Policy development of outdoor education in Scotland
Baker, Mark William
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The advent of the Scottish ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ created a new paradigm of outdoor education. The term ‘outdoor learning’ found more common parlance as a reflection of contemporary discourse with renewed focus on curricular breadth and progression in outdoor education. This thesis examines these changes through the lens of educational policy analysis. The study bridges the gaps between literature in the fields of outdoor education, public policy making and curriculum theory to present a broad and historical analysis of the processes for the policy development of outdoor learning in Scotland. The methodological approach is grounded in the philosophy of pragmatism, and combines desk based research with data analysis of thirteen interviews with key policy actors. The findings identify health as an early policy driver and a prelude to later policy agendas including ‘character training’, work and employment. The processes for change in outdoor education policy are influenced by ‘galvanising events’ and via a ‘policy corridor’ of outdoor education advocates. Post Scottish devolution, the work of advisory groups has been a key influence in resolving what is identified as a ‘policy squeeze’ on outdoor learning. The research has implications for effective lobbying and understanding the processes for policy growth in outdoor learning.