Dave is currently studying for a PhD looking at the reach, capacity and potential for outdoor learning. He has been actively involved with teacher training and outdoor learning curriculum development since 2009, working with the IOL to establish the ‘Enabling Outdoor Learning’ INSET programme. Prior to starting his PhD he was Head of Centres for Brathay Trust, leading and managing provision in three residential outdoor centres. Dave is also a leading member of the Institute for Outdoor Learning (LPIOL) and was the National Chair of the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres (AHOEC) from 2012 - 2015.   He was chair of the AHOEC's Gold Standard centre accreditation scheme group from 2015 - 2018.

Qualifications and memberships


  • MA (Education)
  • PGCE (Outdoor Activities)
  • ILM Level 5 Certificate in Leadership and Management
  • Leading Practitioner of the Institute for Outdoor Learning (LPIOL)
  • Various outdoor qualifications


  • IOL
  • British Canoeing

Academic and research interests

I am currrently researching the scale of outdoor learning in Cumbria, developing a progression model onto which provision can be mapped.  The first stage of the project seeks to understand how outdoor learning provision can be measured with a view to application elsewhere.   The second part will aim to understand how context affects the value that individuals attach to concepts and practices of outdoor learning in local communities in Cumbria.


Horizons (Institute for Outdoor Learning):

  • Flying the flag: improving environmental performance in outdoor centres (H46)
  • Using personal goal setting to individualise the outdoor education centre experience (H53)
  • What is Outdoor Learning? (H57)
  • Understanding your Values (H80)
  • Don’t Drown in Change: Preparing for the challenges of introducing an outdoor learning curriculum (H82)
  • Don’t Drown in Change Part 2: Getting Buy-in (H85)

NAHT ‘Leadership Focus’ magazine:

  • Topping up the Resilience Tank – How residential trips to outdoor education centres make a difference
  • The Key Benefits of Outdoor Learning

Education Business Magazine

  • Shaping Citizens in the Great Outdoors
  • Outdoor Learning at School and Beyond
  • Inclusion – Ensuring outdoor learning is key for everyone
  • The Outdoor Learning Approach to Health and Well-being

Recent external roles

APIOL and LPIOL coach (IOL, current)

External evaluation author for the European Network of Outdoor Centres (ENOC) Aesthetics project (ENOC, 2018)

NCS Phase 1 visits, data analysis and report colation (IOL, 2019)

AHOEC Lakes and Northern Region Secretary