A qualified primary teacher, Alison has 24 years of education experience in a variety of settings – from teaching, running a research project, managing an out of school care project, and as Education Manager with the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET). All of her roles have involved her need to get children outdoors, providing good quality learning opportunities from 3-18 in a practical, hands on basis.
Outside of work she is keen to be outdoors too – walking, biking or helping out with the Duke of Edinburgh award at her children’s high school. An avid reader, books are demolished on a regular basis. Experimenting with recipes also rates highly on her list of things to do with a special focus on great Scottish produce – a definite product of working with farmers in a previous life.
Steve has extensive experience of working with early years settings, primary and secondary schools to transform and use their spaces. Over ten years he has facilitated an extensive range of GfL projects giving him valuable insight into how schools work and what support they need.
He brings 14 years solid project management experience working with schools and the community to enhance their environment. He has worked for BTCV (the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) developing and implementing conservation programmes with volunteers and for Groundwork where he led several community regeneration programmes.
Steve places strong emphasis on the participation of children in his projects and has two young children of his own.
Ágota is a landscape architect with experience in designing and contract managing natural play spaces for children and came to Grounds for Learning from a local authority. Working with natural materials is of great importance for her, thus promoting sustainability with her designs as well as creating areas for free play or outdoor learning. As an experienced willow artist, she creates structural and artistic living features from willow. Her portfolio includes a High Commendation Award on the Scottish Civic Trust My Place Competition given for the design and community involvement in the creation of a natural play area in New Lanark.
Ágota started working with children as a scout leader about 12 years ago and has been promoting the importance of connecting people to nature since then. She enjoys working holidays and helps a charity by organizing and taking part in voluntary construction camps in order to develop natural community places in deeply deprived areas. Out of working hours she is inseparable from her bike, likes walking the unbeaten mountain tracks or gathers wild growing herbs and fruits.
Clare joins us from RSPB and the Glasgow Science Centre, where she gained wide experience of taking children outdoors, and enthusing about science. A qualified secondary teacher and Forest Schools practitioner, Clare picks up the baton of our Natural Play Project.
Clare is often up early - either with her two small children, or trying to see the elusive Capercallie or other wildlife in thier natural habitat.
Lorna is an experienced early years practitioner, who holds a Forest School Level 2 qualification. Currently on secondment to Grounds for Learning, Lorna's previous roles include being a key worker in a busy nursery, peripatetic support for children with complex additional needs and a child-minder from home. A recognition of her dedication to taking play outside at every possible moment, Lorna became early years 'outdoor champion' within East Ayrshire local authority.
Lorna also finds time to train and compete (with great success) in triathlon at a national level.
Meg is an experienced administrator and has a long-standing interest in youth work [through Girl guiding Scotland], gardening and wildlife. She is an accomplished musician, playing the clarsach, fiddle, piano, organ, flute – and more – and has helped us to develop different ways of using outdoor spaces and materials to enjoy and make music. .
A qualified secondary science teacher, Matt brings a depth of understanding to our training programmes. A passion for introducing young people and children to real adventures and exploring nature has driven his work in outdoor centres for over 15 years. Matt also taught in a number of schools in Sheffield and Rotherham, honing his classroom management skills and reasons to teach outside whenever possible.
Matt leads much of our INSET and long term training courses, writing programmes and avoiding powerpoint where possible. Most recently he has been researching play in Secondary schools and passing his IOSH Managing Safely course. As the resident geek, Matt also looks after much of our social media and GfL newsletter.
When not at work, you will likely find Matt and his three boys canoeing the local river, or disappearing into the hills on a bike.
As part of LTL, GfL is governed by the LTL board of trustees. We have an active and highly respected Scottish board member in David Cameron, formerly Director of Children's Services for Stirling Council and president of the Association of Directors of Education of Scotland. David chaired the Scottish Government’s Outdoor Connections Advisory group, is involved in writing guidance for Curriculum for Excellence and chairs the Scottish National Parents Forum.
GfL is currently establishing an Advisory Group to support the development of our work in Scotland. Comprising respected representatives from the fields of play, education, nature, early years, health, disability and child development, this group assists our work by: