News and events

Keep up to date with the latest news and events and find out how you can get involved!


Learning Beyond the Classroom Conference 2017 at High Ashurst

21 Nov 2016

Date: Friday 21 April 2017
Start time:
8.15am light breakfast, refreshments and networking. 9am conference begins.
Finish time:
4.15pm
Location:
High Ashurst Outdoor Education Centre nr Dorking, Surrey
Cost:
£100 per delegate to include light breakfast, lunch and refreshments.

High quality outdoor learning changes children’s lives!

The evidence is clear about the positive impact outdoor learning has on young people’s lives, their personal development and academic attainment and success.

Following on from our highly successful conference in 2016, Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development have planned a further inspiring day for anyone involved with outdoor learning at their school. This will include keynote speakers with a wealth of knowledge and practical hands on experience, who will empower you to bring the outdoors into everyday learning. Plus this year, more practical and theoretical workshops to learn new skills to return to your school with plenty of ideas to embed quality outdoor learning across your curriculum.

Outdoor learning can be financed by the Sport Premium Funding.

Keynote speakers include:

Jo Lewis: Natural England - Bringing the outdoors to everyday learning

Professor Tim Gill: A balanced approach to risk vs benefit of outdoor learning

Colette Morris: Head Teacher LOtC Gold Standard - The positive realities of outdoor learning

Workshops include:

  • Words in the Wilderness
  • Messy Maths
  • The Science of Combustion
  • Wild Art
  • Hands on History
  • Eco Schools
  • Ecology and Food Chains
  • Risk Benefit to Outdoor Education
  • Developing your school grounds for Outdoor Education
  • How to make your residential 'Brilliant'
  • Jungle Gym

Who should attend:

KS1 and 2 Head/Deputy Head Teachers, primary sports coordinators, outdoor education coordinators or any primary school educationalist passionate about getting children into the outdoors.  Also suitable for teachers involved with transition from primary to secondary and OAA in KS3.

Getting to High Ashurst:

High Ashurst is about 10 minutes from the M25 junction 9.  For those delegates travelling by train, there will be a local pick up at Dorking station.  Please request at time of booking.

Download the flyer (PDF)

Book here


Winter Woodland Residential 2016-17

11 Oct 2016

This is our brilliant residential package that will get your students out of the classroom and into the outdoors. Stay warm and toasty in our deluxe log cabins, enjoying home-cooked meals and as much hot chocolate as you can drink!

Three days/two nights for £114* per student

For more information about this special offer download our flyer or visit our Schools and Youth Groups page.

*Terms and conditions apply. Price available from 29 October 2016 to 28 February 2017 excluding 21 December 2016 to 04 January 2017


Volunteering Opportunities

23 Sep 2016

Are you looking for a volunteering opportunity in your spare time? Do you like to get into the outdoors? Or meet new people while making a positive difference to your local community? 

If you have answered 'yes' to any of the above then how about becoming an estates management volunteer at Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development?

Types of work to be carried out include cutting back and clearing of overgrown areas, small tree clearance, hedge cutting, strimming, wood chipping and wood splitting. 

We offer various dates throughout the year at High Ashurst in Mickleham, Dorking and Henley Fort in Guildford.

For more information or to apply please go to our jobs, volunteering and work experience page.


*NEW* Instructor Training Course

19 Sep 2016

Are you interested in the following courses; 

  • British Canoeing One Star
  • British Canoeing Two Star
  • British Canoeing Foundation Safety & Rescue Training
  • British Canoeing Level One Coach Training & Assessment
  • British Canoeing Three Star Touring Canoe Training & Assessment
  • British Canoeing Three Star Touring Kayak Training & Assessment
  • RYA Powerboat Level 2
  • RYA Start Sailing (dinghy)
  • RYA Basic Skills (dinghy)
  • RYA Better Sailing (dinghy)
  • National Navigation Award Scheme Bronze Level
  • British Orienteering Teacher Part One

We are offering a 9 week programme from Monday 17 October to Friday 16 December 2016, 5 days per week Monday to Friday.

For more information visit our Training Course page


October half-term holiday activities

06 Sep 2016

Outdoor activities now available to book for the October half-term holiday at High Ashurst, nr Dorking and Thames Young Mariners, nr Richmond. 

High Ashurst

  • Young Explorers for 6-8 year olds
  • 2 and 3 day multi-activity courses for 8-13 year olds

Thames Young Mariners

  • Young Explorers for 6 and 7 year olds
  • 1 and 2 day junior multi-activity courses for 8-11 year olds
  • RYA stage 1 and 2 sailing courses for 8-16 year olds
  • RYA stage 3 sailing courses for 10-16 year olds

For more information or to book please visit our holiday activities page.


DofE Gold Residential October 2016 - now available to book

24 Aug 2016

New dates at Henley Fort for our October 2016 DofE Gold residential! 

When: Monday 24 to Friday 28 October 2016

What: Multi-activity course with a range of exciting and challenging outdoor activities which may include canoeing, mountain biking, climbing and canal boating and lots more.

How much: £299

*All meals, accommodation and activities included.

Book here


Petersham Road closures - access to Thames Young Mariners

10 Aug 2016

It has come to our attention that Petersham Road will be closed between 1 August and 4 September 2016 to allow National Grid to carry out essential gas main replacement works, which may affect your journey to and from Thames Young Mariners. 

Petersham Road will be closed to through traffic from the junction with Star and Garter Hill, up to the traffic lights outside 149 Petersham Road. There will be a physical road closure from outside 141 to 143 Petersham Road.

Local vehicle access will be available into Church Lane, Cedar Heights, River Lane, Rutland Drive and all businesses throughout the duration of the project.

Traffic will only be able to reach Church Lane and Cedar Heights via the A307 and Star and Garter Hill. Petersham Nurseries, The Dysart and St Peter’s Church will be open as usual.

Traffic will only be able to reach River Lane and Rutland Drive via Upper Ham Road, merging into Petersham Road. Ham Polo Club will be open as usual.

Pedestrians and cyclists will have access along the whole of Petersham Road during the works as normal. Cyclists may be required to dismount.

Further information can be found by following this link http://www.richmond.gov.uk/petersham_road_closure


Last minute availability - summer holiday sailing course

09 Aug 2016

Our summer holiday RYA Level 1 and 2 sailing courses for 8-16 year olds get booked up very early, but there is some good news! Due to last minute cancellations we have two places available on the 22-26 August 2016.

For more information or to book please follow the link: RYA Level 1 and 2 Sailing Course


Outdoor Learning - the new buzz word?

22 Jul 2016

So here at Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development we have always been advocates of outdoor learning. From day visits to residential trips, outdoor education has been creating a buzz in the news recently - take a look at the links below to see what we mean.

Happy reading/watching!


Are Children Getting Enough Outdoor Education in London and the UK?

11 May 2016

It’s no secret that the team here at Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development all absolutely adore the great outdoors, and are enthusiastic supporters of outdoor education in London and around the UK; we love nothing more than encouraging activity amongst children, and to see them have fun while they learn and grow! With this in mind, we’re always pleased to see other people and institutions taking children’s outdoor learning seriously, like Persil is doing with their recent efforts.

The UK has seen a worrying decline in outdoor activity and ‘hands-on’ play, where children go outside and get dirty by engaging in activities like climbing trees, building dens and hunting for insects. Surveys undertaken by Persil have found that almost a third of children in the UK play outside for less than 30 minutes a day, and twice as much of their time is spent on screens than outside, leading to an increase in inactivity amongst young people, which runs the risk of carrying over into adulthood.

Studies have shown that children who don’t play outside as much as they should (1-3 hours a day are recommended depending on the age bracket) are missing out on essential skill building, personal growth and various other health benefits.

Outdoor play and education can help foster things like problem-solving, teamwork, social and practical ‘hands-on’ skills, as well as contribute to emotional and mental well-being in both children and adults alike. Spending more time outdoors also helps children find an appreciation for nature and can stop bad habits from forming such as inactivity, something which is all too easy to fall into with the abundance of gadgets on offer these days!

With this in mind, Persil have launched their #DirtIsGood campaign which encourages children to go outside and get active, no matter the stains their clothes may suffer as a result! Friday 17th June of this year also marks the Empty Classroom Day, an initiative to encourage schools to teach at least one of their classes outdoors to help their pupils see the benefits of outdoor learning. We think this is a fab idea, and encourage parents up and down the UK to talk to their schools about it to make sure that they - and their children - will be taking part!

If you’re interested in giving children in your care a head start in life and believe that they’d benefit from outdoor education in one of our London or Surrey adventure sites, then SOLD would love to hear from you! With a wide range of sites and activities, we take great pleasure in reacquainting both adults and children with nature, and encouraging them to push themselves and see the results! If you’d like to know more about our activities or facilities, then get in touch today or simply browse our site for more information.


Learning Beyond the Classroom Conference at High Ashurst

14 Mar 2016

Keynote speakers and workshops confirmed. 

Keynote speakers:

  • Peter Carne OBE - Learning Away - 'What makes a brilliant residential?'
  • Victoria Wilcher - Council for Learning Outside the Classroom - 'How and why to implement and outdoor learning policy in your school'
  • Kevin D Boyle - Headteacher & OFSTED inspector - 'How to demonstrate the benefits of outdoor learning to OFSTED'
  • David Hodgson - Master Practitioner and trainer of neuro-linguistic programming - 'Outdoor learning and learning styles'

Workshops:

  • Eco Schools ‘Getting Started'
  • Sustainable Travel
  • Teaching Resources and Schools' accreditation for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC)
  • Outdoor Learning Cards
  • Making the most of a Residential Experience
  • What is a High Quality Outdoor Learning Experience?
  • Micro Adventures and Orienteering Journeys
  • Ten all new Problem Solving Ideas
  • Literacy and numeracy in the Outdoors
  • The Development of your School Grounds for Outdoor Learning
  • Eco Schools ‘Going for Green’
  • How to facilitate Experiential Learning
  • Personality types and Learning styles
  • Using your Woodland for Art and Adventure

Download keynote speaker biographies

Download workshop descriptions

Once you have booked onto our conference you will be sent an email to book onto the workshops.


Only first class customer service will do for SOLD!

03 Feb 2016

The whole SOLD team have recently graduated from the WorldHost Customer Service training course that has been run at their outdoor education centre, High Ashurst, in Dorking.

Teams from catering, operations, facilities, business support and marketing have successfully completed the course run by WorldHost who are one of the leading companies working hard to transform customer service standards across the UK. While the SOLD team already put the customer firmly at the centre of everything they do, the teams have created action plans for each of their areas to improve the organisation's processes and procedures which will benefit their valued customers even further.


January 2016 Newsletters

25 Jan 2016

Please find below our January 2016 newsletters. These will open in a downloadable PDF.


DofE Gold Residential - new dates!

07 Jan 2016

New dates now available at Henley Fort for our multi-activity Gold Residential - 04 to 08 April 2016.

This multi-activity residential includes a range of exciting and challenging outdoor activities such as canoeing, mountain biking, climbing and canal boating and lots more.

For more information and to book please visit the DofE section of our website.


February half-term holiday activities - now available to book

06 Jan 2016

Are you looking for fun and adventure for your children in the February half-term? Do your children enjoy trying new activities with their friends?

If the answer is yes, take a look at the exciting activities we have to offer at High Ashurst, nr Dorking and Thames Young Mariners, nr Richmond.


Olympia Business Show 3rd and 4th December 2015

23 Dec 2015

The Business Show at Olympia on December 3rd and 4th was a new venture for us - so we pulled out all
the stops!

We didn't quite know what to expect having not attended before, however we were pleasantly surprised by the range of organisations and people in attendance from language schools to small start up companies to medium sized more established companies.

While there were months of hard work to get this ready, everyone agreed that is was very much worth it - even if an early night was needed on the Friday!

To see photos from what we got up to, please visit our facebook page or twitter account.


Green Achiever Award for all our centres

23 Dec 2015

At SOLD we pride ourselves on being green and helping the environment where possible. As a result, this year for the Green Achiever Award we have progressed to 5 stars out of 5 for High Ashurst, 4 stars for Thames Young Mariners and remained at 4 stars for Henley Fort.

This is the fifth year that we have produced a self declaration of environmental commitment to the scheme for green businesses where we have identified and comply with all environmental legislation relevant to our business activities. Over the next 12 months we hope to improve on this further.

For more information about Green Achiever please visit their website.


SOLD are Leatherhead and District Business Award winners

23 Dec 2015

Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development were nominated and selected as finalists in this year's Leatherhead and District Business Awards in the Sustainable Organisation of the Year category, sponsored by Unilever.

The Awards Ceremony Dinner took place on Monday 30 November and SOLD were announced as the winners in this category!


A Guide to High Quality Outdoor Learning and Residential Experiences

22 Dec 2015

This guide has been created to help schools and organisations get the most out of their outdoor learning experiences.

With AHOEC, English Outdoor Council, Learning Outside the Classroom and Learning Away combining their knowledge and resources into this helpful document you can challenge your outdoor learning providers in order to get the most out of your outdoor learning experiences.

Including the 10 key outcomes of high quality outdoor learning, the benefits of outdoor learning as well as high quality indicator checklists, this handy little guide combines information to help you help your students.

Please click here to download the full guide (PDF).


Learning Beyond the Classroom Conference - developing outdoor learning across the primary curriculum

24 Nov 2015

Date: Friday 15 April 2016
Start time: 8.30am light breakfast, refreshments and networking. 9am conference begins.
Finish time: 4pm
Location: High Ashurst Outdoor Education Centre nr Dorking, Surrey
Cost: £100 per delegate to include light breakfast, lunch and refreshments.

Integrating Outdoor and Adventurous Activities (OAA) into your school's curriculum has never been more important.  It has been well documented about the power of outdoor learning linking with the academic achievement and the improvement of personal, social and emotional development  of your children.  This conference aims to inspire and equip you with practical ideas and confidence to integrate quality outdoor learning within your school.

The conference will commence with key note speakers who are experts in their field followed by practical and theoretical workshops that  will equip you with skills and ideas to take back to your school.

Key note speakers:

  • OFSTED - how outdoor learning fits in the new framework
  • Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) - a whole school approach
  • Learning Away - how to make your residential brilliant
  • Outdoor Learning - an effective tool for different learning styles

Workshops will include:

  • Using your school grounds more effectively for outdoor learning
  • Linking outdoor learning to the National Curriculum
  • Environmental activities
  • Orienteering as a cross curricular tool
  • Becoming a LOtC school
  • Art in the outdoors
  • Developing an outdoor learning policy

Who should attend:

KS1 and 2 Head/Deputy Head Teachers, primary sports coordinators, outdoor education coordinators or any primary school educationalist passionate about getting children into the outdoors.  Also suitable for teachers involved with transition from primary to secondary and OAA in KS3.

Getting to High Ashurst:

High Ashurst is about 10 minutes from the M25 junction 9.  For those delegates travelling by train, there will be a local pick up at Dorking station.  Please request at time of booking.

Download the flyer (PDF)

Book here


Duke of Edinburgh Award Gold Residentials 2016

29 Oct 2015

New dates for the diary!

We are offering action-packed, outdoor activity Gold Residential programmes at High Ashurst.

Activities

February - This multi-activity residential includes a range of exciting and challenging outdoor activities such as climbing, kayaking, abseiling, high ropes and much more!

Dates: Monday 15 to Friday 19 February 2016 at High Ashurst.

Price: Only £299 per person*

For further information and to book your place please visit our Duke of Edinburgh's Award page.

*Price is inclusive of all activities, accommodation and meals.


Apprenticeships 2016

28 Sep 2015

Are you passionate about the outdoors? Do you like the idea of climbing, kayaking, raft building or high ropes? You could become an outdoor professional!

We are offering an exciting opportunity for young people aged 17 to 23 to undertake an apprenticeship to become an outdoor education professional.

You will be paid to learn to deliver high quality outdoor experiences to groups of young people, while gaining excellent experiences and qualifications in a fun and action packed industry.

Our apprenticeships run from March 2016 to February 2017.

Requirements: you need a minimum of two GCSEs grade A to C, or equivalent, including Maths and English.

About apprenticeships: Our apprenticeship scheme provides a perfect way to earn a wage while you gain vital work experience and an NVQ qualification. The apprenticeship scheme is designed and funded for 16 to 23 year olds who are living and entitled to work in England, do not have degrees, and are not in full-time education. When you have finished, we will help you find a permanent role. Upon attending an interview you will need to be able to show you meet the above requirements to be considered for an apprenticeship.

For further information or to apply please email outdoor.training@surreycc.gov.uk


NCS Youth Ambassadors, Only the Young, visit High Ashurst

20 Aug 2015

Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development welcomed the NCS (National Citizen Service) youth ambassadors 'Only the Young' to their outdoor learning centre High Ashurst in Mickleham Dorking. As youth ambassadors, the group who were recently on X Factor, visit many of the NCS groups as they undertake their residential, team building visit as part of their personal and team learning and development programme over the summer months.

After performing an acoustic set of songs to a group of young NCS participants from Guildford, Betsy, Parisa, Charlie and Mikey chatted with the young people about how they have enjoyed being away from home and undertaking some challenging and fun activities including putting up tents, sleeping under the stars, hiking in the Surrey Hills, team tasks including a catapult build and much more. The young people really engaged with the group and supported the foursome when they undertook their own challenge.

The team at SOLD challenged the four bandmates to one of their high ropes courses where they had to climb 25 feet to a platform before jumping onto a trapeze. They were then challenged to hanging upside down, dangling from a rope before being lowered to the ground again. The band managed a go each before Mikey and Charlie pushed themselves more by having to jump further for the trapeze. Great fun was had by all.

In 2015, SOLD have welcomed 16 separate waves of NCS groups to two of their centres, Henley Fort in Guildford and High Ashurst in Mickleham nr Dorking, since June amounting to over 1000 16 and 17 year olds undertaking Phase 1 of their NCS journey. NCS Co-ordinator Simon Kibble said 'SOLD have been proud to be partners with the NCS/Challenge for the third year running working with a variety of groups from London and the South East.'

To see photographs from this visit please take a look at our Facebook page.


TAZ 2 day multi-activity adventure with stand up paddle boarding - October half-term

18 Aug 2015

New for October half-term - two day multi-activity adventure with stand up paddle boarding at Thames Young Mariners.

Our introduction to Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) for 8-16 year olds is perfect for those who have never paddled or SUPed.  As part of the learning process, falling in is possible and may even be encouraged, so come prepared to get wet while having fun and learning.

Why not try something new this half-term


New for 2015 - Saturday Sailing Club

24 Mar 2015

Do you enjoy sailing? Have you learnt to sail in the Summer Holidays and want to get some more time on the water? Are you going on a sailing holiday this summer?

If you have answered 'yes' to any of these, why not come and join like minded sailors out on the water and practice your sailing skills?

For more information and to register please visit our Saturday Sailing Club page.


Winter Woodland Residential - special offer price

26 Feb 2015

This is our brilliant residential package that will get your students out of the classroom and into the outdoors. Stay warm and toasty in our deluxe log cabins, enjoying home-cooked meals and as much hot chocolate as you can drink!

Three days/two nights for £109* per student

For more information about this special offer visit our Schools and Youth Groups page.

*Terms and conditions apply. Valid November 2014 to February 2015


School Sports Funding

26 Feb 2015

The school sports funding is a grant being paid directly to Primary Schools for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 with the purpose of improving PE and sport provision for pupils. This funding can be used in a number of ways; including the delivery of outdoor learning activities or training school staff to deliver their own outdoor learning curriculum.

How can we help you?

We have a team of professional, highly qualified and experienced instructors who deliver high quality outdoor learning activity sessions at any of our three outdoor education centres in and around Surrey, or on your school site by our Outreach Team. We can offer activities such as climbing, orienteering, archery, biking, problem solving, woodland skills, canoeing and sailing. Please take a look at our school sports funding leaflet to find out how these activities can be built into programmes for your school and further information about what we can offer you.

For further information please contact Louise Edwards (SOLD Manager) by email at louise.edwards@surreycc.gov.uk or by telephone on 07968 891651.


GCSE PE day visits and residentials

26 Feb 2015

We offer a bespoke service to any school that expresses an interest in GCSE PE activities of an adventurous nature.

We can currently offer climbing and mountain biking (depending on the exam board) and we are looking to develop archery and orienteering. We are also able to offer kayaking, canoeing and sailing for those who want something even more challenging.

Using activities of an adventurous nature may enable certain students to score more highly on their practical assessment than they would otherwise. Students that may benefit from pursuing an activity of this nature may be those who:

  • are lacking confidence
  • do not have a bank of transferable ball skills
  • would appreciate performing in a non-competitive environment

For further information contact Gareth Moss (gareth.moss@surreycc.gov.uk) or take a look at our Schools and Youth Groups page.


October half-term holiday activities at High Ashurst and Thames Young Mariners

25 Feb 2015

We are offering action-packed adventures at High Ashurst and Thames Young Mariners in the October half-term break. Great fun for little adventurers looking for something to do during the school holiday!

Due to popular demand we are offering the following:

High Ashurst:

  • adrenaline day
  • challenge day
  • explorer day
  • ropes and spokes
  • survivor day

Thames Young Mariners:

  • young explorers for 6 and 7 year olds
  • junior and senior 2 and 3 day multi-activity courses
  • RYA sailing level 1 and 2 course
  • RYA sailing level 3 course

For more information and to book visit the TAZ section of our website


Duke of Edinburgh Award Gold Residential

25 Feb 2015

New dates for the diary!

We are offering an action-packed, multi-activity Gold Residential programme at Henley Fort, staying in the comfort of our Yurt Village.

The programme includes; archery, climbing, high ropes and much more!

Date: Monday 26 to Friday 30 October 2015

Cost: Only £299 per person*

For further information and to book your place please go to our Duke of Edinburgh's Award page

*Price is inclusive of all activities, accommodation and meals.


We're now on Facebook!

07 Jan 2015

Don't forget to 'like' us to find out the latest news, events and special offers!

Surrey Outdoor Learning & Development

TAZ - The Adventure Zone

1