Government plans revealed to get more children outdoors

Date Posted: 22/11/2018

The Department for Education’s plans to encourage more schools to get children more active hit the headlines today, with the i newspaper leading with the story on its front page.

According to the paper, the Department for Education is looking to introduce new measures which will aim to help children build character and resilience. 

The i reports that DfE and education secretary, Damian Hinds, will be publishing a bucket list of life goals that every UK school can use, detailing activities and achievements that children should be experiencing by the end of Primary school.

Among some of the activities i newspaper claims DfE will be recommending, include climbing trees, building rockets and watching the sun rise.
 

Other activities suggested involve outdoor pursuits such as camping and exploring as well as putting on performances and learning new crafts.

It is reported that the DfE aims for the list to be adaptable for each individual school and will allow them to set their own targets.

Damian Hinds told i newspaper: “Bluntly, it is about doing stuff that doesn’t involve looking at a screen. It’s about getting out and about. 

“We put a lot effort into making sure we can share really good curriculum plans and teaching materials. This is an equivalent of that for stuff outside the curriculum in recognition of the fact that what you do academically is only part of the story.

“We hope having a list itself helps to stimulate a conversation about all the brilliant things to discover when you are growing up.

Education secretary Damian Hinds

Education secretary, Damian Hinds (pictured above) has responded on twitter to the i newspaper story saying: “I'm keen to work with expert organisations to develop a 'starter for ten' list like this passport, available to any school that wants to use it, that they can amend to suit their own area and community, for the benefit of more children and families.”

The idea has reportedly been based around the National Trust's idea of '50 things to do before you're 11 3/4'.

An important time for school trips

The news is well timed, coming during a period when the importance of school trips is under the spotlight, following last week’s School Travel Awards ceremony in London. The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom is also staging its annual conference and awards at the Black Country Living Museum.

School Travel Organiser editor, Keeley Rodgers said: “It’s really positive news to hear that the government is looking to encourage more children to experience the great outdoors; let’s hope that the ambition does not stop at the school gate. 

“Over recent years, governments have backed off publicly supporting the importance of school trips. Not only do they need to champion this important area, but move toward embedding it into the curriculum. I will watch these developments closely and hope that the DoE will engage with us and other organisations that promote learning outside the classroom.”

School Travel Organiser's Guide