On Saturday 15th November the second of our ‘Supporting Outdoor Learning in Secondary Schools’ events took place at Speyside High School in Aberlour. The day began with an opening presentation from Nigel Engstrand, Head Teacher, Speyside High School who shared his thoughts on the relevance and importance of learning outdoors and discussed the commitment that Speyside High School has made to outdoor learning.
Throughout the day 12 workshops ran offering participants a variety of practical ideas on how to use outdoor learning approaches across the curriculum. Examples included using the outdoors to develop literacy skills, outdoor learning through physical education and physical activity, creativity in the outdoors, taking science outdoors and progression in outdoor learning from S1-S6. Many workshops also highlighted how partnership working had also helped enrich outdoor learning experiences. Details of all the workshops which took place can also be downloaded here: Workshops – Detailed descriptors
But the undoubtable highlight of the day was the captivating keynote speech delivered by S4 Speyside High School pupil Zeki Basan. Zeki, a junior ‘Ray Mears’, provided a fascinating talk on bush craft (or the term he has coined ‘Bushology’) in which he shared his vast knowledge of the medicinal properties and practical uses of the wild plants and trees which exist in the local Speyside countryside. Most inspiring was Zeki’s candid account of how a meeting with Ray Mears together with his own passion for the natural world and thirst to learn more about it helped him to overcome his own personal barrier to learning.
Many thanks also to the other Speyside High School pupils Lee Tarling, Annemiek Daggert, Connel Laing and Elliot Gould who kindly gave up their Saturday to help meet and greet the participants and to share their experiences of outdoor learning at Speyside High School.
Feedback from the event has been very positive with many participants already making use of the contacts, resources and ideas they gained from the day:
“It was good meeting such positive teachers and outdoor learning providers. Seeing a school being successful in incorporating OL in the curriculum and not making it an add on.”
“Having young people involved and sharing their passion was the most engaging part of it.”
“I have already discussed using the local farming community with a geography colleague who wasn’t sure where to start.”
“I have an increased awareness of the value of outdoor learning within school and will work with others to improve, increase, support good practice.”
Participants have also had the opportunity to put forward suggestions for future outdoor learning events which will of great use in our planning.
Further information on this event including presentations and materials from the workshops and links to all of the partner organisations that took part can be found on the new Glow Outdoor Learning Community which can be accessed via: http://bit.ly/1umiCug. From here click on the tile ‘Previous events’ to access the sites for the Supporting Outdoor Learning in Secondary Schools events.
Many thanks to staff from Moray Council, Speyside High School, Banchory Academy, Kemnay Academy, Grantown Grammar School, Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET), The National Trust for Scotland, Horseback UK, Cairngorms National Park Authority, The John Muir Award, Field Studies Council, OPAL, Grounds for Learning, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Adventure Aberdeen, Classroom Outdoors, The Outward Bound Trust, Abernethy and Angus Education Service.