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2 Mar 2023

Wild places help narrow East Ayrshire’s poverty-related attainment gap

Celebrating achievements from a six year John Muir Award partnership between East Ayrshire Council and John Muir Trust.

East Ayrshire summary report with logos

From spring 2017 to 2023, a partnership between East Ayrshire Council and John Muir Trust created a dedicated role focused on the John Muir Award as an intervention to help close the poverty-related attainment gap.

The role formed part of the Learning Outdoor Support Team (LOST), a strategic education support service working across the local authority and delivering benefits for young people, educators, families and wild places.

In the first two years, the partnership generated nearly a 300 per cent increase in John Muir Award activity across East Ayrshire. Each year, 33 per cent of John Muir Awards were achieved by pupils from East Ayrshire’s most deprived communities, with a total of 3,767 young people, educators and families achieving a John Muir Award during the course of the partnership. Through their experiences, participants dedicated over 30,000 hours to taking action for wild places.

The key achievements are summarised in new report, which includes links to case studies and evaluation reports from the partnership. The report demonstrates the reach of the Award across the local authority, the difference made for both people and their local wild places, and the confidence and capacity built through an approach of tailored support, training and team teaching.

East Ayrshire summary report

East Ayrshire Council Education Officer Willie White was positive about collaborating with the John Muir Trust and our Award: “Throughout the partnership, every school in East Ayrshire has benefitted by better engaging children and young people through learning in their real world communities, challenging and supporting teachers to teach differently in novel natural settings, building their competence, confidence and capacity.”

Toby Clark, the Trust’s John Muir Award Scotland Manager, said: “We’re delighted with the partnership and this report. It demonstrates the educational benefits that can be realised when people are given the freedom to enjoy wild places. We know that nature connection is not only good for people, it also inspires people to advocate and take action for our wild places.”

Cotton flowers - David Lintern

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