About Learning Away

The Team


The current Learning Away team are responsible for the ‘campaigning’ phase of Learning Away, this team are forever indebted to the first ‘action research’ phase team, which included the dedication and expertise of a wide-ranging group of people.  Find out more about these people in the background pages.  This group included the Learning Away coordinators and participating staff at all the partner schools, their continued commitment to extending and developing their residential offers, engaging with the evaluation, and sharing what they learned through a period of significant national change was inspiring and we are delighted so many Learning Away brilliant residentials continue to take place.

Peter Carne OBE, Learning Away Adviser

Peter Carne was a teacher of Geography at two London comprehensive schools from 1976 to 1990. For five years he was seconded to the Inverliever Lodge Trust to manage its residential centre on the banks of Loch Awe in Scotland.

In 1990, Peter was appointed to set up and manage Greenwich’s Environmental Curriculum Service from its nine acre wildlife centre in south east London. He then worked for Learning through Landscapes (the school grounds charity) from 2000 to 2006, as Head of LTL in London and later as Director of Operations.

From October 2006 to April 2009, Peter was seconded to the DCSF as one of two Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto Champions, responsible for promoting the importance and impact of LOtC with a variety of partners and key stakeholders and across government. He joined Learning Away as Project Leader in 2011 for the ‘action research’ phase of the project.

Peter was awarded an OBE in the 2010 New Year Honours List (for services to education).

Kim Somerville, Learning Away Campaign Coordinator

Kim Somerville holds an MA in Applied Research Consultancy from Lancaster University and a Professional Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Kim’s early career began in a Market Research Agency working for a range of national clients. She subsequently became the Marketing Manager at Leeds University Union, one of the largest Students’ Unions in the country and a charity with 30,000 student members. The role had a strong focus on coordinating campaigns to help to improve the student experience and enhance the Union facilities.

From August 2007 – May 2016 Kim was the Director of Marketing & Communications at Leeds Trinity University, with responsibility for a range of campaigns to grow student applications and enhance the reputation of a new university in national and international markets. A large proportion of the role included working in partnership with schools to raise aspirations and progression to university and included setting up the Leeds Children’s University.

Kim joined Learning Away in May 2016 to develop, launch and implement a national campaign to promote the compelling findings from the first phase of the Learning Away Programme and encourage more schools to develop Brilliant Residentials.

Contact: kim.somerville@lotc.org.uk

Elaine Skates, Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC), Chief Executive

CLOtC are the lead organisation on the Learning Away Consortium and Elaine has led the Learning Away project since January 2016.

Elaine Skates joined CLOtC in 2009 as Head of Operations and Communications, before being promoted first to Deputy Chief Executive and then to Chief Executive from August 2014. Highlights of her career at CLOtC so far include writing and implementing the communications strategy; developing training and resources to support curriculum delivery; working to ensure the inclusion of LOtC opportunities in the new national curriculum; and launching and developing CLOtC’s membership scheme as a core funding stream and product which today delivers support for over 800 schools, organisations and individuals.

Before joining CLOtC in 2009, Elaine worked for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and the Institution of Chemical Engineers. She has a degree in English from the University of Wales, Swansea, and a love of history and motorbike racing!

Elaine is a passionate believer in the benefits of learning outside the classroom in raising attainment and giving young people the skills they need for real life and employment. Elaine also sits on the Board of Governors at Abbots Farm Infant School (formerly Chair) and the management committee of Rugby Gymnastics Club.

Dr Chris Loynes, Research Working Group

During the first action research phase of Learning Away Dr Chris Loynes was the adviser to partner schools in the North. He is now leading the Learning Away research working group making the most of the existing Learning Away and other data sets, reporting on relevant new research and encouraging and initiating new research.

Chris is a senior lecturer in Outdoor Studies at the University of Cumbria. He also consults in the UK and internationally for universities and experiential education organisations. He has recently been involved in evaluating several national projects that work in the outdoors and developing outdoor and creative arts programmes for youth and adults concerned with personal transformation. Currently he is exploring the application of outdoor, experiential approaches to raising issues of sustainability.

His first post at a comprehensive school involved the development of an outdoor education programme as an alternative curriculum. He moved on to lead the Brathay Hall’s Youth Development Programme. During this time he undertook a Churchill Fellowship to study outdoor leadership training world wide. He was the founder and editor of the Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Leadership, the field’s professional journal, from 1980-2000. In 1987 he founded and managed Adventure Education, a training and publishing service for the outdoor education field.

As well as the voluntary youth sector and the outdoor education fields Chris has consulted in the education, aeronautical, hospitality, telecommunications and chemical industries. He has published widely in professional journals and conference proceedings. His PhD is a critical ethnographic study exploring the ways in which knowledge and power work within an outdoor experiential learning course.

Chris is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a keen naturalist, mountaineer, offshore sailor and sea kayaker.

Siân Williams, CPD Working Group

During the first ‘action research’ phase of Learning Away Siân Willians was the adviser to partner schools in the South. She now leads the Learning Away Continuing Professional Development (CPD) working group identifying and developing more resources to support schools to run brilliant residentials.

Siân was a teacher, head of department and head of year in inner London secondary schools from 1992 – 2002, during which time she participated in and ran a variety of school residentials.  In 2002 she gained her Masters in School Effectiveness and School Improvement, which focussed on the change to student-teacher relationships and engagement through learning on a residential programme.

Siân joined Lewisham local authority in south London in 2002 as part of the Excellence in Cities team, coordinating the Learning Mentor and Learning Support Unit initiatives across the borough for two years. She then led on a variety of programmes for the Children and Young People’s Directorate including anti-bullying, social and emotional learning, behaviour improvement and school safety, as well as the local authority’s highly regarded work to implement and embed the use of restorative practice with young people.

Siân became a freelance educational adviser and trainer in 2010, when she joined Learning Away. From 2010-2012 she was Head of Support for the National Youth Orchestra, where she organised and ran two-week residentials for 165 young people three times a year. Siân is also the Principal Consultant for Thorsborne and Associates UK, a company specialising in training and advising organisations in restorative practice, and in facilitating restorative conferences. She currently shares her time between working in the UK and her own Learning Away experience in Malawi.




  • Photography: Photography used across the site is a mix of submitted images from schools and specially commissioned photography by Emile Holba.
  • Filming: Films used are a mix of footage submitted by schools and students and commissioned films by Fig Tree Film and Lottie Davies.
  • Evaluation: With thanks to the two Learning Away evaluation teams: CUREE (Centre for the Use of Research & Evidence in Education) and York Consulting.
  • Resources: Our free resources have been written by participating teachers, and we are grateful for the support of Julie Mountain at Play Learning Life in collating and editing these materials.


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