Inspiring Learning Beyond the Classroom conference in Surrey

Date Posted: 09/05/2018

Primary school teachers and outdoor education coordinators were inspired at the Learning Beyond the Classroom Conference.

The lively event on 20th April involved a number of motivational speakers including TV presenter Kate Humble, author of Messy Maths and Dirty Teaching Juliet Robertson and Kim Somerville from Learning Away and interim head of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.

Delegates took part in a number of workshops at the High Ashurst Outdoor Education Centre in Surrey from Literacy in the Outdoors to Woodland Discovery and Hands on History.

Getting involved with the Hands On History workshop at the conference in Surrey

Getting involved with the Hands On History workshop at the conference in Surrey.

Organised by the Surrey Outdoor Learning & Development team, the conference provided support, advice and ideas for teachers to create an outdoor learning ethos integrated across their curriculum.

TV presenter Kate Humble, best known for presenting BBC series Springwatch, spoke about her experiences of outdoor learning, telling teachers and outdoor education coordinators that “education isn’t confined to a classroom” and explaining why she feels so strongly about getting children outdoors.

Speaking to School Travel Organiser editor Keeley Rodgers, Kate said: “Children have increasingly fewer opportunities to get outside and that seems to be rooted in all sorts of things; parents being nervous about their kids going outdoors, teachers being nervous, the cost, risk assessments and health and safety.  

Teachers take part in a workshop at the conference
Teachers take part in a workshop at the conference

Kate continued: “I read a stat the other day that was terrifying; over three quarters of the UK’s children spend less time outside than our inmates in prisons. You look at the exponential rise in things like obesity, but more importantly and terrifyingly, is the rise in mental health issues in young people. I know from my own experience that if I don’t get outside I feel miserable.

“We have fantastic public access to open spaces in this country and it’s mad that we’re not using them and encouraging children to use them.”

For more information about the Surrey Outdoor Learning Team visit

Find out about Kate Humble’s memory of one of her own school trips in the latest edition of School Travel Organiser magazine.

Main image: Kate Humble speaks to delegates at the conference about her own experiences of being outdoors.

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