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Dear GEM members,
 
Please find below the March 08 update on developments with the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto and the Heritage Sector Partnership.  
 
Overview
 
The “Out and About” package is now nearing completion and the “How To” guidance along with some initial CPD modules will be launched at the end of May 2008.
 
Some important facts to note about the “How To” guidance are that it will incorporate a review of HASPEV and it is intended that HASPEV as a separate entity will be phased out from the launch of the new “How To” guidance.  This will contribute to reducing bureaucracy for schools organising learning outside the classroom.
 
The “How To” guidance will incorporate links to other resources and guidance on LOtC as well as case studies to illustrate good practice and planning.  Through interviews with all 900+ Manifesto signatories, CfBT are currently mapping what resources and case studies exist to make sure they are included in the “How To” guidance.
 
The CPD modules of the “Out and About” package are largely aimed at teachers and visit leaders, but some can be adapted for use by learning professionals at provider organisations and learning providers should seek to support teacher’s CPD modules where possible – perhaps by providing placement opportunities at a museum or archive.
 
All materials in the “Out and About” package will be available as downloadable resources.
 
The structure of the Quality Badge scheme was outlined in the previous newsletter and an initial mention was made of the quality criteria that would underpin both routes to the badge.  These criteria and ultimately, sub-sections within those criteria, will need to be met by an organisation if it is to sign up to the Route 1 Code of Practice.  Those quality criteria as they currently stand are:
 
A provider:
Has a process in place to plan the learning experience effectively (Pre visit)
Provides accurate information about its offer (Pre visit)
Provides activities, experience or resources which meet learner needs (During the visit)
Reviews the experience & acts upon feedback (Post visit)
Meets the needs of users (Organisational)
6.   Safety indicator(s) to be added …
 
The Quality Badge is designed to ensure that strong processes are in place for organisations to deliver learning.  It is not designed to measure the quality of the learning experience.  Some organisations will not have or ever be in a position to have those processes in place due to a lack of infrastructure, resources and staff.  Schools will still be actively encouraged to visit this type of site in the “How To” guidance, but these sites will not be classed as “provider” organisations and will hence not be required to be badged.  However, the majority of learning providers are organisations that do have processes in place (some more sophisticated than others) for delivering learning.  Applying for the badge and receiving the support for developing learning provision that this entails could actually unlock the learning potential of many organisations.  
 
It is expected that the badge will not be awarded to individuals or agencies facilitating LOtC visits and bodies which oversee a number of sites will have to apply for badges for individual sites.
 
Testing of the prototype badge scheme will commence shortly with the aim of launching the badge scheme in September and then becoming operational the following January.
 
It is hoped that the Quality Badge for Route 1 will cost around £100 and organisations will probably need to apply for the badge every two years to ensure that they still deliver learning to the desired standard.  It is likely that between 10-20% of organisations applying for the badge through Route 1 will be randomly assessed.
 
Planning for the independent LOtC Council continues and it is anticipated that it will be operational in September 08.  A consultation questionnaire on the structure and function of the Council will be sent out to every Manifesto signatory in the next few weeks.  It is intended that the set up costs of the Council and the running costs for the initial period of operation will be provided by DCSF.  
 
As these resources are being developed and tested, Manifesto signatories are being invited to feedback on their relevance and effectiveness through a series of consultations and surveys.  If you believe in the principle of encouraging and making accessible more experiential learning for young people, please sign the Manifesto and take part in this important process.
 
The Communications Working Group (CWG) met on 26 March 08 to review the communications strategy and achievements so far.  A new communications plan is now being developed and key audiences such as teachers, head teachers and senior management, governors, directors of children’s services and decision-makers within the heritage and other sectors will be prioritized.  Band & Brown, the PR agency, continue to generate local and national press coverage of LOtC activities from across all sectors.  Thank you to those of you who have contributed case studies for this purpose.
 
For more information on the LOtC Manifesto, please visit:
http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/teachingandlearning/resourcematerials/outsideclassroom/
 
 
HSP Activity
 
What has been happening in March:
 
Heritage Sector LOtC Conference – Learning Outside the Classroom: A turning point in heritage education took place on Friday 14 March at the Bishopsgate Institute in London.
The conference notes will shortly be available on the GEM website or please contact the HSP coordinator directly for a copy:  [log in to unmask]
  
Collecting case studies – All of the case studies collected by the HSP have been included in its informal study of learning provision in the heritage sector.  The HSP remains interested in collecting case studies and if you would like to submit one please contact the HSP coordinator.
 
HSP PR and Communications Activity – We continue to raise the profile of the Manifesto through the placement of articles and information in sector publications, newsletters and on websites.  If you would like to include information or an article on LOtC or the Manifesto specifically, in your publications, please contact the HSP coordinator.  
 
HSP Meeting - The HSP met on 20 March 08.  Attendees discussed the work of the HSP since the last meeting in December 07 and reviewed the draft report for the DCSF.  The HSP received an update from Peter Carne, Manifesto Champion, on the implementation of the Manifesto Action Plan (much of which has been summarized above).  Finally, it was agreed that the HSP its work supporting and informing the heritage sector with regard to LOtC.  The HSP is now in the process of finalizing its action plan post-31 March 08.
 
The Heritage Sector Network – You are receiving this email as a member of the heritage sector network.  This is a network of interested organisations, individuals and smaller networks through which a free flow of information surrounding LOtC in the heritage sector can be established.  The network now has over 100 contacts, but we would like to keep building on this so if you know someone who would like to be part of it, please ask them to email [log in to unmask] and we will ensure that they receive the next copy of the newsletter.
 
If you do not wish to receive updates on the LOtC Manifesto and the work of the HSP, please advise Fenella Hunt by email to [log in to unmask] and we will ensure that your details are removed from the contact list.
 
Wishing you all the very best.
 
Kind regards,
 
Fenella Hunt
Heritage Coordinator 
Learning Outside the Classroom 
GEM Office
131 Trafalgar Street
Gillingham
Kent
ME7 4RP
Tel/Fax: 01634 853424
Mob: 07950 325 603
[log in to unmask]
www.gem.org.uk
 

 
Fenella Hunt
Heritage Coordinator 
Learning Outside the Classroom 
GEM Office
131 Trafalgar Street
Gillingham
Kent
ME7 4RP
Tel/Fax: 01634 853424
Mob: 07950 325 603
[log in to unmask]
www.gem.org.uk