprecedented demand for learning outside the classroom as research1 shows that 92% of parents think their children should have more opportunities to get into the countryside to learn about farming and nature.

The report highlights the strong desire for outdoor learning among teachers and children, but highlights the continuing concerns about health and safety which can limit children’s access to the countryside. 75% of teachers say that health and safety is the main barrier to school visits, but only 364 legal claims were made between 1998 and 2008 for injuries sustained by children, with under half resulting in payouts. On average only £293 of compensation was paid out each year by local authorities.

Robert Gray, Director of The Countryside Alliance Foundation, said:- “This report makes a convincing case for outdoor education to be included in the National Curriculum. It shows that teachers and children all want more access to the countryside through school and that well managed outdoor learning poses virtually no risk.”

The report has been welcomed by expert organisations, including the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, Natural England and The Field Studies Council.

Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England said:- “This report is a helpful contribution to an important debate. Our research shows that contact with nature has halved in a generation, and that the overwhelming majority of children now want more opportunities to play outdoors. The natural environment is there to be explored by children, it is their right and we need to do all we can to encourage outdoor learning and create opportunities for children to enjoy and appreciate the countryside.”

Denise Kitchener, Chief Executive of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, believes the report is a welcome injection of commonsense into a debate which is too often distorted by irrational fears of litigation. She commented:- “Teachers need to understand that there is nothing to fear from sensible risk assessments, which can allow them to enhance children’s education through outdoor learning without causing them needless injuries.”

Robert Lucas, Chief Executive of the Field Studies Council said:- “We welcome The Foundation’s campaign as it brings fresh thinking and makes sensible recommendations to draw attention to the importance of outdoor learning and how to reverse its decline.”

Withdrawal of "Elgar" £20 note

THE Bank of England is withdrawing the older style £20 notes that show a portrait of Sir Edward Elgar. Holders of these notes may continue to use them until the end of June 2010. For several months after the end of June most banks, building societies and Post Offices will accept the Elgar £20 notes for deposit to customer accounts and for other customer transactions. However, agreeing to exchange notes is at the discretion of the individual institution. The Bank of England will always exchange its old notes. Notes may be presented for payment either in person or sent by post (at the sender's risk) to:- Dept NEX, Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH. Tel:- 020 7601 4878.

BSIA supports new initiative to tackle underage drinking

THE British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has spoken in support of the Security Industry Authority (SIA)'s tough stance on underage drinking, following a new campaign announced by the Home Office.

The initiative, part of the Proof of Age Scheme (PASS), aims to give door supervisors more authority to uphold the law by confiscating any identification they believe to be false or borrowed.    The SIA is encouraging door supervisors and bar staff to hand confiscated ID to the Police, who will then return the documents to the relevant authority, while young people have been warned that they may face prosecution if caught.

Tony Clarke, Chairman of the BSIA's Leisure Industry Security Section, comments:- "The use of forgeries, foreign licences and siblings' ID is common among young people attempting to gain entry to bars and clubs. The Internet has made false ID particularly easy to get hold of, and door supervisors face a constant challenge in validating the many variations of ID currently available. Underage drinkers often face only minor consequences for attempting to use a fake ID, and many do not realise the extent to which their behaviour can affect the livelihoods of bar staff and door supervisors, whose jobs are at risk if they allow young people access to bars and clubs. Hopefully, the threat of confiscation and potential prosecution will go some way towards redressing this balance."   For more information on the BSIA's Leisure Industry Security Section, please visit:-

This is a pdf file, with thanks to Click here see some of the PASS ID cards.

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