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Outdoor Learning Grant

Outdoor Learning Grant

May 2024 Update

The Outdoor Learning Grant is currently closed. We hope to reopen this later in the academic year. We shall announce this on our newsletter which you can sign up for at the bottom of the page.

Our National Express Partnership can be used throughout the year without access to the Outdoor Learning Grant. You can find out more information about this towards the end of the page.

What does the Outdoor Learning Grant cover?

Schools visiting the South Downs National Park may be able to benefit from our Outdoor Learning Grant. This can help with the costs of a trip by contributing towards the transport and learning providers fees.

Schools and Colleges can apply for a grant of up to £750 towards the costs of a school trip with an education provider*, or for a self-led visit, in the South Downs National Park. Please note it does not cover visits to a school in the South Downs National Park.


  • All state-funded schools and colleges with 10% or more pupils eligible for Free School Meals, are eligible to apply for the grant. We use the “Get information about schools service” as our data source to confirm percentage of Free School Meals. Please see the table below for possible funding options.
FSM % Total travel costs possible Total provider cost possible TOTAL
10-19% £300 £250 £550
20% or more £500 £250 £750


  • Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. If your application is successful, you will be sent an email to confirm the grant. We aim to respond within ten working days.
  • Each school is eligible for one grant before the end of March 2025
  • Visits and trips can take place during term-time or the school holidays and must have been taken before the end of March 2025.

The grants are administered and funded by the South Downs National Park Authority, with additional funding from the South Downs National Park Trust. 

*The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) administers these grants to help schools connect with education sites and providers. The SDNPA bears no responsibility for the services provided by these organisations and schools are responsible for checking appropriate safety standards and liability insurance when using an outside organisation and should follow the government guidance at when planning any educational visits.

How do I apply?

  • Check at the top of the page to see if the grant is open.
  • Choose a site to visit and/or agree a provisional date with a learning provider and get quotes for provider costs and/or travel costs. Use our directory to help find a site or provider.
  • If you are conducting a self-led visit, use our guide to see whether your planned location is in the park.
  • Plan your transport for school trips. See more information below.

Sustainable Travel

We have reserved 10% of the total grant this year from schools that choose the travel sustainably to their chosen site. Sustainable travel may include walking, cycling or going on the train. Your travel claim can include costs of (for example) bike hire, and additional staff to support bike rides or walks. If you are interested in using sustainable travel but are unsure the best way, please contact your learning provider who will be more than happy to help.

NEW: Subsidised Coach Travel – National Express

We’ve teamed up with National Express to offer affordable, reliable and comfortable school transportation to over 100 of the South Downs National Park attractions. The Lucketts Group, part of National Express Transport Solutions, are proud to be partnered with South Downs National Park to offer local schools affordable and reliable coach hire from as little as £295*.

Simply visit the National Express travel solutions website with your requirements and they’ll be in touch to arrange your school trip coach hire booking. 

Benefits of the Outdoor Learning Grant:

  • Increased time spent in outdoor spaces will benefit mental health and wellbeing
  • Access to larger-scale landscapes like National Parks is an important part of our connection to, and relationship with, nature
  • Pupils who participate in adventure learning interventions make approximately four additional months’ progress. (According to the Education Endowment Fund Learning toolkit, with the exception of smaller class sizes, this has the largest influence on academic attainment of all interventions.

    Keep in contact

    Subscribe to our Schools Newsletter for regular updates on grants such as these, offers and learning opportunities across the National Park.


    "The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."