NEW Government plans for national parks promise to give every schoolchild the chance to visit these great outdoor spaces.

Under plans announced by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss, every schoolchild will have the chance to visit national parks at each stage of their education.

As research revealed that only 10 per cent of schoolchildren have access to outdoor learning, the plan aims to engage young people from primary school onwards, as well as doubling the number of youth volunteers in national parks as part of the National Citizen Service.

The Government is also developing a new apprenticeship standard and aims to double apprenticeships in national parks by 2020.

In Northumberland National Park, work is already well under way to engage children in its educational programme.

Its New Naturalist programme aims to give young people the opportunity to gain practical experience in a range of skills connected to exploring and discovering the natural environment within the Park. Participants receive the nationally-acclaimed John Muir Award.

And the Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA) has recently partnered with Broomley First School to deliver an after school club with a difference.

The park’s engagement officer, Caroline Cope, worked with reception teacher Anna Gray to develop a six-week activity programme for children in years three and four.

Activities included map reading, orienteering, a field trip to Walltown Quarry Country Park and wildflower identification.

Northumberland National Park chairman Coun. Glen Sanderson said: “I’m delighted to see education at the very heart of the Government’s plan for national parks.

“Here at Northumberland National Park, we have long been committed to engaging with schools, colleges and universities to ensure students of all ages have the opportunity to learn and be inspired by our unique landscape and heritage."