Pointers for getting the most out of the practice of learning outside the classroom.
1. Stockpile the evidence. Recognise the value of learning outside the classroom (LOtC) in achieving the outcomes you want for your young people. This will make it easier to prioritise and resource LOtC.
Several research studies have been conducted over the course of the past 12 months that demonstrate links between away from desk education and both personal and academic attainment. These include the Learning Away and Good from Woods research projects.
Next spring, the results of the Natural Connections Demonstration Project will also be revealed, which should give an insight into the ways school children can benefit when learning in natural environments (LINE) is adopted as best practice in schools.
2. Ensure commitment to LOtC is underpinned in school policy and the learning development plan.
3. Mobilise support from governors, staff, parents and the wider community. Enlisting family and community members in school trips is not only useful PR for your cause, but it can also boost the impact of LOtC experiences for children.
4. Support the CPD of the team to improve the quality of teaching through more effective use of LOtC.
5. Utilise Pupil Premium funding to finance trips for disadvantaged pupils.
6. Ensure that learning outside the classroom is a feature of all subject areas and not confined to a few.
7. Make better use of the grounds and immediate locality to promote learning outside the classroom.
8. Evaluate the impact of learning outside the classroom on pupils’ and students’ attainment and progress.
9. Use the LOtC Mark as a tool to develop your LOtC provision. Read more at www.lotc.org.uk.
10. Make more of the opportunities offered by residentials.
11. Join the community of passionate outdoor learning and educational visit practitioners. You can network with likeminded people at a range of conferences and events throughout the year. These include the annual Council for Learning Outside the Classroom Conference around October time. Or the Earth Education UK collaborative weekend in Suffolk between 15th and 17th April.
Also, if you join the Institute for Outdoor Learning, you can join in with regular local networking events.
12. Read up on best practice. The National Guidance gives clear health and safety guidance for employers, heads, EVCs, visit leaders, governors and parents to make LOtC easier to plan and deliver. Access the guidance for free oeapng.info.
The above tips were provided with the help of The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.