Our approach to learning sets us apart from all the others. Taught to you by our team of inspiring, highly qualified and experienced teachers, our unique methodology helps students maximise their potential in school and their personal lives too.
By the way… we also offer the best outdoor experiences in the world.
Matthew Barnsley BSc (Hons), PGCE Geog QTS IML
Director and Co-Founder
Mat is a qualified teacher with a background of working with young people with special needs in the juvenile criminal system and social services sector for 6 years and in mainstream education for 8 years. This has equipped him with a wide range of teaching approaches that helps students of all needs and backgrounds not to just survive but to be able to excel and thrive, whatever the circumstances.
He has served as a departmental head in a number of schools across several different subject areas. Mat has also successfully designed and implemented multiple initiatives to improve departmental structures and facilities in schools around the UK.
He is a Qualified International Mountain Leader and has led expeditions to the highest peaks on 4 continents in summer and winter conditions. He has participated in expeditions to the Himalayas where he successfully completed a first ascent on the prominent 6185m Telthop Peak in Ladakh.
He trained as a mountain rescue leader in the U.S Rockies and is qualified in bush craft and survival techniques. He has led teams of scientists on geological expeditions to remote areas. His practical knowledge of human survival and well being in remote places is extensive.
Today, Mat leads expeditions to arctic, jungle, mountain and desert environments. He links lessons learned from the Wild to the academic learning and the personal development objectives of each participant. As a result, students have performed better in school and in their personal lives too – demonstrating far greater confidence and drive. Many of Mat’s students have pursued careers in the outdoor sector.
Director and Co-Founder
Steve, Director and Co-Founder of Really Wild Education, first set out a vision for Really Wild in 2009 to create a unique and highly powerful approach to personal and organisational development that would change lives for the better.
Prior to Really Wild, Steve led several international departments and businesses as a management consultant, vice-president and general manager. He has extensive experience and knowledge across multiple industries and functions. He is passionate about helping young people grow in skills and confidence to achieve the very best they can.
As a consultant, Steve developed several performance improvement programmes that were implemented by some of the largest corporations in the world.
Today, Steve is one of the UK’s most inspiring bush craft and survival instructors and is experienced at leading groups in forest, arctic and jungle environments. The combination of his business and survival skills expertise formed the inspiration and basis for our methodology for success.
Steve has a natural ability to connect and engage with his audience whatever their age or background. He is experienced at teaching primary, secondary and further education. He also continues to provide management consultancy, training and development initiatives to a range of businesses and organisations.
Nigel Painter. MBE, IML
Nige is a senior officer within the RAF with nearly two decades of experience leading and developing young people and adults at home and abroad. He is a flight engineer on Hercules aircraft and leads a team of RAF survival instructors. He teaches pilots how to survive and thrive in all environments – Arctic, jungle, desert and mountain.
When he is not on operations with the RAF, Nige works with Really Wild Education to deliver the very best in wilderness and personal development education for our students. He has led groups in Nepal, Slovenia, Norway, the USA, the Arctic and the lesser travelled Antarctic.
As a keen outdoorsman Nige is also a qualified International Mountain Leader. He was awarded an MBE by the Queen in the 2016 Honours List for his services to leadership and survival training. He utilises his vast experience to add real value to the content and delivery of our courses and our unique methodology for success. Nige is also a qualified bush craft instructor who was trained by Ray Mears and John Rhyder.
Ian has been in the outdoor industry for over 20 years. He started off as an Expedition Leader for a Naval Unit based in his hometown of Portsmouth. He has led expeditions all over the world: honing his skills in the harshest of environments.
Ian is an ISKGA (International Sea Kayak Guide Association) guide, British Canoe Union Level 2 coach, British Stand Up Paddleboard Association Level 2 instructor, British Cycling Mountain Bike Leader and trained Mountain Leader. His passion for teaching and progression in an outdoor environment is second to none.
The past 10 years have seen him working with scientists and engineers within the British Antarctic Survey building, repairing research establishments and setting up temporary field camps. All whilst studying the amazing wildlife you can find throughout this remarkable continent.
Ian’s polar experience culminated in being asked to join Sir Ranulph Fiennes on the 1st ever attempt to cross the Antarctic Continent in winter. Ian is one of only 5 people ever to have attempted this feat!
Abbi Naylor. QTS IML (T)
Abbi is a teacher with a serious outdoor edge; her teaching skills and experience in outdoor environments is diverse. She specialises in working with young people with specific educational, behavioural and mental difficulties. Her other skills include: being in the British armed forces, sailing and yacht racing, sky diving, mountain walking and bushcraft. She is a qualified ski instructor and is currently working towards her International Mountain Leader award.
Abbi not only runs expeditions all over the world for students and adult groups, she also plans and manages them. She is an advanced first aid instructor which allows her to create the safest environments possible for working outdoors. The key to success is in the preparation and Abbi is certainly prepared with her skills set.
Abbi has been to more places than most people will go to in a lifetime. Her knowledge, experience and expertise puts her up there as one of the best.
Nev is an outdoor enthusiast with many years of experience with a variety of groups. Starting out as a mentor to young people with learning disabilities, specific educational and social needs. Then working in a busy outdoor centre and now being a core member of the Really Wild Team. Nev aims to give young people a new lease of life, to inspire them and create opportunities that will make a real difference to their future.
His extensive travels around the world have given him a passion for other cultures. Plus a love of adventure that he seeks to pass on and help others to have their own adventures.
He is an accomplished bushcrafter and woodsman who is totally at home in the forest.
Nev is a keen amateur archaeologist and primitive technologies enthusiast which gives him a unique edge when teaching his students.
“The great outdoors is the best place to learn about yourself… discovering what you are capable of and experiencing what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.”
Naz is one of the most outstanding outdoor practitioners in the business and as a result he has worked with the best of the best. Naz specialises in everything remote and has great expertise in the tropical places of the world. He leads people into the deepest jungle environments and teaches advanced fauna, flora and survival skills.
His rope work, climbing and safety skills off the ground are exceptional. He has set up some of the longest and highest rope ways, zip lines and industrial roping projects on the planet!
His safety record and his immense skills and are proven by the fact that he has worked with Bear Grylls, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Gordon Ramsey, Sir David Attenborough, National Geographic, the Discovery Channel and Really Wild Education.
Hannah Chivrall BSc (Hons), QTS
Senior Instructor & Office Administrator
Hannah is a fully qualified teacher and bushcraft instructor, with experience of teaching all ages. She is dedicated to helping others discover and learn to love our natural world, and provides opportunities for curiosity in her sessions. She trained with John Rhyder and was invited back to work with him at Woodcraft School, a great honour which gave her a solid understanding of a diverse range of wood lore.
“From an early age I enjoyed the freedoms to run wild and play naturally. Rivers and lakes, mountains and hills, woodlands and countryside, all play a big part in my life.”
She loves archery, wild food (actually most foods), taking thinking walks, watching the dancing flames and glowing embers, crafting beautiful things from natural materials and growing things in her allotment.
Hannah is also behind the scenes keeping things organised and you can ask her for assistance with all stages of your experiences with Really Wild – there are no silly questions!
Charlie has been working with Really Wild since leaving school. He’s been a participant on both our Arctic Winter and the Borneo Survival Expeditions. His quiet confidence and calm manner really set him up well in challenging situations and make him a dependable team member.
He lived in South Africa for a year where he worked at the Outward Bound international School of South Africa as an instructor. This involved taking groups out to the bush and teaching them rock climbing, abseiling, kayaking, canoeing, navigation, general camp craft and team building exercises.
He is a product designer with a keen interest in blacksmithing, wood work and carving; especially in making knives and woodland tools. Charlie is not afraid to test by trial and error and is dedicated to improving his skills through hard work.
Charlie is a natural people person and very relaxing to be around. He is an exceptional practitioner and a fantastic teacher who has a knack of describing and explaining things in just the right way to a diverse range of audiences. The progression shown by those in his care is impressive and his sessions always feel calm, friendly and fun.
Sam is an experienced teacher, and an exceptional one at that. As a teacher of music he has brilliant skills both in the classroom and on stage where he plays publicly in a number of groups. On top of that he was also trained by the Really Wild team! Sam will be thrilled to show you how to get a fire started and talk about some of the cool tasty treats nature has to offer.
Sam is one of the best communicators you will see; add this to his calm, patient and soft manner and you have a brilliant teacher who can work with any kind of student in almost any condition.
Shane has always enjoyed the outdoors and fostered this interest by joined the Scouts when he was at Primary School. At Secondary School he completed DofE Bronze award and attended the Outdoors Club run by Mat. He joined every trip including Survival School Academy, Borneo and the Arctic Winter Expeditions.
Shane accompanied the 2016 Borneo Expedition as a helper where he learned a lot of important skills including: how to interact with clients, continually assessing safety, and dealing with difficult situations.
He is the youngest person to pass the NCFE Level 4 Bushcraft Instructors Course with John Rhyder. He has a omprehensive knowledge of bush craft skills, natural history, conservation and delivering to a wide range of audiences. He is passionate about the outdoors and with his training on the international expeditions programmes is now well on his way to being able to lead programmes around the world.
Imi is a PhD student at the University of Southampton investigating natural and sustainable methods of flood damage reduction in groundwater river systems. Her research is fuelled by a fascination with the natural world and a passion for the outdoors.
When not up to her armpits in a river, Imi can be found rock climbing, hiking and running all over the UK and abroad. She has a deep-held belief that connecting people with nature and the outdoors can have significant mental health and well-being benefits and is excited for to be a part of the Really Wild team to help people experience this through our Really Wild Camps, Survival Academy and Expeditions.
Alec is a survival, health, and fitness instructor with experience in personal nutrition and wellbeing. He has a particular interest in how the humans have thrived since we were hunter gatherers, including our diet and physical performance. He aspires to be a fully qualified medical practitioner and is working on wilderness first aid.
Alec has previous experience training the British transport police in fitness, and in teaching survival and bushcraft skills on our School Camps. When he is not working Alec likes to go rock climbing and in the winter months skiing in the Alps.
His main aim is to ensure all participants enjoy developing skills and a mindset that will benefit their overall life.
He is a real character with flair for connecting with people in a fun and engaging manner. His experience with teaching home educated children is especially useful during our annual Home Education Festival.
Kat is currently a student at the University of Birmingham. She is most often found on adventures with her sister in the Lake District and Snowdonia. She’s got the travel bug and has had some amazing opportunities to visit exciting places to work on archaeological excavations. “Learning about the people of the past and how they survived and thrived is fascinating”. Kat has taken part in our instructor training and is honing her special interest in all things historical.
David Markland is a strong and able practitioner in all aspects of outdoor education and pursuits, from UK based winter walking and campcraft to international expeditions, travel and jungle survival. He has travelled much and experienced many of the harder places of societies and human habitations. With this experience he can teach students how to look for dangers whilst outdoors, then mitigate them to stay safe and secure: increasing individual confidence and competence in activities being undertaken.
David is not only a strong outdoor practitioner; he is passionate about the educational development and mental, emotional and physical well being of the people he teaches. With qualifications in hypnotherapy and mental health, David adds a hugely unique and crucial role to the Really Wild Ethos of making our students ‘World Ready’. David spends much of his efforts helping his students challenge their ‘norms’ and way of thinking to help them become more perceptive, discerning and open to empathising with people and situations in an ever-changing world. His insight into human behaviours has drastically changed people’s perceptions and stereotypes; he has helped to heal deep emotional wounds in others and shown young people how to cope with, and adapt to, or modify many differing family and social challenges.
David uses the Really Wild Method to get the best out of the people he teaches, not just in the classroom or in the field, but also inside themselves.