A new Natural England-funded project to demonstrate the enormous benefits of outdoor learning to children and develop a model(s) of using ‘hub’ schools to support and deliver teacher training, is now available.
The project, which is funded by Natural England, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Historic England and delivered by Plymouth University, is the largest project of its kind in England and has already helped more than 40,000 primary and secondary school pupils get out of their classrooms and into the outdoors – whether that’s a maths lesson in a local park or drama out on the school field.
Sue Waite, Associate Professor in Outdoor Learning at Plymouth University, said: “The model for this project was built on substantial evidence into both the benefits and challenges schools face when embedding outdoor learning into core teaching. By working directly with teachers we’ve helped to bring about a sustainable culture of outdoor learning across schools that will continue long after the project has ended and will leave behind a lasting legacy.”
The Natural Connections project focused mainly on areas of deprivation in Plymouth, Torbay, Bristol, Cornwall and Somerset, working in both urban and rural schools with varying school grounds and access to local green spaces. These areas are now developing innovative ways to continue supporting outdoor learning across the school networks they have established through the project.
Natural England is now working with partners to help share the findings from this project to support and enhance the delivery of outdoor learning in schools across England. A full copy of the Natural Connections project report can be downloaded from Natural England’s Access to Evidence publications catalogue
A short video has been produced to accompany the publication of the project report. The film highlights the achievements of the project and includes contributions from teachers and pupils talking about their positive experience.