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INSET - Enabling Outdoor Learning

Helping teachers deliver outdoor learning in the curriculum

Helping teachers deliver outdoor learning in the curriculum


Whatever outdoor space and facilities a school may have, these can be used and developed to provide an exciting learning environment where pupils can engage in stimulating learning experiences outside the classroom – however, without teachers who are confident and empowered to use the outdoors, then these learning opportunities will not be realised to their full potential.

Are you in any of the following situations?

  • I want to maximise learning in my school
  • I want to introduce a range of real life experiences for my pupils but I don’t know where to start
  • I want to develop activities myself rather than rely on an outside provider
  • I want to try new ways of managing behaviour
  • I want to motivate my staff and get everyone behind the idea that they can use whatever outdoor space we have effectively and for everyone’s benefit
  • It’s dangerous isn’t it – how do I manage the risk?
  • My staff are worried about time, extra planning, class management, risk management
  • How do I justify what I want to do to parents and governors?
  • I would like to use a provider but they need to be the right provider…




Enabling Outdoor Learning

Image - courtesy of Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre

IOL can help

Through our CPD training and support, teachers can develop the skills and confidence to plan creatively and implement exciting outdoor activities throughout the curriculum.

We can work with you and your staff team to show them the world outside the classroom and spot the infinite opportunities for learning that interacting with the real world presents. We will facilitate your staff feeling at home outside the classroom, using the outdoors to amaze, educate and inspire, but also in becoming confident to manage students and keep them safe.

Enabling Outdoor Learning Events

Enabling Outdoor Learning (EOL) is a well-established and highly valued programme with enjoyable workshops, presentations, networking opportunities, signposting to other training, advice and guidance from experts. These one-day celebrations of outdoor learning are held in school grounds and their surrounding areas. They are designed to build confidence and competency as well as develop skills and understanding.

  • “.... new skills I’ll use straight away.”
  • “I was encouraged to find out how easy and applicable the activities were without needing a lot of resources.”
  • “Activities will fit into our current curriculum.”

EOL Events


What could be covered during an Enabling Outdoor Learning Day

First Steps

An introduction to the thinking behind learning outdoors and getting out of the classroom.

Problem Solving & Teambuilding Activities

Having the skills to work together as a group underpins most outdoor learning. This workshop will be experiential – you will take part in a range of activities and build a range of ideas that you can use, but also, crucially, look at how you might facilitate the team development process and build up a tool bag that will enable you to build an awareness of team dynamics and how to intervene....or not....appropriately at the right time.

Developing fieldwork - literacy and numeracy as well as geography

This session will look at how understanding and interacting with a map can be used to cover far more than just geography. We will examine how you can use your school grounds as a resource for literacy and numeracy and also think about practical management strategies when outside the classroom. The workshop will be fully interactive.

Foraging, Fires and Outdoor Cooking

This session will enable us to look at concepts such as risk versus benefit and show you how to use a fire as a safe part of your outdoor learning programme.
We will break down the stages of fire lighting into a progressive set of skills then experiment with a variety of fire-based activities, discussing their value, appropriateness and management.

An Introduction to the Environmental Learning Cards

These cards from the Outdoor Education Adviser’s Panel provide a practical and easy to follow series of activities that are designed to engage young people in environmental learning across a variety of curricular areas - around or close to the school. We will examine a selection of the 25 cards, try out and evaluate the activities, and think about how and when you might use them as well as how you might manage your group whilst doing so.

Next Steps

Taking the learning from the workshops and applying it back in school - what to do next!

Outcomes of initiating outdoor learning in school


  • ‘Outdoor learning projects capture pupils’ imagination and make them keen to learn more’
  • ‘Imaginative curriculum planning, particularly for outdoor learning means learning is purposeful, active and fun’
  • ‘The many opportunities for pupils to learn outside the classroom generate an excitement about learning and help all pupils to experience success across many subject areas’
  • ‘The well-used outdoor facilities support learning across the curriculum and also allow pupils to find a quiet space to pause and reflect within the busy school day.’

Whatever outdoor space and facilities a school may have, these can be used and developed to provide an exciting learning environment where pupils can engage in stimulating learning experiences outside the classroom. Teachers who are confident and empowered to use the outdoors mean these learning opportunities can be realised to their full potential.

Feedback from teachers who have participated in EOL


  • "Lots of ideas....I'm going to be outside tomorrow".
  • "Great to get so many practical ideas to take back and apply to all ages".
  • "Very inspiring" "...a fantastic idea!" "I felt so relaxed"
  • "Very informative. Enjoyed all of the workshops. Everything was well organised and practical – I can really use it back at school."
  • "Fantastic delivery – What a treat to actually get to do the activities as opposed to just listen to the theory."
  • "Activities will fit into our current curriculum."
  • "I am very motivated and excited to pass stuff on to pupils."
  • "... it’s renewed my enthusiasm and motivation for planning outdoor lessons"
  • "Increased knowledge of learning outside the classroom and what other schools do and the challenges they face."
  • "Many new activities learned which I will be able to deliver to my class"
  • "I was encouraged to find out how easy and applicable the activities were without needing a lot of resources"
  • "lots of new skills I can use straight away."


INSET – Enabling Outdoor Learning - Providers

EOL is delivered through the IOL Home Nation and Regional Committees and by directly by providers of IOL Accredited Courses. Whichever route you choose we will connect you with the resources and expertise to use the potential of the outdoors to give context, amaze and inspire your pupils.




Warwick Mill Business Centre, Warwick Bridge, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA4 8RR

+44 (0)1228 564580



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