The Aim of the Project
To examine the acceptability of an outdoor learning programme within the Key Stage Two curriculum and explore headteachers, teachers and pupils’ views and experiences to understand the process of implementation.
An Overview of the Project
A mutual relationship between health, well-being and education exists. An engaging curriculum that facilitates children in achieving their academic potential has strong implications for educational outcomes, future employment prospects and health and well-being during adulthood.
Outdoor learning is a pedagogical approach used to enrich learning, enhance school engagement and improve pupil health and well-being. However, its non-traditional means of achieving curricular aims are not yet recognised beyond the early years by education inspectorates.
Through the HAPPEN project, researchers conducted interviews and focus groups with headteachers, teachers and pupils in three primary schools in South Wales to understand the process of implementing an outdoor learning programme within the curriculum. A number of benefits, barriers and suggestions were identified and are highlighted below:
- Gave pupils a sense of freedom and increased engagement with learning
- Offered quieter pupils space to express themselves
- Engaged more challenging pupils
- Catered for different styles of learning
- Improved skills through ‘fun’ learning e.g. communication, team work
- Improved behaviour, well-being and increased physical activity for pupils
- Improved personal well-being and job satisfaction for teachers
- Lack of equipment e.g. outdoor clothes
- Lack of outdoor learning specific resources
- Staff ratios
- All dependent on enthusiasm and personality of teacher
- Clear rules and boundaries are needed to ensure safety outdoors
- Lessons should be once or twice a week to maintain novelty
- Shared practice between schools
The publication is currently in press.