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Outdoor Learning and the new Curriculum

Author:IOL FE
Date Added:08 July 2013

New national curriculum is announced for state schools in England.

Michael Gove sets out 'core knowledge' curriculum plans

In a speech this week, Michael Gove promised to rid the curriculum of "vapid happy talk" and ensure pupils had a structured "stock of knowledge".

The new Curriculum

Five year olds will be tackling fractions and computer algorithms, as a more stretching national curriculum is announced for state schools in England. The government says the curriculum changes are designed to catch up with the world's best education systems. Prime Minister David Cameron says this "revolution in education" is vital for the country's economic prosperity. Labour said the curriculum should be written by experts and not depend on ministers' "personal prejudices". Teachers' unions have warned that the timetable for implementing the changes in autumn 2014 is "completely unrealistic". Head teachers have also asked whether politicians should be so directly involved in deciding what is taught in the classroom. Labour's Stephen Twigg said the ideas were "backward-looking and narrow".

Mr Gove set out the principles underpinning forthcoming changes to what is taught in England's primary and secondary schools. He argued that for young people to understand and engage with the changing world around them, they needed to be equipped with core sets of information, in areas from science to culture and history.

What does it say about Outdoor Adventure Activities?

Outdoor Adventure Activities are clearly in KS2-4. KS 1-4 also requires fieldwork in Geography which is a positive.

An extract from KS1
'......use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.'

  • "The emphasis on engaging with the natural environment is definitely not as strong as many of us would have liked", said Andy Robinson IOL, CEO.

Other good news is this statement
'....we have added explicit references to climate change at key stage 3 in the geography curriculum. This is in addition to the content that was already present in both science and geography which will give pupils a rigorous, fact-based understanding of the science underpinning climate change.'

Opportunity to Comment

We now have an opportunity to comment on the proposed new programmes of study and attainment targets.  Comments to be submitted by 8th Aug.  Any member wishing us to incorporate their views should get comments to us by the 5th August.  Here’s the link to the DfE consultation


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The Institute for Outdoor Learning encourages outdoor learning by developing quality, safety and opportunity to experience outdoor activity provision and by supporting and enhancing the good practice of those who work in the outdoors.

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