Education offering more Outdoor Learning following pandemic

Schools and education settings across Scotland are increasingly using outdoor learning in their lessons, according to a new report published by Education Scotland.

The findings are part of a new national thematic inspection report published by Scotland’s HM Inspectors of Education that highlights the features of effective practice in outdoor learning.

HM Inspectors visited schools and other education settings between November and December 2021 to evaluate how well outdoor learning is embedded in Scotland’s curriculum.

Gayle Gorman, Chief Inspector of Education and Chief Executive of Education Scotland said: "Scotland has a long history of engaging children and young people with the outdoors and our curriculum continues to place value on outdoor learning. It provides a relaxed setting for learners and offers lots of learning possibilities.

"During our visits to education settings, we found many strong examples of outdoor learning. Staff are rising to the challenges of the pandemic and employing new and creative ways to engage learners using the outdoors. In doing so, many staff are learning new skills and developing new partnerships.

"We know children and young people enjoy first-hand experience outdoors, whether within the school grounds, in urban green spaces, in Scotland’s countryside or in other environments."

The report focuses on sharing the key features which, when taken together, make the greatest difference to learning outdoors to improve learning and teaching and in turn, outcomes for children and young people.

Janie McManus, Strategic Director for Scrutiny at Education Scotland, continued: "We have found that circumstances arising from this pandemic have accelerated the breadth and depth of outdoor learning across sectors.

"Those working in education are continuing to maximise the potential of the outdoors to enhance children’s and young people’s learning experiences. As a result, outdoor learning is increasingly becoming an embedded feature of our learners’ everyday experience."