A significant report has been published on a 4 year, 125 school, 40,000 pupil Outdoor Learning Demonstration Project.
A full copy of the Natural Connections project report can be downloaded from Natural England’s Access to Evidence publications catalogue. An 11-minute film has been produced to accompany the publication of the project report.
92 % of teachers surveyed said that pupils were more engaged with learning when outdoors
85 % of teachers surveyed saw a positive impact on pupil behaviour
92 % of pupils involved in the project said they enjoyed their lessons more when outdoors
with 90 % feeling happier and healthier as a result.
The findings have been released in the summer by the Natural Connections Demonstration project, a four-year initiative to help primary and secondary school children – particularly those from disadvantaged areas – experience the benefits of the natural environment by empowering teachers to use the outdoors locally to support everyday learning.
The project, which is funded by Natural England, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Historic England and delivered by Plymouth University, is the largest project of its kind in England and has already helped more than 40,000 primary and secondary school pupils get out of their classrooms and into the outdoors – whether that’s a maths lesson in a local park or drama out on the school field.
The skills courses are designed for anyone aged 14 and over who wants to transfer their existing walking skills to more mountainous terrain. The team, who all had experience of walking thanks to the expedition element of the Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, laughed, sang and danced their way through the course. And not a beard in sight.
The ELC Outdoor Learning Service are providers of both the MT Mountain and Hill Skills courses – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in us running one of these course for your school or community group.
Adventure Award Days are now published for next year. These days give whole classes over the course over a day (or half) to experience some real world learning in a variety of outdoor sports. Who knows – the next Orienteering/ Bouldering/ Canoe Sprint world champion may be lurking in your class. Make sure everyone has the opportunity to unleash their hidden talent. Book by getting in touch with your Outdoor Learning Link teacher –
The sessions listed below are open to all schools in East Lothian – will not affect any other allocation with Outdoor Learning. First to book a day chooses venue. Watersports (Kayak;Canoe;SUP;Sail), Climbing (Indoor and Outdoor), Orienteering all available.
‘Adventure Award days’ – Complete the booking form and email to email@example.com . You may wish to discuss this with your schools allocated Outdoor Learning Teacher before booking to tie the award days in with the schools overall outdoor learning programme.
‘Extra curricular/ Extra Requests’ – Complete the booking form and email to firstname.lastname@example.org . You may wish to discuss this with your schools allocated Outdoor Learning Teacher before booking to tie the award days in with the schools overall outdoor learning programme.
‘Summer Activity Programme’ – Keep an eye out for the Summer Programme brochure (should be out to schools on 19th May 2014). Let young people know they can book onto many outdoor sessions.
‘Staff Development (CLPL) Programme’ – Have a look at the sessions on offer through the website, complete the booking form and email to email@example.com .
We had wind, rain, some midges, more rain, and more rain – ok we did have sun on the first and last days. Over 7 days a group of S5 pupils from Knox and North Berwick High Schools walked 108 kms of the Skye Trail from Broadford in the south to Rubha Hunish in the north.
On leaving Broadford the group first walked 20 kms round the coast to camp at Torrin. Next day we battled over the mighty Blaven in terrible conditions before seeking overnight sanctuary in the great new Camusunary bothy in the company of three Germans, a Norwegian, Hungarian, Lithuanian and a Bulgarian- all conversing of course in English. Next we walked up the valley to camp at Sligachan, then walked in a ‘monsoon’ day round the coast to the next camp at Portree. From here we stumbled and fought our way over peat bogs to the top of mighty Storr at the south end of the Trotternish. Next, we walked the north end of the Trotternish and down through the Quiraing to camp at the excellent Dun Flodigarry Hostel (thankfully with the use of their facilities to avoid the ferocious midges). On the last day we finished with amazing views of Harris, watched dolphins breaching in the Minch before finishing with a refreshing swim at the very north tip at Rubha Hunish.
Very well done Phoebe, Ailsa, Conal, George, Danial, Matt and Ross! Top job by all for being up for the challenge, and especially for maintaining a great level of enthusiasm and morale through conditions that were definitely ‘character forming’ at times. And thank you much Caroline for volunteering; giving up your time and helping to make this happen.
Sorry about the lack of pictures (the one of Blaven in the sun above was Googled!), but I lost my camera. Hopefully we’ll be be able to share group photos and I’ll get more up here.