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Supporting Schools

Supporting Schools with Outdoor Learning during COVID-19

Supporting Schools


This summer, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect and, each day, 70,000 young people and 20,000 adults are currently estimated to not be benefitting from outdoor learning experiences (Sector Impact Report).

Across the UK, children have been missing out on formative experiences with their classmates developing resilience, self-motivation and hope alongside their curriculum needs.

As the UK moves towards recovery, Institute for Outdoor Learning members are ready to share experience and resources to create a future where outdoor citizens of all ages have a lifelong engagement with the outdoors for learning, mental and physical health, wellbeing and nature connection.


Immediate Support

The sector has a wealth of experience and resources, including talented instructors, coaches and trainers (who know their local outdoor environment well) who can support a return to school with social distancing and provision of outdoor exercise.

We can:

  • Give advice to SLT and governors on taking learning outside safely using your available space.
  • Provide resources and support lesson planning to enable your staff to run outdoor learning in your school grounds.
  • Deliver specialist outdoor learning sessions for your pupils (e.g. team building, archery, orienteering, forest school, bushcraft, etc.).

Medium Term Support

Building on existing and new partnerships, outdoor learning professionals and businesses can assist schools to capitalise on Government support for the outdoors as well as offer use of facilities often with extensive grounds.

We can:

  • Deliver outdoor learning sessions and programmes in new venues and new ways using the accessible grounds, parks and footpaths close to your school.
  • Provide training to upskill and enable teachers to be more effective contributors to outdoor learning in schools where there is already an option/opportunity.

Longer Term Support

Working together, schools and the outdoor learning sector can create a future where the outdoors is a widely used teaching environment across the curriculum, and outdoor citizens of all ages have a lifelong engagement with the outdoors for mental and physical health, wellbeing and nature connection.

We can:

  • Assist the SLT and governors to take a whole school approach and support their staff to utilise outdoor learning across the curriculum.
  • Increase outdoor learning capacity in the school sector by developing and providing solutions as part of Initial Teacher Training, INSET, and National Professional Qualifications.
  • Support changes to how outdoor learning is valued at a policy level that would lead to increased use of outdoor learning in all schools.

Join a Webinar

Could you offer a webinar which would help/inspire teachers, teaching assistants and their leaderships teams to overcome the perceived barriers of outdoor learning. Please contact Louise to offer to host a future event.


Connect with local Outdoor Learning Businesses

IOL Organisational Members actively support the standards, future and reputation of outdoor learning. Work with one of our 600+ IOL Organisational Members and benefit from their expertise, experience, passion and commitment.

Organisational Members of IOL can help your school meet the challenge of COVID-19 and provide guidance, staff, training, specialist resources and sessions for your pupils.

View the map of Organisational Members of IOL here.

Contact IOL and we can put you in touch with members in your area.


Connect with local Outdoor Learning Professionals

IOL accreditation awards recognise experienced and professional practitioners of Outdoor Learning. Nearly 1000 people have achieved accreditation with IOL and support outdoor learning no matter which field (footpath, lake, mountain, sea or forest) that they operate in.

Accredited Members of IOL can help your school meet the challenge of COVID-19 Social Distancing and work as part of your school team to adapt the curriculum and lead outdoor learning sessions for your pupils.

  • RPIOL Holders are competent instructors, leaders or teachers with enthusiasm for delivering outdoor learning sessions.
  • APIOL Holders are experienced in designing, planning, leading and evaluating programmes of outdoor learning for individuals and groups.
  • LPIOL Holders operate with a medium to long-term strategic focus, anticipating and shaping the future.

Many of our members are also qualified teachers and are able to support indoor learning as well should you have a staffing need.

View the map of Accredited Members of IOL here.

Contact IOL and we can put you in touch with members in your area.

Teaching Outdoors Resources

The Teaching Outdoors webpage has links and articles for taking the curriculum outside to improve attainment, increase engagement, and develop a wide range of skills including problem solving, communication and resilience.

Horizons magazine is a quarterly publication which shares good practice articles written by Outdoor Learning professionals for Outdoor Learning professionals. Several hundred articles have been published and IOL Members have FREE access to ALL past issues - here is a selection from the Horizons Article Archive that might be useful for those looking for fresh ideas or inspiration over the coming months.


Taking Learning Outdoors





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