Dirleton PS Yellowcraig Invasion

Dirleton PS organised a big outdoorlearning day out at Yellowcraig with the assistance of EL Outdoor Learning.

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The whole school walked down to Yellowcraig woods and took part in a variety of activities throughout the area – whilst enjoying the amazing Spring sunshine.

In the morning the older pupils tok part in Bikeability training run by parent volunteers and undertook climb/balance activities; orienteering challenges; ‘sweaty spelling’; drawing their own maps. After a wonderful picnic lunch in the sunshine the older pupils undertook some peer teaching by leading afternoon sessions for the younger pupils. The whole school finished with an orinerring line course through the woods.

A memorable day of Outdoor Learning for all.


Thanks must go to the school staff and parent volunteers who with all their hard work made the day possible.

Last of Winter?

winterskillsFifth and sixth year pupils from PL, DGS and Knox joined forces with Midlothian pupils for a weekend of skills development in the Cairngorms last weekend.

Based out of Badaguish the group spend the Saturday braving high winds above the Corrie Ciste in the Northern Cairngorms.

On the Sunday in much more pleasant conditions they all managed a winter Munro , or two, in the Glen Feshie hills.

Over the course of the weekends the pupils learnt then practiced a variety of skills including using ice-axe and crampons, avalanche awareness, using a transceiver and lots of poor weather navigation techniques.

All in all a great weekend providing these youngsters with additional skills to help keep them safe, and have fun, on their future Winter mountaineering adventures in Scotland.

Climb when you’re ready

Over the past 3 months the Outdoor Learning Service have been providing mentoring and workshops sessions for teachers and community group leaders from across ELC who are working towards gaining their Climbing Wall Award (CWA).

In order to gain confidence and get practice working with groups Megan Houchin brought a young group to the wall last night and delivered an introductory climbing session under the supervision of one of the Outdoor Learning Service staff. And she did great – well done Megan, the first one is always the hardest!

At the wall

Gaining group management experience like this, practicing with peers and the mentoring provided by the Outdoor Learning Service before going on to the Mountain Training’s Training and Assessments courses will enable more teachers and community leaders to bring groups to the local wall at Forester Park in Tranent and go up to the walls in Edinburgh.

Teaching, Learning & Play in the Outdoors – Scottish research from University of Stirling (School of Education), SNH & Education Scotland

Teachers who bring their pupils into the outdoors find it makes their learning more enjoyable, challenging, active and collaborative according to significant Scottish study recently published.

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Click on the picture to access the report…

The University of Stirling (School of Education) study shows that outdoor learning in school and pre-schools has increased since Curriculum for Excellence was introduced but that further increases should be made. The survey of nursery, primary and secondary schools looked at over 1000 outdoor lessons from randomly selected schools across Scotland during the summer term and compared results from surveys in 2006 and 2014.

Suzanne Hargreaves, Senior Education Officer at Education Scotland said: “Across Scotland, through Curriculum for Excellence, early learning and childcare centres and schools are providing children and young people with more opportunities to learn outdoors. This is having a positive impact on learners, increasing opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and personal achievement. Learners are more engaged which in turn creates better challenge and enjoyment.

“Whilst these findings are positive we have some challenges ahead. Greater provision is required, particularly in secondary schools in order to capitalise fully on outdoor learning of all kinds, including residential experiences. Schools in areas of deprivation also face challenges in providing this type of learning. We will continue to work with schools and outdoor learning organisations to support practitioners in realising and capitalising on the benefits of outdoor learning, and to help ensure these opportunities are open to all learners across Scotland.”

The research report on Teaching, Learning & Play in the Outdoors is now available on the SNH website or by clicking on the picture above.

This research considers to what extent, in what ways and with what impacts schools and pre-schools are utilising the school grounds, local areas, and other places beyond as settings for the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence. It revisits SNH Commissioned Report 225: Young people’s interaction with natural heritage through outdoor learning to consider changes in provisions of outdoor learning and play in Scotland. It also provides new baseline measures on the impacts of taking learning outdoors.

The research also shows that Scottish schools are teaching all subjects outdoors.  This was further emphasised with the publication of Education Scotland’s Religious and Moral Education through Outdoor Learning. This resource designed to encourage professional dialogue, explores how high quality learning and teaching in religious and moral education (RME) can be delivered through outdoor learning.  The recently published Education Scotland Opening Up Great Learning; learning for sustainability” document promotes a whole school and community approach to outdoor learning.  A further specific “Opening Up Great Learning; outdoor learning” document is to follow!

DofE expeditions and the use of Bothies

An interesting article about the use of bothies by DofE groups and some resources to help in training. Although DofE groups on expeditions aren’t meant to use bothies, it is acknowledged that sometimes they do, even if it’s just to cook in bad weather or pop in and have a look.

Bothies, litter and Education a Step Forward

Apologies if you have already seen this as the resources were launched at the recent DofE expedition festival.