Last Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2021

Outdoor Learning as a context and an approach for learning – Middleton Park School – Aberdeen City

What is this?

A whole school approach where outdoor learning has been embedded to enrich the curriculum. This provides rich learning experiences that have both raised aspirations and attainment across the school.

Who is this for?

This will be of interest and use to all involved in education, particularly headteachers and early, first, second and third level practitioners.

How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

Through watching the videos you will get a deeper understanding of the whole approach to impact on attainment.

Improvement questions

  • What progress and achievement do children and young people gain from our outdoor learning experiences?
  • How effective is our whole school overview in ensuring children's knowledge and skills are built appropriately over time?
  • Is outdoor learning a regular progressive curriculum led experience of all learners?

What was done?

This approach began through a whole school World War 1 context. Local rangers and outdoor specialists supported staff in developing their skills and confidence in taking the learning outdoors. Staff then worked collaboratively in "buddy classes" to develop a range of literacy and numeracy activities across the school.

This has been shared with parents through videos.

Watch videos (on Vimeo)


This approach was introduced to ensure all pupils experienced the totality of the curriculum in a fun and engaging way.

What was the impact?

Through this approach with a focus on literacy and numeracy the curriculum has been given added depth and breadth with resulting increased attainment.

Through effective professional learning staff have taken ownership in developing the outdoor learning experiences across the school.

It promotes health and wellbeing through a strong emphasis on regular outdoor opportunities.

Using this approach in schools with high levels of poverty has resulted in an increase in children's engagement in their learning.