This section contains a series of articles and documents that have formed Outdoor Education strategy and direction at a national level. Each of these has gone some way to shaping the content and structure of activities and sessions here at Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre.

EVERY CHILD MATTERS

At Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre our ethos and activities contribute specifically to all aspects of the Every Child Matters agenda:

Be healthy

Participating in a range of outdoor adventurous activities (OAA) is a perfect way for children to experience new and exciting sports and activities, which can be both physically and mentally challenging. OAA activities can help reduce obesity while improving young people’s personal and social development.

Stay safe

Our OAA provide challenges and elements of risk taking that children have to identify, deal with and conquer. Risk taking is a natural part of growing up and we believe that helping young people to recognise risk and to make sound judgments can clearly contribute to reductions in accidents and improved decision making skills throughout their lives ultimately making them more responsible citizens.

Enjoy and achieve

Children learn best when they are having fun and involved in activities that focus their interest. Our activities are designed for children to find their own limitations, whilst ensuring everyone succeeds. Tackling OAA can be quite frightening to many young people but the achievement can be enormously rewarding. For those young people who are not academically focused, learning out of the classroom can stimulate and inspire them to improve their attitude towards learning.

Make a positive contribution

Our OAA encourage young people to develop and extend key skills such as communication, co-operation, problem solving, leadership and respect for others. Developing these skills help individuals to better understand how they and others may contribute towards a team, a common goal or objective. This may then be related and extended to the contributions they are able to make to their local community and society as a whole.

Achieve economic well-being

Our OAA help young people to develop self-esteem and improve their inter-personal skills. The ability to be able to work as part of a team, independently, communicate ideas and make decisions are all attributes that employers look for.

LEARNING OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM MANIFESTO

Published on 28 November 2006, following earlier consultation, the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOTC) Manifesto sets out the Government’s vision and encourages organisations to sign-up to the pledges contained within.

The manifesto states:

“We believe that every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability and circumstances”

Learning Outside the Classroom is defined as “the use of places other than the classroom for teaching and learning”. Central to the vision is the need to “transfer learning experienced outside to the classroom and vice versa”.

The DfES add that “there is strong evidence that good quality learning outside the classroom adds much to the value of classroom learning. It can lead to a deeper understanding of the concepts that span traditional subject boundaries and which are frequently difficult to teach using classroom methods alone.”

To view the learning outside the classroom website visit: www.lotc.org.uk

Educational benefits of LOtC:

When these experiences are well planned, safely managed and personalised to meet the needs of every child they can:

  • Improve academic achievement.
  • Provide a bridge to higher order learning.
  • Develop skills and independence in a widening range of environments.
  • Make learning more engaging and relevant to young people.
  • Develop active citizens and stewards of the environment.
  • Nurture creativity.
  • Provide opportunities for informal learning through play.
  • Reduce behaviour problems and improve attendance.
  • Stimulate, inspire and improve motivation.
  • Develop the ability to deal with uncertainty.
  • Provide challenge and the opportunity to take acceptable levels of risk.
  • Improve young people’s attitudes to learning.

Benefits to your pupils:

As well as the opportunity to enjoy and experience new activities LOPC staff understand the personal and social educational learning opportunities that can be gained through the outdoors. Our Instructors have the skills to create meaningful learning experiences in a positive learning environment. We engage pupils in fun and active ways, where they are encouraged to reflect and think about what they have learned about themselves and others.

We give pupils many opportunities to experience success and to celebrate their achievements, leading to greater self-confidence and improved self-esteem.

Report from Ofsted in 2008:

LOTC – how far should we go?

At a time when the government is actively promoting learning outside the classroom this report evaluates the importance of such learning in primary and secondary schools and colleges.

The Ofsted report (02/10/08) reveals that pupils’ participation and achievement can benefit significantly from getting involved with activities outside the classroom — but not all schools and colleges are reaping the full benefits because some do not incorporate many off-site experiences into the curriculum. In the sample of schools visited, it found that well-planned activities not only enhance pupils’ learning, but can also re-engage those who are hard to motivate.

Click here to read or download the full report.

Sign Up to the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto:

Leicester City Schools have the opportunity to sign-up to the National Manifesto on Learning Outside the Classroom.

Every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances. The Manifesto acts as a shared statement of intent for all who see the benefits to young people and want to help bring about this vision of high quality, meaningful learning experiences for all.

All who support the Manifesto’s vision are invited to endorse and champion it by becoming a signatory, and to pledge any actions they are planning to take in support of the stated aims. Find out more about pledges and signatories and to see which organisations and individuals have already signed up click here.

HIGH QUALITY OUTDOOR LEARNING

Written and produced by the English Outdoor Council in partnership with a range of national outdoor learning organisations “High Quality Outdoor Learning” is a guide to recognising and achieving High Quality Outdoor Learning in Schools, Youth Services, Clubs and Centres.

It deals with areas such as “What is Outdoor Learning” and “How do young people participate” and goes on to discuss ten outcomes of quality provision which are:

1. Enjoyment
Young people enjoy participating in outdoor activities and adopt a positive attitude to challenge, learning and adventure.

2. Confidence and Character
Young people are developing personal confidence and character through taking on challenges and achieving success.

3. Health and Well-being
Young people are learning to appreciate the benefits of physical fitness and the lifelong value of participation in healthy active leisure activities.

4. Social and Emotional Awareness
Young people are developing their self-awareness and social skills, and their appreciation of the contributions and achievements of themselves and of others.

5. Environmental Awareness
Young people are becoming alive to the natural environment and understand the importance of conservation and sustainable development.

6. Activity Skills
Young people are acquiring and developing a range of psychomotor skills in support of their participation in outdoor pursuits, recreation and exploration.

7. Personal Qualities
Young people are demonstrating increased initiative, self-reliance, responsibility, perseverance, tenacity and commitment.

8. Skills for Life
Young people are developing and extending their key skills of communication, problem-solving, leadership and teamwork.

9. Increased Motivation and Appetite for Learning
Young people are displaying an increased motivation and appetite for learning that is contributing to raised levels of attainment and progress in other aspects of their development.

10. Broadened Horizons
Young people are broadening their horizons and becoming open to a wider range of employment opportunities and life chances, life choices and lifestyles.

For each outcome it lists potential indicators that would show these outcomes taking place.

The full document can be read and downloaded here.

NOTHING VENTURED...

Nothing Ventured…
Balancing risk and benefits in the outdoors by Tim Gill

Authored by Tim Gill and written with support from the English Outdoor Council, the Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom this document looks at attitudes to, and perceptions of, risk in the outdoors. It puts forward the view that a balanced assessment of not only risk but also benefit is essential when deciding whether to undertake activities or not.

It offers support and reassurance to outdoor practitioners and teachers and dispels several myths and misconceptions about outdoor adventurous activities.

The full document can be seen here.