The head of Millport’s Field Studies Centre is urging the government to allow school children on residential trips to avoid a ‘catastrophic impact’ on the outdoor sector.

Residential centres across the country have not yet been allowed to welcome pupils for overnight trips as schools continue to adjust to life during the pandemic.

Millport FSC’s head of Centre Alex MacFie says staff at the island facility are ready and waiting to restart much-needed outdoor education for hundreds of pupils.

She said: “Outdoor residential opportunities are an integral part of the Scottish curriculum and provide life changing experiences for vast numbers of children.

“At FSC Millport our outstanding team have made every effort to ensure the centre meets and exceeds the COVID-secure guidelines.

“We are lucky that we can provide sole occupancy, have a dining room with a large capacity, have multiple classrooms with great facilities, and have lots of outdoor space.”

The centre normally welcomes around 14,000 overnight visitors every year, and Alex says a review must be taken quickly to avoid long-term financial damage.

She explained: “The government guidelines currently prevent us from welcoming school children to the beautiful island of Millport and to a COVID-secure centre.

“With no current review date in site, this seems to be short-sighted and will be detrimental to all school pupils in Scotland as well as having a catastrophic impact on the outdoor sector.

“Already huge numbers of centres have begun a redundancy process and many outdoor education centres have closed.

“FSC Millport continues to welcome guests of all ages but we would like to see pupils returning in the short term and hope the government review their guidelines as a matter of urgency.”

Millport FSC is looking for the support of islanders and visitors to sign a petition to encourage Deputy First Minister John Swinney to review the current rules.

You can find the petition at www.change.org/saveyouroutdoorcentres.