Residential Outdoor Education Experiences – a legacy for learning
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Residential Outdoor Education Experiences – a legacy for learning

Author:IOL FE
Date Added:02 May 2013

The English Outdoor Council has produced an updated research paper on residential outdoor experiences.

Residential outdoor education is a recognised and powerful learning and developmental experience, the English Outdoor Council believes that:

  • There should be a formal entitlement for all young people to a progressive range of learning outside the classroom opportunities, including at least one residential experience.
  • There should be a ring-fenced source of funding to support those young people who would not otherwise be able to afford this. (May be move towards guidance on use of funding such as Pupil Premium? FOR DISCUSSION)
  • Initial Teacher Training should incorporate how outdoor education opportunities benefit child development and learning and that training opportunities should be available as a part of ongoing professional development.

Executive Summary

  • There is crystal clear and incontestable evidence in support of learning outside the classroom in that it raises educational standards in schools, often leading to a dramatic change in self-confidence.
  • Within the broad sphere of learning outside the classroom, challenging outdoor activities and environmental studies are particularly powerful learning opportunities.  They contribute to a range of important societal targets across education, health, anti-social behaviour and community cohesion.
  • There is ‘evidence that the number of schools that offer residential experience is increasing but fewer opportunities are available for schools with more deprived catchment areas’  and as a result, not all young people benefit from these.
  • To redress this unfairness, there should be an entitlement to a progressive range of learning experiences outside the classroom, including at least one residential experience, for all young people.
  • This view is shared by much of society, including many MPs.
  •  There is a clear economic case that the entitlement should be publicly funded.
  •  However, in the current climate, it is recognised that this is unrealistic.
  •  Nevertheless, an entitlement is achievable without additional net government funding.
  •  Parents recognise the benefits and are willing to contribute.  This is justifiable.
  •  But there is a need to support those young people who would not otherwise be able to afford the experience.
  • The modest cost of such support would be balanced by savings resulting from the societal benefits.
  • This document lists the evidence and explains how the government can, even in the current economic climate, create fair access for all by creating a simple entitlement to a range of progressive outdoor learning opportunities.

Read the full EOC report here


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The Institute for Outdoor Learning supports practitioners and providers of Outdoor Learning. Our mission is to increase participation in outdoor learning in the UK and to recognise and improve the quality of outdoor learning in the UK. - See more at: http://www.outdoor-learning.org/Default.aspx?tabid=40#sthash.CUZDhwSj.dpuf
The Institute for Outdoor Learning supports practitioners and providers of Outdoor Learning. Our mission is to increase participation in outdoor learning in the UK and to recognise and improve the quality of outdoor learning in the UK. - See more at: http://www.outdoor-learning.org/Default.aspx?tabid=40#sthash.CUZDhwSj.dpuf
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