Abbey View is lucky enough to have a large amount of green space both on and around the Academy site... But outdoor learning is so much more...
What is outdoor learning?
Outdoor learning is a broad term that includes: outdoor play (learning through play), academy grounds projects, environmental education, recreational and adventure activities, personal and social development, work within the local community and more. Outdoor learning does not have a clearly defined boundary but it does have a common core in that it can provide a dramatic contrast to the indoor classroom. There is strong evidence that good quality outdoor learning adds much value to classroom learning. It leads to a deeper understanding of concepts that span traditional subject boundaries and which are frequently difficult to teach effectively using classroom methods alone.
Where might outdoor learning take place?
The school grounds: We are exceptionally lucky to have extensive grounds, a Story Garden, a MUGA and use of the Roundall for Forest School, which offer excellent opportunities for both formal and informal learning.
The Local Learning Area and local community: The locality around our academy harbours a wealth of opportunities within an accessible distance. Learners can develop their skills to explore their local environment including nature reserves, parks, canal, woodland areas. Within the town, there are places of worship, parks, libraries and places of business.
Visits/activities within the ‘School Learning Area’ that are part of the normal curriculum and take place during the normal school day follow the Operating Procedure below.
- do not require parental consent (unless there are any situations where we would like parents to be informed in advance such as bringing in wellies or waterproof clothing, sun hat, e.g. via a slip sent home).
- do not normally need additional risk assessments/notes (other than following the Operating Procedure below).
- planned activities will be recorded and approved on EVOLVE e.g. Forest School off-site
- ad-hoc activities do not have to be approved on EVOLVE e.g. walk in local Pines estate or into Keep Hill Woods, however it is useful to record them retrospectively as it provides evidence of outdoor learning for Ofsted, Trustees and for accreditation schemes.
The boundaries of the School Learning Area are shown on the attached map. This area includes, but is not limited to, the following frequently used venues:
- Local footpaths to the woods
- Keep Hill & Dean Garden Woods
- The Pines Estate
- The Rye Park
- Training Corps Air Cadet centre
- Hughenden Quarter residential home
- The Roundel
Educational visits: School trips are of great benefit to children's learning as they broaden and enhance our academy curriculum. We take our pupils on a number of day visits and also provide a variety of in-school visits, visitors and events starting from the Nursery.
Residential places: Staying away from home is a powerful way of developing key life skills, building confidence, self-esteem, communication and team working. Our residential visits provide children with an opportunity to widen their range of experiences and find new skills and interests in which they may excel.
Outcomes for high quality Outdoor Learning:
When planning children’s outdoor learning opportunities we include outcomes based on both academic and social/motivational aspects. The 10 outcomes for high quality outdoor learning are taken from the English Outdoor Council. They are:
Young people enjoy participating in outdoor activities and adopt a positive attitude to challenge, learning and adventure.
2. Confidence and character
Young people are developing personal confidence and character through taking on challenges and achieving success.
3. Health and wellbeing
Young people are learning to appreciate the benefits of physical fitness and the lifelong value of participation in healthy active leisure activities.
4. Social and emotional awareness
Young people are developing their self-awareness and social skills, and their appreciation of the contributions and achievements of themselves and of others.
5. Environmental awareness
Young people are becoming alive to the natural environment and understand the importance of conservation and sustainable development.
6. Activity skills
Young people are acquiring and developing a range of psychomotor skills in support of their participation in outdoor pursuits, recreation and exploration.
7. Personal qualities
Young people are demonstrating increased initiative, self-reliance, responsibility, perseverance, tenacity and commitment.
8. Skills for life
Young people are developing and extending their key skills of communication, problem-solving, leadership and teamwork.
9. Increased motivation and appetite for learning
Young people are displaying an increased motivation and appetite for learning that is contributing to raised levels of attainment and progress in other aspects of their development.
10. Broadened horizons
Young people are broadening their horizons and becoming open to a wider range of employment opportunities and life chances, life choices and lifestyles.
Learning Outside the Classroom Video