Consultation is now CLOSED
In Leicestershire we believe that children and young people should have access to the best learning opportunities, delivered through a rich and varied curriculum.
Learning outside the classroom, including outdoor adventurous and residential experiences, can make a significant contribution to each child’s learning and development.
The provision of outdoor and residential education serves to enhance the curriculum offered to children and young people. In Leicestershire the Outdoor and Residential Learning Centres have to operate on a self-financing basis, that is to say their sole source of income comes from charging for services. The provision for children and young people is subsidised by income from hosting other events such as training & conferences.
Currently the County Council operates three Centres;
Two of these buildings are listed as they have significant historical importance. The County Council is committed to save £79 million in the next four years and to do so we must look carefully at the services we provide to ensure that, in changing economic circumstances, they remain viable.
A consultation took place from Monday 3rd October 2011 through to Friday 23rd December 2011 to consider, in terms of the Outdoor and Residential Learning Service, whether, given the current level of use by schools and other organisations and the costs for maintaining each property, we can continue to operate these Centres in the same way as we do now.
Following the wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders, a report detailing the findings will be presented to the County Council Cabinet early in 2012, to enable a decision on the way forward to be agreed. A summary of the consultation responses is now available and will also advise schools and key stakeholders of the decision.
The Outdoor and Residential Learning Service is currently provided principally through three Centres.
Aberglaslyn Hall is situated in Snowdonia, accommodates up to 48 people and offers a range of adventurous activities (e.g. mountain walking, abseiling, rock climbing, gorge walking, mountain biking) as well as field study courses such as geography and ecology. It is used mainly by Leicestershire schools and youth groups
The Centre at Beaumanor comprises two elements; the Park and the Hall. The Park has residential cabins for 106 people and camping facilities for a further 45. Programmes of activity include climbing, archery, abseiling, orienteering, environmental and field studies. There are also a range of educational day programmes, including a Victorian School, World War II, and other theme days, and provision for very young children. The Hall, which is a listed building, provides training and conference facilities, and hosts weddings, social and civic events. Leicestershire schools and youth groups use the day and residential programme extensively
Quorn Hall, as an International Centre, provides residential accommodation for European students as well as offering day and residential programmes to local schools. It accommodates 120 visitors and offers a range of activities such as canoeing, raft-building, climbing, and kayaking. Quorn Hall, also a listed building, provides training and meeting facilities.
In addition the Service provides outreach adventurous activities in schools (e.g. the mobile climbing wall, abseiling, archery). All activities for school and youth groups are closely linked to curricular requirements and run by qualified and experienced leaders.
During the financial year 2010/2011, visitor numbers to the three Centres amounted to 39,000 children and young people and 35,600 adults
Leicestershire County Council has provided opportunities for outdoor and residential learning for fifty years. The County Council, recognising its importance to children and young people, has, until recently, subsidised the Service. Without this subsidy and in view of the changing economic climate the Service is finding it very difficult to run on a self-financing basis.
In 2010/2011 financial year, the combined net loss of the three Centres amounted to £410,000. The County Council therefore needs to consider ways of reducing costs. Property related costs are a significant component of the overall costs.
Reducing property costs could make the service sustainable. There are a number of ways that this could be done:
- Closure of one or more Centre(s).
Should one or more Centre(s) close, the services could be concentrated in the remaining Centre(s)
- Transfer of one or more Centre(s) to an external provider.
An external partner may run one or more Centre(s) if this can be shown to be financially sustainable.
There may be other options and the County Council is interested to hear your views.
No decision has yet been taken as to how we may proceed. However, it is clear that the County Council can no longer financially support these Centres and each must be able to meet its full running costs. Therefore making no change to our centres is not an option that can be considered.
We recognise that Centres take bookings well in advance. It is our intention to ensure that such bookings are honoured, and any changes that might be agreed are handled sensitively and cause minimum disruption to users.
It is difficult to be precise about when any changes might take effect as this will depend on the decision taken by the County Council after the closure of the consultation process. If, after consultation, the County Council agrees to make changes, we will ensure that users are given as much notification as possible.
A Summary of Consultation Responses (PDF, 560k)
Service Manager of the Outdoor and Residential Learning Service
Senior Service Manager, Extended Services, Children and Young People’s Service.
Page Last Updated: 16 May 2013