Outdoor Classroom Day- 20 May


Outdoor Classroom Day- 20 May


Being outdoors and active is a vital part of growing up and living a healthy and fulfilled life, and learning outdoors has benefits for children, young people and adults alike. We would love to see some of the exciting learning taking place in your setting on Outdoor Classroom Day. Share them with @STEMedscot with the hashtag #Learnoutdoors #Outdoorclassroomday


For support on outdoor learning:

  • We have four outdoor learning webinars planned for Term 4 and you can find sign up details of these via Education Scotland Events. Check out the recordings from our Outdoor Learning webinar programme. We have been delighted to deliver these with partners such as local authorities, government departments and organisations such as Learning through Landscapes and Nature Scot.
  • Updated guidance on school visits and trips is available on the Scottish Government website
  • Our Outdoor Learning Wakelet has a great collection of resources – allowing an easy, one stop shop access to resources and support.
  • If you haven’t seen it there is a professional learning activity on supporting outdoor learning developed with SAPOE and supported by the Scottish Government. Log into our online portal to find out more.
  • A course on outdoor learning for support staff and partners is also available on the SAPOE website.
  • You can also find your local greenspace using the Outdoor Learning map developed by ENFOR (environment and forestry) staff in the Scottish Government. You can put in your establishment’s postcode and then find local greenspace, with the “5 minute walk” filter a great addition. You can also use this to discover greenspaces near your home- so please share with parents and carers.

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 

Learning for Sustainability Update

Latest news round-up

AimHi virtual sessionsclimate change and the biology curriculum

Education Scotland is partnering with AimHi to deliver three inspiring virtual sessions on LfS/Biology themes for learners and their families. The AimHi Team have delivered sessions to many thousands of viewers in over 100 countries and we’re delighted to be working with them to develop exclusive sessions specifically for the Scottish Curriculum. These are not to be missed! The first session will be this week, 7pm Wed 20 Jan, on will help viewers understand the climate crisis in 45 mins! The following sessions will look at the future of food and farms and re-wilding in Scotland. There are excellent guests involved also and the content is closely aligned to the Scottish curriculum. The latter two sessions are ideal for those with an interest in, or studying, biology. We’ve targeted these sessions at learners and their families to help build all-important STEM capital across Scotland. I’d be grateful if you could share details with your networks. The second and third sessions will run at 7:00pm on the 27 January and 3 February 2021. Join the live stream here:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/aimhis-january-lessons-tickets-133146048415

New LfS Guide – GTCS has launched a new Learning for Sustainability guide for teachers in partnership with Learning for Sustainability Scotland. The guide aims to help teachers understand their responsibility to embed Learning for Sustainability in their practice, inspiring and motivating learners to address the challenges of learning to live within the environmental limits of our planet and to build a just, equitable and peaceful society. A professional learning module is to follow. The guide is available from here: http://www.gtcs.org.uk/web/FILES/professional-guides/professional-guide-Learning-for-Sustainabilty.pdf

Food, STEM & Sustainability Online Teacher Training  The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET), The Rowett Institute, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) are offering teachers and educators online training opportunities highlighting the importance of food. The online training (endorsed by Education Scotland) covers four main subject areas – Technology & Engineering, Health & Wellbeing, Math, Big Data and food and Food & Climate. Webinars for each subject area will start with Technology & Engineering webinar focusing on the production of haggis, neeps and tatties on 20th January at 3.30pm. The online training site will go live in February with webinars running in January, February and March. Register for online sessions and webinars: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScmSeToBauMIjU_R1KWPgXT8zuRhtrDn3YppKh8UuORXqdQSA/viewform

WOSDEC Professional Learning Programme – These fully funded professional learning sessions are available to teachers across 13 local authorities. The programme includes a focus on rights, Fair Trade, SDGs, political literacy and much more: https://wosdec.org.uk/what-we-do/professional-learning-twilights/

Creative Thinking Qualification Pilot Programme  Working alongside Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh College, Daydream Believers has created a SCQF level 5 and level 6 award in Creative Thinking. The award provides a valuable framework for a wide variety of themes including STEM and Learning for Sustainability. The workshop on 29 January is open to anyone interested in piloting the award in the 2020/2021 academic session. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/creative-thinking-level-5-and-6-the-pilot-programme-tickets-132959542571

Carbon calculators and resources – Teachers may be interested in two online tools to support learning about sustainability and how the UK can progress towards its net zero ambitions. These include:

Climate grants – grants totalling £3.26m have now been  awarded to 280 community based organisations through the Community Climate Asset Fund (CCAF) that was launched in October as part of the wider Climate Challenge Fund (CCF).  At least one project has been funded in each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas. A total of 112 schools have accessed funding to support food growing. A full list of projects receiving funding is available here: https://www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/climate-change/community-climate-asset-fund/organisations-awarded-ccaf-grants/.

Speak up for nature, have your voice heard on a global stage, and win up to £500! Participants of all ages are invited to send a short 1-minute video message to world leaders and governments before the upcoming UN COP 15 meeting on biological diversity. Entry submissions are welcome until 28 Feb. Learn more at https://trustforsustainableliving.org/take-part/schools-sustainability-challenge

Dates for your diary

Launch of fund to support Outdoor Learning

The Scottish Government has launched a new £2 million fund to support residential outdoor education centres affected by the pandemic. Part of that fund will be allocated to help centres deploy staff to schools and other settings to support the delivery of outdoor learning. Headteachers may soon be contacted by centres looking to pursue this opportunity in the weeks and months ahead. More information on the fund can be found on the YouthLink Scotland website.

Round one is now open for applications. Centres are invited to apply to round one for support with essential running costs.

Please apply by 1pm on 11th December 2020.

Issue to action: Science


Global Citizenship provides a wealth of real-life contexts for learning Science.

Issues of sustainability, gender and health are explored in this series of lessons.

These materials were created by Science teachers in Scotland and are designed for use at BGE levels 3 and 4. All the activities connect to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and you can find some introductory activities to the goals here.

The materials explore 3 themes – plastic waste, gender balance in Science and health and hygiene – with short introductory activities as well as a series of lessons exploring the topics in more detail.

The lessons and worksheets in the booklet are supported by PowerPoints which you can download. All activities are mapped to ‘Experiences and Outcomes’ as well as the relevant Sustainable Development Goal.



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.



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.



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.



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



Social studies and outdoor learning focus – primary practitioners

25 November

3.15 pm for 3.30 webinar


Getting Started with Learning for Sustainability and Global Citizenship

Part 1: 23rd November 2020, 16:15 – 17:45

Part 2: 30th November 2020, 16:15 – 17:45

Part 3: 16th February 2021, 16:15 – 17:45

This free Professional Learning course is aimed at Primary and Secondary teachers, and consists of two online training sessions with an online sharing and reflection session later in the year. We will bring together strands of Learning for Sustainability (LfS) with a deeper exploration of Global Citizenship, providing practical methodologies and resources for teaching across the curriculum. Over the two sessions we will:

  • develop a shared understanding of Learning for Sustainability and Global Citizenship;
  • explore active methodologies that develop critical thinking;
  • examine themes and topics with strong Global Citizenship elements.

Click here to register and receive joining instructions.

Scotland’s young people are leading global citizens

Latest OECD PISA survey reflects learners’ positive attitudes and respect for others

Pupils in Scotland have higher than average awareness of global issues, according to an international survey run by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Data from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) on ‘global competence’ – defined as the ability to examine global and intercultural issues and understand and appreciate different perspectives – also found pupils in Scotland have very positive attitudes towards immigrants and respect for people from other parts of the world.

The assessment included a test which assessed pupils’ knowledge and understanding of global issues and the world views of others. Only two countries out of 27 who took part scored higher than Scotland.

Some of the other highlights include:

  • Scotland’s average score in the global competence assessment was 534 which was higher than the average of all participating countries of 474.
  • Scotland’s average score in the global competence assessment was 534. It was one of five countries to score at least 50 points above the average.
  • Twelve per cent of students in Scotland were assessed at Level 5, the highest level in the assessment, compared to 4.3% of students across all countries.
  • Girls outperformed boys in every country taking part in the assessment, with the exception of Scotland where performance was similar.
  • The global issues that students in Scotland were most familiar with were causes of poverty (87% of students), equality between men and women (85%), and climate change/global warming (78%).
  • A higher proportion of students in Scotland (81.4%) reported thinking of themselves as a citizen of the world than the OECD average (76.2%).
  • Almost two-thirds of students in Scotland (64.2%) reduce the amount of energy that they use at home to protect the environment.
  • More than 4 out of 5 students (82.2%) were in a school where teachers felt they could adapt their teaching to the cultural diversity of students.
  • Students in Scotland were among the 10 countries/economies (out of 66) with the most positive attitudes towards immigrants.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“One of the core aims of Curriculum for Excellence is that Scotland’s young people become responsible citizens with a knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland’s place in it. This survey shows CfE is working – our pupils are highly aware of issues beyond our borders and they are respectful of people from other parts of the world.

“Since this data was collected, a wide-ranging action plan has been published to make it easier for schools to cover important global issues such as climate change and a sustainable economy. This continuing work will help teachers equip our young people with the skills and knowledge to be active global citizens so they can contribute to sustainability goals, flourish in the global economy and contribute to the international community.”

Download the PISA 2018 Global Competence Report

Further links and resources


The PISA assessment was conducted in Scotland in 2018 across 107 schools and 2,969 pupils. Students in 27 countries/economies, including Scotland, sat both a Global Competence cognitive test and completed a Global Competence questionnaire. Students in a further 39 countries/economies completed the Global Competence questionnaire only. The other UK nations did not take part in the Global Competence test or questionnaire.

Scotland’s curriculum – Curriculum for Excellence – helps children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century, with the skills associated with global competence an important part of the curriculum framework. The Refreshed Curriculum Narrative for Scotland’s curriculum is available here.

An important cross-curricular theme within Scotland’s curriculum is the theme of Learning for Sustainability – an approach to life and learning which enables learners, educators, schools and their wider communities to build a socially just, sustainable and equitable society. Further information on Learning for Sustainability is available here.