A primary school head-teacher has swapped life in the classroom to fulfill his ambition of working in the great outdoors.
Kevin Foster, of Houghton-le-Spring, Tunstall, Sunderland, has left behind 21 years of teaching to start his new residential learning business ‘Explore4All’.
The former headteacher of Sacred Heart Primary School in Fenham, Newcastle, initially invested £10,000 of his own cash in the business when he set up in May last year. He then took his idea to the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) where he was able to develop it with support from business adviser Chris Craig.
Foster, 46, said: “My passion for learning in the outdoors began as a child and every school holiday was spent climbing mountains and canoeing on tarns. There is nothing quite like an outdoor learning experience for awakening real education and this is the reason I started my own business, to share my passion and expertise to offer the best possible outdoor learning opportunities.”
Foster is now working with 20 schools across the North East and also the Youth Hostel Association. In the future he said there is certainly potential to roll it out nationwide and add a corporate element for businesses.
He said: “When I began looking into my business I thought it would mainly involve taking children to the Lake District, but already it has developed into planning trips and experiences for voluntary groups, older children, foreign trips, city breaks and team-building with adults.”
Foster said: “I would recommend the BIC to anyone wishing to go it alone; I call it the leap of faith because it really is just that. I also couldn’t have done this without the support of Sacred Heart Primary School who gave me a 10-month period to drum up business and see if I could make it a success.
“I am taking a party of 35 children and adults for a sightseeing trip to Rome in February and two separate theatre visits to London in March, as well as an adult team-building trip to the Lake district in March. Some people might not want to canoe in the Lake District in the middle of winter so I wanted to look at other options to keep business going throughout the year.”