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University of Stirling and SNH: “Teachers who bring their pupils into the outdoors find it makes their learning more enjoyable, challenging, active and collaborative”

“Teachers who bring their pupils into the outdoors find it makes their learning more enjoyable, challenging, active and collaborative” according to significant Scottish study published yesterday.

The University of Stirling (School of Education) study shows that outdoor learning in school and pre-schools has increased since Curriculum for Excellence was introduced but that further increases should be made. The survey of nursery, primary and secondary schools looked at over 1000 outdoor lessons from randomly selected schools across Scotland during the summer term and compared results from surveys in 2006 and 2014.

Suzanne Hargreaves, Senior Education Officer at Education Scotland said: https://snh.presscentre.com/News-Releases/Learning-outdoors-more-engaging-says-report-180.aspx

“Across Scotland, through Curriculum for Excellence, early learning and childcare centres and schools are providing children and young people with more opportunities to learn outdoors. This is having a positive impact on learners, increasing opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and personal achievement. Learners are more engaged which in turn creates better challenge and enjoyment.”

“Whilst these findings are positive we have some challenges ahead. Greater provision is required, particularly in secondary schools in order to capitalise fully on outdoor learning of all kinds, including residential experiences. Schools in areas of deprivation also face challenges in providing this type of learning. We will continue to work with schools and outdoor learning organisations to support practitioners in realising and capitalising on the benefits of outdoor learning, and to help ensure these opportunities are open to all learners across Scotland.”

The research report on Teaching, Learning & Play in the Outdoors is now available on the SNH website at: https://www.snh.gov.uk/publications-data-and-research/publications/search-the-catalogue/publication-detail/?id=2225

This research considers to what extent, in what ways and with what impacts schools and pre-schools are utilising the school grounds, local areas, and other places beyond as settings for the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence. It revisits SNH Commissioned Report 225: Young people’s interaction with natural heritage through outdoor learning to consider changes in provisions of outdoor learning and play in Scotland. It also provides new baseline measures on the impacts of taking learning outdoors.

The research also shows that Scottish schools are teaching all subjects outdoors.  This was further emphasised yesterday with the publication of Education Scotland’s Religious and Moral Education through Outdoor Learning. This resource designed to encourage professional dialogue, explores how high quality learning and teaching in religious and moral education (RME) can be delivered through outdoor learning.  The recently published Education Scotland “Opening Up Great Learning; learning for sustainability” document promotes a whole school and community approach to outdoor learning. https://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/Images/OUGLLfS_tcm4-853883.pdf

A further specific “Opening Up Great Learning; outdoor learning” document is to follow!