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Outdoor Citizens

Outdoor Learning experiences for young people across the UK.

Outdoor Citizens : a sector wide campaign to ensure by 2035 every 18 year old is an Outdoor Citizen

Outdoor Citizens have respect for the outdoors. They have the knowledge and skills to both protect the natural environment and to personally thrive within it.

They are adults who have experienced outdoor adventures throughout their childhood and understand how to manage risk and challenge. Their academic success has been aided by the impact of effective outdoor learning.

Outdoor Citizens are future parents who know that outdoor education is a must have for their own children. They are connected to nature in a way that benefits their physical and mental well-being.

Outdoor Citizens are equipped to address the challenges facing the natural world - in their community, across the country and around the world.

This campaign is being run through the Outdoor Council, a group of organisations from across the Outdoor Learning Sector, including IOL, Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres, Outdoor Education Advisors Panel, British Activity Providers Association, Scouts, Young Explorers Trust and Field Studies Council. It is also observed and supported by CLOtC, AALA and Campaign for Adventure.

This is not a sound bite campaign. Nor it has it come about overnight - it reflects several years of increased co-operative working between leaders in the outdoor sector. It is a shared commitment to an evidence informed programme of work that will ensure that the 750,000 four-year olds entering reception classes in September 2022 will be guaranteed high quality outdoor learning throughout their school life and through a rich set of family, youth work and community experiences.

A Progression of Outdoor Learning Experiences

Our model is for a set of progressive experiences from birth to adulthood that build on each other to develop knowledge and skills. School – as one of the few places of universal entitlement – is of course a core part of how that progression framework should be delivered. And a large part of the Outdoor Citizen Campaign will focus on supporting schools to offer high quality outdoor learning based on what we know works in teacher CPD, effective pedagogy and school improvement.

But schools cannot - indeed should not – be alone in this. Informal learning, family and individual experiences are a vital part of the offer and we are delighted to have so many youth work and parent organisations engaged in the Campaign. We are developing what that looks like for all. Please engage in the debate

Childhood progression in outdoor learning


Developing an offer for schools

Our research with schools and parents has been clear. There appears to be no lack of great resources that schools can draw from. Whether from great curated sites like Countryside Classrooms ; national digital campaigns like RSPB Wild Challenge; days, weeks or months like Outdoor Classroom Day or 30 days Wild or brilliant local support across nature, adventure and the outdoors.

Working with schools we have developed a model that:

  • Provides a day of affordable consultancy support, accessible by any school in the country using the same process and approach, that enables schools to develop their own outdoor learning policy and plan – fit for them and for their resources,
  • Supports the lead teacher in each school; helping them to understand the characteristics of effective outdoor learning. adventure and nature education and developing their skills in choosing effective approaches,
  • Signposts schools to ongoing support that meets their needs drawing on the network of national and local providers that are supporting this campaign,
  • Provides a community of practice for the lead teacher in every school; hosted by the Institute of Outdoor Learning,
  • Helps schools navigate the wealth of resources that exist to: 1) respond to their school needs; 2) create an annual calendar of outdoor learning that helps them plan and deliver making best use of free resources and available funding and 3) a year on year curriculum and school plan that allows for progression in both knowledge and skills,
  • Balances school grounds activity with off-site visits and residentials,
  • Accredits children and young people for their progress using NOLA and other Awards,
  • Draws on work that schools are already doing to develop and accredit their approaches including the LOTC Mark,
  • Helps schools signpost parents to resources that can support out of school engagement.

We are testing this model over 2018/19

Leading Learning in the Outdoors Conference – creating a new professional network for teachers 10th October 2018, Lee Valley YHA

Core to Outdoor Citizens is creating a new professional network for teachers who have chosen to lead in outdoor learning. Hosted by the Institute of Outdoor Learning this network aims to connect a community of practice for leaders and teachers who are driving forward learning outdoors in their own school – across nature, adventure and wider outdoor learning activity.

We are holding an invite only inaugural event for this network on 10 October 2018 at YHA Lee Valley. This will coincide with the next meeting of the Outdoor Council. This event will provide an opportunity for schools leading in this field to share their practice and to look at how the outdoor learning sector can better develop their offer based around the needs of learners and schools.

Across the country there are schools who have committed to outdoor learning being both part of their curriculum and a way in which they deliver learning. This invite only event is for schools that are leading the way. This conference will allow schools both to share their practice with each other and to help inform the next steps with the Outdoor Citizens programme.

Free to attendees delegates will also get free resources, an opportunity to hear the latest in research and founding membership of the Institute of Outdoor Learning new membership for teachers. They might even get to go outdoors…………

For schools wishing to nominate themselves to attend – or for organisations wanting to nominate schools who have placed outdoor learning at the core of school life – please email - places are limited.