Summerhill at top of the class for educational visits

Keith Carter, Adam Reah and Marc Donnelly from Summerhill.
Keith Carter, Adam Reah and Marc Donnelly from Summerhill.

A COUNTRY park in Hartlepool is proving itself to be at the top of the class for educational visits after scooping a nationally-recognised quality mark.

Summerhill, the 100-acre site run by Hartlepool Borough Council, has been awarded a Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge from the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.

The accolade is official recognition of the quality of outdoor activities provided at Summerhill and the commitment of staff to safety.

Adam Reah, the council’s outdoor activities o-ordinator, said: “Being awarded the LOtC Quality Badge is a real coup for all of us here at Summerhill as it shows that we offer young people the type of high-quality outdoor activity learning experiences they really benefit from.

“We’re thrilled to get official recognition for our efforts and we hope it will prompt more local schools and colleges to take advantage of our services.”

Councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of the council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “I’d like to congratulate the Outdoor Activity Team at Summerhill on achieving this award, and I would urge schools and colleges in the area to get in touch to find out how their pupils and students could benefit from visiting the site and taking part in activities.”

Summerhill offers a range of activities, including cycling, archery, orienteering, and climbing.

The LOtC Quality Badge was launched in 2009 as part of the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto, a national initiative to ensure young people are given more opportunities to experience high-quality educational visits.

Beth Gardner, chief executive of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, said: “Educational visits are among the most memorable experiences of a child’s school life.

“The LOtC Quality Badge offers teachers a guarantee that not only is a venue providing the sort of educational value that they can build on in class long after a visit, but it also has appropriate risk management 
structures in place.”

For more details of the opportunities available at Summerhill, schools and colleges should call (01429) 284584.