Thousands of learners benefit from outdoor learning

More than 6,000 young people in some of the most disadvantaged areas of Scotland have benefited from a project to encourage learning outdoors.

The Learning in Local Greenspace project has supported 115 schools across 12 local authorities to use nearby green spaces, such as parks and woodlands, for outdoor learning.

Led by NatureScot, this collaborative project worked with more than 20 partner organisations with the aim of embedding outdoor learning in schools, with more than 500 teachers taking part.

Learning outdoors has been shown to improve the health and wellbeing of pupils, and can also have a positive impact on behaviour and engagement, in turn leading to better attainment.

An evaluation report found that, as a result of the project, the percentage of teachers taking learning outdoors in their local greenspace regularly rose from 28% to 49%, while teacher confidence in doing so increased from 54% to 85%.

Following the project more than a third (37%) felt that their pupils had a good connection to nature, compared to just 19% previously. The percentage of teachers who believed their pupils’ engagement in learning outdoors was good or excellent also increased from 56% to 79%.

The project also developed a range of free resources for outdoor learning that are available to all via the Learning in local greenspace project webpages.

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Education Recovery Fund Report

 

The £500,000 Outdoor Education Recovery Fund was launched in 2021 by the Scottish Government to widen access to outdoor learning and offer vital support for Scotland’s education recovery. The creation of the fund recognised the role played by all forms of outdoor learning as part of the government’s broader approach to recovery from the COVID pandemic.

The fund enabled youth work and education providers to facilitate outdoor learning experiences with the aim of supporting the following outcomes for young people:

  • Improved physical and mental health and wellbeing.
  • Development of skills for life.
  • Improved learner engagement.
  • Progress in related Curriculum for Excellence areas and subjects.
  • Improved connection with and appreciation of, nature and place.

Programme Deliverables:

  • 45 funded programmes were delivered across Scotland between May and December 2021
  • Nearly 2,000 sessions and 12,000 activity hours were provided
  • 8,514 young people and 558 teachers participated
  • Young people from a range of formal education settings were involved, predominantly primary schools

Download the full Covid-19 Outdoor Education Recovery Fund report.

 

Enjoying the Outdoors – Scottish Outdoor Access Code Resources for schools

Scotland’s mountains, coasts, forests and green spaces are a fantastic resource that can shape people’s lives and it’s vital that everyone knows how to enjoy the outdoors while respecting nature and the interests of others. The key to this is the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Nature Scot created Activity Guides for schools in 2007. The guides include posters and are available for two age ranges: 8-12 and 12-14. These are available as PDF’s from the Nature Scot website.

During 2019-2021 visits to our countryside and greenspaces rose and so did incidences of poor behaviour. Visitors often knew that they had rights of access but were unaware of how their behaviour might impact upon others and how to act responsibly.

Now there is an opportunity to revisit and improve these resources for schools and to reemphasise to a young audience that with their access rights comes responsibility.

Your help would be appreciated in undertaking this task. If you have used (or can review) these packs please let Nature Scot know what they should keep and what was most useful for you.

  • What would you like to see added?
  • What format would be most/more useful for you to use in the classroom?
  • Have you any suggestions for activities you have or would use with a class that could be shared with other teachers?
  • Would you be able to assist in a further review as Nature Scot develop new resources?

Please get in touch directly with Susan.webster@nature.scot.

 

Earth Day 2021

 

22 April has been designated by the United Nations as International Mother Earth Day. This is a global day of action on climate change and biodiversity. Education Scotland is committing to doing even more to embed Learning for Sustainability into its plans and we’re inviting education settings across Scotland to do the same. This will help us prepare and make the most of the UN COP26 Summit which is being held in Scotland in November this year.

Check out the Earth Day video message from Gayle Gorman, Chief Executive of Education Scotland and Chief Inspector of Education: https://youtu.be/TS0IGUhC6SY 

Share your Earth Day plans with @EdScotLfS using the hashtag #EarthDay2021 #ThisisLfS

Further support, resources and ideas:

Happy Earth Day!

Image by David Mark from Pixabay 

Outdoor Learning webinars – register now

 

Outdoor learning with a focus on Additional Support Needs

28 October

3 15 pm for 3 30 pm webinar

Participants will hear from a range of practitioners how children and young people with additional support needs experience outdoor learning.

The webinar will include a focus on outdoor learning within primary and  secondary schools and settings which supporting complex needs.

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/outdoor-learning-with-a-focus-on-additional-support-needs-tickets-122226686309

 

Numeracy and Maths webinar

4 November

3.15 pm for 3.30 webinar

As this is a re-run if you wish to attend this – please email EDSRegionalImprovementTeam@educationscotland.gov.scot FAO Ashley Spence and ask to be added to the list

Re-run of Numeracy and Maths session held on 30 September.

 

Literacy in the outdoors

11 November

3.15 pm for 3.30 webinar

This webinar will be run by a combination of Education Scotland STEM and Literacy and English colleagues joined by presenters from The John Muir Trust who will present practical ideas for The Lost Words. East Ayrshire’s Learning Outdoors Support Team will also share inspiring literacy ideas from their work with schools. Participants will be invited to share ideas during the session.

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/literacy-in-the-outdoors-tickets-122226756519

 

Outdoor Learning and Religious & Moral Education

19 November

Webinar 4 – 5 pm pre-meet 3.30 pm

This webinar will explore links between OL and RME, identifying how RME is an excellent context for considering the relationships between OL, Beliefs, Values and Practices and Traditions. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss and share ideas during the session.

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/outdoor-learning-and-religious-moral-education-tickets-123685503671

 

Gender differences in outdoor learning

23 November

3.15 for 3.30 pm webinar

This session will use research and examples of practice to inform a discussion of gender differences in children & young people’s relationship with outdoor learning.

It will explore the implications of gender differences in participation on the wellbeing and self-efficacy of young people.

In particular it will explore:

  • Barriers young people may face in relation to outdoor learning due to their gender.

  • Implications for those who may miss out on accessing outdoor learning opportunities.

  • How stereotypes may be unwittingly reinforced.

  • Practical strategies to help overcome the barriers

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/118162117073

 

Social studies and outdoor learning focus – primary practitioners

25 November

3.15 pm for 3.30 webinar

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/outdoor-learning-webinar-tickets-113639049456

Supporting Learning Outdoors

The Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education is pleased to announce the launch of the Supporting Learning Outdoors professional e-learning course.  This course and associated guidance, developed by Education officers and SAPOE representatives from five local authorities, benefited from Scottish Government funding aimed at supporting outdoor learning. This has allowed the course to be made available, free of charge, to practitioners across Scotland and recognises the value that outdoor specialists can offer in partnership work with schools. SAPOE is keen to highlight the positive outcomes and impact collaborative practice can have on learners and their communities.

The Supporting Learning Outdoors (SLO) course will assist non-teaching staff: instructors, classroom assistants and third sector organisations, who want to work in partnership with schools to deliver meaningful curriculum based outdoor learning.  The course will help participants to gain an understanding of the Curriculum for Excellence and the framework for delivering this to pupils.  Furthermore, understand key messages on embedding and enhancing taught curriculum content into the real world context.

partnerships       #outdoorlearning

https://www.sapoe.org.uk/courses/supporting-learning-outdoors/

The Lost Words: helping unearth nature for new audiences

 

Ways in which this publishing phenomenon is being used to connect with diverse groups and learning settings are highlighted by Rob Bushby.

Read how educators, youth workers, countryside rangers and others are using The Lost Words to help inspire and engage people from all backgrounds to re-discover words – and find and interpret their own learning and meaning through creative connections with nature.

Free resources including 5 spell-poem downloads and an Explorer’s Guide are hosted by the John Muir Trust.

The Lost Words Examples April 19

Policy briefings – Learning for sustainability and outdoor learning

Moray House Institute of Education and Learning for Sustainability Scotland have produced a series of policy briefings on outdoor learning and learning for sustainability (LfS) within the Scottish context.

The policy briefings provide a concise background and overview of different aspects of LfS and outdoor learning and their impact on education and outcomes for learners. Themes covered include the impact of outdoor learning and LfS on attainment and behaviour and effective LfS also pedagogies.

Holyrood Briefing – Outdoor Learning in Scotland – 29-03-16

Holyrood Briefing – Learning for Sustainability – 29-03-16

Learning for Sustainability and Attainment – LfS Research Briefings – No.1

Impact of Outdoor Learning on LfS in schools – LfS Research Briefings – No. 2

Impact of Outdoor Learning, attainment and behaviour in schools – LfS Research Briefings – No 3

Learning for Sustainability – effective pedagogies – LfS Research Briefings – No.4

UN Decade of ESD and beyond in Scotland’s Schools – A retrospective review – LfS Research Briefings – No.5

 

Improving outcomes through learning for sustainability

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

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