Leading practitioners in the world of learning outside the classroom (LOtC) were recognised as ‘LOtC Heroes’ at an awards dinner held at the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley.  

Paul Curnow receives the Inspiring Educator Award at the CLOtC Awards

The Awards for Outstanding Contribution to LOtC recognise individuals and teams who have made a significant impact on the lives of children and young people through their commitment and dedication to providing and/or championing exciting and inspiring learning outside the classroom opportunities.

Presenter, explorer and naturalist Paul Rose, an advocate of learning outside the classroom, was a special guest at the awards ceremony, honouring the winners.

From a shortlist of 12, the following final winners announced at the ceremony, organised by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) charity, on Thursday 22nd November:

Lynne Ledgard, assistant headteacher, Green Lane Community Special School in Warrington, LOtC Advocate sponsored by Canal and River Trust.

Lynne said she was “absolutely honoured” to receive the award, adding: “At Green Lane Special School, we have a passion for outdoor learning and the benefits that it brings to pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

“This award will help raise the profile of outdoor learning even more and allow us to reach more pupils with SEND and their families within Warrington and beyond”.

Dan Riley, programme leader, White Hall Outdoor Education Centre, LOtC Innovator Award sponsored by YHA.

Dan Riley from White Hall Outdoor Education Centre receives the Innovator Award 2018

Dan (pictured receiving the award above) said the award had helped to raise the profile of STEM Adventure, adding: “We are excited to be engaged in a conversation with CLOtC about how they can facilitate sharing our vision with others.”

Paul Curnow, prep 3C form teacher and forest school leader, Spring Grove School in Wye, Kent, LOtC Inspiring Educator sponsored by School Travel Organiser Magazine.

Paul said it was great to be recognised for the achievements of the school. He added: “I could not have done any of it without the huge support of colleagues, parents and volunteers. Outdoor learning offers so many diverse benefits, helping children grow in confidence and resilience, supporting them in their academic development and it is also great fun.”

Going the extra mile

Edward Jones (pictured below with CLOtC trustee Paul Airey) from the Rhos-y-Gwailiau Outdoor Education Centre in Wales was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was working at the centre as a young instructor when it was announced that funding was being withdrawn.

Ed Jones receives his award from CLOtC trustee Paul Airey

Desperate to save the centre, he decided to run it independently. With a skeleton team, he took on the majority of the workload to save funds, including cooking for 60 children, dealing with broken septic tanks and blocked drains whilst still managing the hopes, and passions of his colleagues. 

He said winning the award had given a “renewed impetus to continue with serving the schools” at the centre adding: “We run our centre for the benefit of the children and are not led by business models or in the pursuit of profit.”

Kim Somerville, chief executive of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom said: “We believe that every child should be given the opportunity to experience life and lessons beyond the classroom walls as a regular part of growing up. It is clear that this year’s winners and nominees are making great strides forward to make this happen. We congratulate all the inspiring winners and shortlisted LOtC Heroes, who are helping to expand the horizons of young people.”

Left to right: Paul Rose, Paul Airey, Steve Dool, Rob Lucas, Peter Carne & Kim Somerville

The final award of the evening was the Special Recognition Award which was given to four trustees of CLOtC: Paul Airey, Steve Dool, Rob Lucas and Peter Carne (pictured with Paul Rose & Kim Somerville above).

Together, Paul, Steve, Rob and Peter have given over 120 years to helping children grow and flourish and this special award acknowledges their passion and their commitment to learning outside the classroom.


Main image: Paul Curnow receives the Inspiring Educator Award.