Elphinstone High Quality PE through Outdoor Learning

Thanks to funding from Education Scotland Core Physical Education FundElphinstone Primary have come together with the Outdoor Learning Service to deliver progressive Biking and Orienteering to the current P7 class.

Elphinstone Bike


The funding has enabled the purchase of a fleet of bikes and orienteering equipment. Currently the bikes are being used to deliver Cycling Scotland Go Mountain Biking Scheme. The fleet will be used to deliver BikeabilityScotland levels to pupils without bikes throughout the school. As the bikes are kept at Outdoor Learning, the school have made it clear that they are available to any other schools when not being used by ElphinstonePS. Inroducing biking at Elphinstone will hopefully lead to more pupils being confident to cycle to school and explore their local area.

Elphinstone Orienteer

Orienteering equipment includes electronic timing equipment and will involve delivery of Teaching Orienteering 1 course to all staff within the establishment. The progressive Orienteering sessions will lead to the pupils taking part in: a local competition; Scottish schools competition; possibly British schools competition and maybe beyond!

This current 12 week block is particularly looking at the pupils taking responsibility for themselves and peers and looking at engaging with the local sporting community through their sporting exploits – East Lothian Orienteers and Musselburgh Monarchs BMX club


Camping it up!

Knowing that most school residential trips take are planned a year in advance let me take this opportunity close to the start of the new school year to let you know about a few trips that your Outdoor Learning Service was involved in over the past year. Some thoughts for your next school trip…

Cost? Educational – how are the pupils involved in the planning and running of the trip. What educational aims and objectives are set for the trip. Preparation by pupils. What happens at the end of the trip? Any follow up work. Anything that can be taken from the trip to use in the classroom? How are the staff and parents from the school deployed – there are lots of great adults out there only too willing to help.


North Berwick High activity week

What better way for staff and pupils to gain respect for one another than to undergo together an adventurous week. This week was organised and staffed almost entirely by staff from the school. It utilised skills and qualifications amassed by a wide variety of school staff (including the Head). This meant that the pupils were able to spend a week at Rothiemurchas and have full days of activity including Mountain Biking in Rothie Forest; Canoeing on the Spey; Walking in the Cairngorms; Gorge Walking. The catering also employed the expertise of school staff. The whole trip meant that the pupils were able to witness the organisation required first hand and be involved in the catering; cleaning; transport; route planning; equipment maintenance etc. A complete education.

Elphinstone School Camp



Click here for a full screen slideshow

A fantastic model of a school camp for a small school. Elphinstone once again employed the services of the Outdoor Learning Service and the Ranger Service – both able to provide free time in the pursuit of high quality education. The pupils’ week consisted of orienteering; Stand Up Paddleboard journey; Coasteering; Kayaking (all within our very own beautiful East Lothian). The pupils camped out overnight in Hammocks and cooked their own supper over an open fire. After travelling down to the Borders – Peebles the pupils camped – more conventionally in tents and did some quality problem solving and team tasks and archery. Toward the end of the week the group undertook a whole day canoe trip down the Tweed from Cordrona to Innerleithen. Staff from the school accompanied the children at every point and the children were fully engaged in the whole process from planning of the trip through to successful execution.


Prestonpans Infant School

How young is too young for a residential experience? For Prestonpans Infants age is no barrier. Pupils as young as  P3 (6 years old)   spent a night out at Innerwick Residential Centre. The pupils were taken to Innerwick 16 at a time over 4 evenings for a one evening expedition. A Woodland discovery day – including hammocks; tipis; camouflage; woodland games. Evening walk at Cove through the the tunnel and down to the seashore for an evening explore of a coastal environment – led entirely by school staff. Lots of help for this (for many) first overnight experience was given by parents from the Infant School.


Please get in touch with your Outdoor Learning Service for advice and guidance on running a school residential experience – and remember to ask around staff and parents – there may be a lot of hidden talent and enthusiasm lurking within!



Local Access Forum

Over the summer one child gave up an afternoon of her summer holiday to give a presentation to East Lothian’s local access forum. The presentation was given on how they had, through their school camp, come to appreciate the finer points of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code – rights; responsibilities; care for the environment. The forum (around 15 people from a variety of arenas concerned with access) heard how this pupils and her classmates had been able to appreciate nature first hand and spend nights under the stars whilst still Leaving No Trace.
It was a wonderful presentation to witness as a P7 pupil captivated an audience within a conference room of the council offices. It highlighted the immense value of experience as a way to get the message of responsible access across to young people. Here’s to a new academic year of many more such valuable experiences for both young and old.

Many thanks to Leigh Shearer (EL Ranger Service) and the staff of Elphinstone Primary.

Elphinstone Local Heroes

Last week saw Elphinstones P7 camp. In conjunction with the Outdoor Education Service and East Lothian Ranger Service the pupils from Elphinstone Primary have eschewed a week at a residential centre for a week within their local environ. It has enabled the pupils to appreciate their local environment and leave them with lots of opportunities for further learning.

Whilst viewing the photos please make sure that you note: clearing up of someone else’s fire pit; spotting 10 baby eider duck whilst coasteering; the group catching, gutting, cleaning, cooking eating some fish (sea to sauce to mouth!)

The group did as much as possible themselves this week and they all deserve a massive amount of praise for the hard work that they put in. Well done to all the school staff who put in a incredible effort this week also.

The pupils week consisted of

Monday – Kayak – River Tyne and Forth (off Yellowcraig Beach)
Tuesday – Orienteer; Coasteer; Fishing; Overnight Bivi in Hammocks
Wednesday – Travel to Peebles – Initiative Tasks and Woodland Walk – overnight Camp
Thursday – Canoe River Tweed – Overnight Camp
Friday – Pack up – return and Debrief
The pupils are working towards giving a presentation concerning their clean up of fire sites and looking at continuing this work with woodland sites even more local to their school.

Have the pupils at your primary school been stretched recently? Can you say that the learning opportunities were abundant during your school camp? – Elphinstone certainly can.



Extreme Rockpooling

Leaving No Trace

Canoeing the River Tweed

Working hard in Peebles

Hammock Experience

Discovering the journey of food