Proposed changes to Cornwall Outdoors

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Consultation has concluded

Cornwall Outdoors is part of Cornwall Council’s Education Service. It provides outdoor learning opportunities to schools and youth groups for curricular and extra-curricular activities.

Cornwall Outdoors operates three outdoor education centres across Cornwall:

  • Carnyorth, West Cornwall
  • Porthpean, Mid/South Cornwall
  • Delaware, East Cornwall and
  • A summer outdoor experience camp is run at Pelistry, St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly.

The sites are mainly used by Cornwall schools between 1st April and 31st July and offer a range of outdoor education activities, residential courses and off-site sessions for outdoor leadership and adventurous training courses for adults and leaders throughout Cornwall.

Outdoor education centres are an integral part of supporting high quality education and learning. Cornwall Council does not have a statutory duty to provide outdoor education but wants provision to be available in Cornwall.

Changes in the funding landscape for education have made it more challenging for local authorities to maintain outdoor education centres. As public sector funding levels are reduced, and education budgets are redirected from Councils to schools Cornwall Council can’t afford to subsidise the provision of outdoor education and carry the financial risks.

The financial impact of COVID-19 is being felt nationally across all areas of outdoor learning as documented in the sector report May 2020. Cornwall Outdoors is no exception. This has made it necessary to prioritise decision making on the future of Cornwall Outdoors.

Our Proposals

The Council is not in a financial position to maintain the current provision of outdoor education sites. We are proposing to cease operating our services at all Cornwall Outdoors sites by 31 July 2022.

We will aim to find an alternative provider to take over the delivery of our Cornwall Outdoors service. To maximise the opportunity for an alternative provider to be able to maintain a viable and sustainable outdoor education offer, we propose to end provision of outdoor education at the Delaware, Carnyorth and Pelistry sites. This will allow the service in future to be focused on the Porthpean site.

The Outdoor Education site at Porthpean offers the most scope for maintaining and developing a varied outdoor education offer as well as commercial opportunities to generate income to support the operation of the site. Currently, some income is already generated by making the site available to youth groups and local families during the summer holiday period and out of peak time activities. By contrast, the Delaware and Carnyorth sites are old Victorian buildings with significant ongoing maintenance costs. Both sites are not generating sufficient income to support their operation. The lease of the Pelistry camp site is due to come to an end in 2023.

  • These proposals mean that the status of bookings of our sites for the 2022 summer term will be able to proceed.
  • The proposals for Delaware, Carnyorth and Pelistry sites to be closed will reduce the opportunities for formal outdoor education in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
  • Our aim is to find an alternative provider to continue operating the Porthpean site for outdoor education purposes. However, if we are unable to find an alternative provider willing to operate the site, we may have to close the site permanently.

We would like to hear from schools and youth groups in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to understand how our proposals impact on their ability to continue offering outdoor education.

Although the focus of our consultation is on schools and groups who are using the Cornwall Outdoors service, we also welcome views on our proposals from residents, businesses, local councils and other organisations.

The consultation closed on 9 January 2022. We have reviewed the feedback to help inform our plans. Plans for the future of Cornwall Outdoors were agreed at the meeting of Cornwall Council's Cabinet in March 2022.

Cornwall Outdoors is part of Cornwall Council’s Education Service. It provides outdoor learning opportunities to schools and youth groups for curricular and extra-curricular activities.

Cornwall Outdoors operates three outdoor education centres across Cornwall:

  • Carnyorth, West Cornwall
  • Porthpean, Mid/South Cornwall
  • Delaware, East Cornwall and
  • A summer outdoor experience camp is run at Pelistry, St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly.

The sites are mainly used by Cornwall schools between 1st April and 31st July and offer a range of outdoor education activities, residential courses and off-site sessions for outdoor leadership and adventurous training courses for adults and leaders throughout Cornwall.

Outdoor education centres are an integral part of supporting high quality education and learning. Cornwall Council does not have a statutory duty to provide outdoor education but wants provision to be available in Cornwall.

Changes in the funding landscape for education have made it more challenging for local authorities to maintain outdoor education centres. As public sector funding levels are reduced, and education budgets are redirected from Councils to schools Cornwall Council can’t afford to subsidise the provision of outdoor education and carry the financial risks.

The financial impact of COVID-19 is being felt nationally across all areas of outdoor learning as documented in the sector report May 2020. Cornwall Outdoors is no exception. This has made it necessary to prioritise decision making on the future of Cornwall Outdoors.

Our Proposals

The Council is not in a financial position to maintain the current provision of outdoor education sites. We are proposing to cease operating our services at all Cornwall Outdoors sites by 31 July 2022.

We will aim to find an alternative provider to take over the delivery of our Cornwall Outdoors service. To maximise the opportunity for an alternative provider to be able to maintain a viable and sustainable outdoor education offer, we propose to end provision of outdoor education at the Delaware, Carnyorth and Pelistry sites. This will allow the service in future to be focused on the Porthpean site.

The Outdoor Education site at Porthpean offers the most scope for maintaining and developing a varied outdoor education offer as well as commercial opportunities to generate income to support the operation of the site. Currently, some income is already generated by making the site available to youth groups and local families during the summer holiday period and out of peak time activities. By contrast, the Delaware and Carnyorth sites are old Victorian buildings with significant ongoing maintenance costs. Both sites are not generating sufficient income to support their operation. The lease of the Pelistry camp site is due to come to an end in 2023.

  • These proposals mean that the status of bookings of our sites for the 2022 summer term will be able to proceed.
  • The proposals for Delaware, Carnyorth and Pelistry sites to be closed will reduce the opportunities for formal outdoor education in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
  • Our aim is to find an alternative provider to continue operating the Porthpean site for outdoor education purposes. However, if we are unable to find an alternative provider willing to operate the site, we may have to close the site permanently.

We would like to hear from schools and youth groups in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to understand how our proposals impact on their ability to continue offering outdoor education.

Although the focus of our consultation is on schools and groups who are using the Cornwall Outdoors service, we also welcome views on our proposals from residents, businesses, local councils and other organisations.

The consultation closed on 9 January 2022. We have reviewed the feedback to help inform our plans. Plans for the future of Cornwall Outdoors were agreed at the meeting of Cornwall Council's Cabinet in March 2022.

  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Please complete our short questionnaire to give your views on our proposals for Cornwall Outdoors. This survey will close on 9 January 2022.


    Privacy Notice 

    The information you provide will be used to inform our decision making about the future of Cornwall Outdoors and our outdoor education centres. 

    The Data Controller for the information you provide in this survey is Cornwall Council, New County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro TR1 3AY. Data Protection Registration Number: Z1745294. Once the survey has closed, your data will be held within Cornwall Council’s secure network and premises for up to 2 years. Where we ask you to supply personal data on this form, we will only make access to this data available to authorised members of staff who are required to process it for the purposes outlined in this privacy notice. Please note that other information you provide, such as responses to open questions, may be published in full.


    Consultation has concluded
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