This is an archived press release
Thursday 3 August 2006
3 August 2006
National Park education team to build on Losehill Hall success
The Peak District National Park has become a giant classroom for thousands of schoolchildren – many from inner city areas.
In the past year a record 15,000 people, including nearly 5,000 schoolchildren, have visited Losehill Hall, the National Park Authority’s environmental learning centre near Castleton.
Now the Authority wants to build on Losehill Hall’s success by exploring more partnership projects to develop key aspects such as reaching out to disadvantaged communities.
Losehill Hall staff already work closely with some organisations such as United Utilities, a major Peak District landowner which has an education centre in Longdendale. Some 5,800 pupils on field-trips around the National Park were taught by Losehill Hall staff in the past year
Schools are drawn to the Peak District from a vast region, not only within the National Park but across the Midlands and the Home Counties, often staying at youth hostels run by the YHA, with whom Losehill Hall has a growing partnership.
Ranging from infants to A-level students, their teachers can choose hands-on environmental tuition designed to feed into National Curriculum-linked studies such as geography, history, art and science as well as GCSE and A Levels.
In addition, Losehill Hall provides a range of courses for adults, including environmental professional training for 500 people in the past year, special interest holidays for 550, and conferences and seminars for 5,500.
“Losehill Hall is flourishing,” said head of environmental education Richard Campen. “It’s a very important focus of activity in the Hope Valley, providing services for the community as well as surrounding areas, and long may that continue.”
As part of its development of Losehill Hall for the future, the National Park Authority is looking at a change of focus, fostering closer working partnerships with other councils and organisations. This could enable them, for instance, to jointly fund courses for people from underprivileged backgrounds – perhaps with help from such bodies as the National Lottery.
“One of the National Park Authority priorities is to reach out to young people from disadvantaged communities in urban areas surrounding the Park,” explained Mr Campen. “So, while we’ll continue to offer a wide range of courses, over the next few months we’ll be drawing up proposals to focus more on these kind of priorities, and exploring new ways we could achieve that.”
Meanwhile, teachers or youth leaders looking for inspiring courses for their charges could look at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/education or www.learn4real.co.uk