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Launch day for our new website is here, and it gives me tremendous pride to introduce Active Learning Centres (ALC), the new brand from Active Learning Group (ALG), designed to deliver a truly progressive, age-appropriate outdoor education journey for students.

Since acquiring Cuffley Active Learning Centre in 2019 and re-opening – fully refurbished – in 2020, schools are experiencing greater demand than ever to develop rounded young people with the skillsets to support them in an uncertain future. Such character development finds a home in outdoor education and residential trips. We take this one step further by specialising in use of the natural environment when planning activities, menus and accommodation, delivering an experience that is unique to the local landscape.

It’s fair to say that Covid caused immense challenges for the outdoor education sector and, sadly, a number of centres were unable to reopen once social restrictions were lifted in 2021. In turn, this created an opportunity and at the end of 2021 – with the backing of our owners, Cognita Schools – we were fortunate to secure the futures of two outdoor activity centres in stunning locations: Sealyham in Pembrokeshire and The Towers in North Wales. As a former teacher myself, I could immediately see the combined potential of all three sites and I was therefore, delighted to accept the role of Managing Director for the newly created Active Learning Centres.

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Sealyham and The Towers bring exciting new activities to our breadth of programmes and, critically, enable us to run a truly progressive, age-appropriate programme for schools for the first time. From forest school, low and high ropes and the climbing wall at our woodlands site, Cuffley, to more arduous activities such as coasteering and canoeing at Sealyham, right through to orienteering, mountaineering and gorge-walking programmes for older students at The Towers. Our partnership with Skills Builder allows us to work directly with schools to identify any gaps in skills among students and design courses and programmes to fit the needs of that student group.

Underpinning all of our activity programmes is a management and instructor team who really understand the importance of essential skills, character and wellbeing in students. It’s vital that these three factors remain central to the brand, our centres, their programmes and each individual’s Active Learning experience – be that the visiting student, teacher or staff member.

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For all of us at ALC, it is important that a sense of connection to nature and self is discovered through our experiences

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For many students, getting outdoors is the best way to encourage a positive sense of wellbeing. Our instructors regularly receive feedback from students to say that the physical activity, fresh air and sense of purpose they find through taking on new challenges or working with peers, is incredibly rewarding.

We recognise the power of outdoor education in creating memories, deepening friendships and instilling new-found confidence and curiosity. It is our hope that we continue to achieve this for many more young people across the UK, and support future generations in their love for the outdoors and natural environment.

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Opening dates:
The Towers is anticipated to open in Autumn 2022, and Sealyham in 2023.

Pat Milston | 26 January 2022
Author bio / 
Pat has over 35 years experience of in delivering, designing and managing outdoor learning experiences for young people. Never happier than working to develop individuals and building high performing teams, his passion for the outdoors is reflected in his mission to make every Active Learning Centre experience special. In his spare time, Pat loves to explore the mountains of the UK and further afield.