Recent Scottish studies and other international research has identified that well-structured outdoor
Learning helps to raise attainment and:
- facilitates children’s development in school grounds, local areas and on residential courses,
- supports learning in all aspects of the school curriculum from 3 to 18,
- provides opportunities for pupils to guide their own learning and develop critical thinking skills in ways elusive in the classroom,
- raises children’s awareness of environmental and sustainability issues, resulting in understanding and promoting an ethic of care for our planet (directly linked with the concept of ‘learning for sustainability’)
- has direct health and wellbeing benefits. This leads to high rates of ‘enhancement of challenge, enjoyment, personalisation, relevance, breadth and progression’ of learning.
Similarly, the ‘Conversations about Learning for Sustainability’ study conducted by Education Scotland in 2014 identified that Learning for Sustainability resulted in:
- Enhanced learning and motivation and readiness to learn.
- Increases in development of skills for life, learning and work.
- Increases in confidence.
- Improved reputation and standing of the establishments in their communities.
- Improved staff morale, wellbeing and motivation.
- Enriched ethos of school and improvements to the community spirit.
The links between education for sustainable development and quality education were further supported by an international Study conducted by UNESCO in 2015.
These briefings and reports, together with others, have been brought together here to support dialogue and interventions to raise attainment and improve outcomes for learners aligned to the Scottish Attainment Challenge, pupil equity fund and other priorities in education.
IDOX Briefing OL and Attainment
Conversations about LfS Report
UNESCO ESD and Quality Education Report
PEF and Outdoor Learning Research List
Impact of Outdoor Learning, attainment and behaviour in schools – LfS Research Briefings – No 3
Learning for Sustainability – effective pedagogies – LfS Research Briefings – No.4
Learning for Sustainability and Attainment – LfS Research Briefings – No.1
The Snack Attack Challenge is back for 2016!
Invent a Fairtrade snack, design the packaging and promotional campaign and win £100 of Traidcraft goodies for your school!
Traidcraft are looking to encourage the next generation of decision makers to be creative and pioneering in their approach to life and enterprise; to think about people as well as profit and the impact of the choices they make every day.
The deadline for competition entries will be 1st April 2016, which makes it a perfect activity for Fairtrade Fortnight (29th February – 13th March 2016).
To download an application pack, click here
Before outdoor learning there was the shieling. For hundreds of years, each summer young people all over Scotland would take the livestock up to hill or moorland pastures, camping there in small bothies, learning about the world beyond the village. The Shieling Project brings the shieling back to life for young people and teachers, through outdoor learning, resources and professional learning for teachers.
Sam Harrison, who runs the Shieling Project explains “Through this tradition we can look at so many subjects across the curriculum, and work skills from archaeology to forestry, as well as exploring global sustainability themes through hands on local learning experiences.”
The Shieling Project professional learning programme in learning for sustainability will run again from this May. The year long course leads to professional recognition from the GTCS in Learning for Sustainability.
Based in Glen Strathfarrar, near Beauly, four weekend workshops, two days of outdoor learning with your class and an online forum provide an opportunity to build a critical, supportive and collaborative community. The course costs £900.
For more information, including a video of the first cohort of teachers presenting their learning journeys, click here.
For a full list of courses that can lead to professional recognition, visit the GTCS website .
Are you keen to develop school grounds, community gardens or other community spaces? The Tesco Local Community Scheme now provides funding to support projects in school or nursery grounds – even those without public access. The fund is for 140 grants of £8,000, £10,000 or £12,000.
A brief expression of interest should be completed by Friday 11th December. The full application is due for submission by January 15th 2016.
The grants are funded from the money raised from the 5p bag charge in Tesco stores. The grant programme is administered by Groundwork, working with Greenspace Scotland.
Thanks to Grounds for Learning for sharing this exciting news.
In the week that the Scottish Government joins UNICEF in launching the World’s Largest Lesson, more schools have been sharing their learning around the Global Goals. One such school is Sciennes Primary School in Edinburgh, who have been blogging about their journey to become a ‘Rights Respecting School’. Click here to find out how learners have been raising the profile of Goal 1 – No Poverty and Goal 10 – Reduced Inequalities. Keep up the good work Sciennes learners and bloggers!
Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB) have launched a national journalism programme for young people. Young Reporters Scotland (YRS) is a sustainable development initiative which offers young people the opportunity to build their skills and experience in journalism and be part of an international group producing creative solutions to issues within their communities.
Schools and community groups running relevant clubs and activities are invited to enter the 2015 national competition by submitting entries which investigate an environmental problem or sustainability issue. A range of suggested themes are designed to support entrants to identify topics. Creativity is encouraged so entries can be in a range of different media; articles, blogs, videos, animations and photographs are all eligible.
Find out more, register to take part and access support materials at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/yrs or email enquiries to email@example.com.
During a number of recent events and presentations about learning for sustainability, I have displayed the above word cloud with the question “Where do we start?”. Different practitioners offer different responses. My response is to assure everyone that where you start is far less important than actually getting started and making the connections between the many exciting areas of this agenda.
Making connections is exactly what Ben Mali MacFadyen from Eco Drama has been doing throughout the Out to Play project. Working with children and teachers across Glasgow, Out to Play seeks to facilitate interaction with the natural world through quality artistic experiences, re-thinking traditional views of nature as merely ‘sites’ and ‘reserves’, noticing and appreciating nature on our doorstep.
Sessions have been tailored to the unique surroundings of each school, and through imaginative play & adventurous learning, Out to Play aims to deepen young people’s connection to our natural world.
Ben’s blog offers a detailed and reflective account of the process thus far, providing some wonderful insights into the children’s learning. He has also shared a number of very practical ideas and approaches for engaging pupils in the outdoors.
For further information on Education Scotland support for outdoor learning, click here.
Kenyan Connections is a partnership between Crofting Connections and NECOFA Kenya School Gardens Initiative which works with rural schools and communities in the Eastern Rift Valley of Kenya.
Four Crofting Connections schools have been awarded funding through the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms programme to host exchange teacher visits with Kenyan schools, using food growing in the school gardens as a starting point for learning about local food production and for delivering learning for sustainability.
This conference is part of a visit to Scotland by Kenyan teachers to the participating Crofting Connections schools. It provides a valuable CLPL opportunity for teachers, as the Scottish and Kenyan partner schools share their learning with other schools.
Speakers include Dr Margaret Bennett, writer, folklorist, singer and broadcaster; Dr Rehema White, lecturer in Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews; Samuel Muhunyu, director of NECOFA Kenya, and Catriona Willis, Global Learning coordinator at Highland One World.
For further information and to book a place at this event, click here.
Dreghorn Primary School in North Ayshire will host an LfS-focussed outdoor learning showcase on Thursday 28th May from 4pm to 6pm. The event is aimed at practitioners and leaders across North, East and South Ayrshire and is bookable via the North Ayshire CPD service.
Presentations from practitioners, learners and Education Scotland staff will be followed by a “market place” event where delegates can discuss outdoor learning approaches with a range of key partners. Grounds for Learning, the Soil Association, the Royal Highland Education Trust, the John Muir Trust, Outdoor and Woodland Learning Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Adventure Centre for Education will be joined by the North Ayrshire Ranger service.
These providers will be on hand to offer advice and support on delivering outdoor learning as a regular, progressive curriculum-led experience for all learners.
For further information, contact Julia Kerr at Dreghorn Primary School.
Will your school be celebrating John Muir Day on the 20th April? Looking for resources to explore the life of the “Father of our National Parks”? A graphic novel based upon the life of John Muir and produced by the Scottish Book Trust is available to download. Teaching support notes and pupil activities across all curricular areas also accompany the book. Muir’s story is brought to life in a new way, and the novel is intended to develop a deeper understanding and awareness of the natural environment and the importance of protecting wild places.
For further information on the John Muir Award click here.