Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC)

Subject aims 

Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) is the use of places other than the classroom for teaching and learning. It is about getting children and young people out and about, providing them with challenging, exciting and different experiences to help them learn and engage in education. 

We recognise that outdoor learning is a powerful tool that can raise attainment, bolster social, emotional and personal development and that contributes to the health and well-being of children and young people. We believe that Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) is an essential provision for curriculum delivery.  

Key Stage 3 and 4 

Key stage 3 students and selected key stage 4 groups engage with LOtC on a termly basis; engaging in one full day’s off-site lesson each week. Students learn the essential values required whilst out on LOtC; Safety - Learn - Respect and gain an understanding of the responsibilities of ‘Self’, ‘Others’ and ‘the Environment’. At ACE we teach these essential skills using the below learning environments, venues and activities:  

Coastal Exploration   

Exploring the southwest coast line and beautiful beaches and rock pools provides students with the opportunity to learn about marine conservation, coastal erosion, flood defenses, tidal ranges, and effects of the weather. ‘Experiential learning’ is a key component to student’s development and enables individuals to learn through play and creativity.     

Woodland Discovery   

Using local woodlands, forests and plantations students learn about the natural environment and get to sharpen their 5 senses and discover native trees, plants and learn about the geography of local river systems. Using these picturesque green spaces enables students to connect with the natural environment and experience some of the local wildlife in their natural habitat.  

Dartmoor 10 Tors Challenge    

Using Dartmoor National Park as our learning environment, students develop the basic skills required to navigate, route-find and stay safe in the outdoors. Having the opportunity to discover and explore Dartmoor’s windswept and majestic granite Tors students learn about the geology of rock formations and ancient history of how people and communities used to live. 

Bushcraft and Wilderness Living Skills 

As part of our off-site woodland classroom students learn bush craft and wilderness living skills such as; fire lighting, shelter building, wood whittling and bread making and develop wood craft skills using hand held tools and other resources. Students are taught how to safely handle the use of basic hand tools and are required to demonstrate appropriate risk awareness before progressing further.  

Indoor wall climbing and the National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS)  

The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) provides a 5-step pathway to recognise and award student progress in indoor wall climbing. Its aim is to “develop climbers through quality coaching”.  

As well as the many physical benefits the below list highlights the many mental benefits gained through indoor climbing:  

  • Decision Making 

  • Visualization 

  • Problem Solving 

  • Goal Setting 

  • Planning 

  • Concentration 

  • Determination 

  • Self Confidence 

  • Stress Relief 

  • Sense of Achievement 

  • Spatial awareness 

  • Motor Skills 

Orienteering  

Learning how to read and use a map correctly, identifying natural features and having the confidence to follow a set route is an integral part of what the students learn whilst orienteering. Navigating is made fun and easy to understand in order to help each student engage and develop new skills.  

First Aid skills and the Mini-Medics Award  

As part of our LOtC provision, student are taught basic life support skills such as; the roles and responsibilities of a first aider, dealing with an unconscious casualty, giving CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation), bandaging, the use of an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and the recovery position. On successful completion of the training students are awarded the Mini-Medics certificate.  

Personal and Team Development   

Developing ‘self’ and ‘others’ is an integral part of all that we teach on our LOtC provision. Students are encouraged to develop their resilience, self-confidence, motivation, leadership skills and communication through specific team building tasks and challenges. Students have the opportunity to develop their social skills through interacting with communities, school staff and peers.  

Urban visits  

Each term students have the opportunity to explore urban setting such as towns, villages and cities and get to visit museums, zoos, aquariums, historical building and national trust estates.  Creating opportunities for our students to learn through a variety of different learning environments provides our students with a greater understanding of society and the wider world around them.  

Further information 

Subject related web sites: 

https://www.robertbloomfield.beds.sch.uk/page/?title=Curriculum+Subjects&pid=38 

https://www.samuelwhitbread.org.uk/page/?title=Mathematics&pid=106 

http://www.raymears.com/  

http://www.natureskills.com/survival/basic-survival-skills/  

http://members.scouts.org.uk/supportresources/600/survival-skills-activity-badge/?cat=7,64,172&moduleID=10  

http://www.britishorienteering.org.uk/page/newcomers_guide  

http://www.trainingzone.co.uk/topic/z-free-teambuilding-resources  

Useful statistics:  

  • 95 per cent of children surveyed said outdoor learning makes lessons more enjoyable 

  • 90 per cent said they felt happier and healthier 

  • 72 per cent of children said they got on better with others 

  • 93 per cent of schools said outdoor learning improves pupils’ social skills 

  • 92 per cent of schools said it improves pupils’ health and wellbeing and engages them with learning 

  • 85 per cent of schools saw a positive impact on behaviour 

  • 90 per cent of staff surveyed found outdoor learning to be useful for curriculum delivery 

  • 72 per cent of schools reported that outdoor learning had a positive impact on teachers’ health and wellbeing 

  • 79 per cent of teachers surveyed said outdoor learning had a positive impact on their teaching practice and 69 per cent said it had a positive impact on their professional development 

  • 72 per cent said outdoor learning improved their health and wellbeing and 69 per cent said it had a positive impact on their job satisfaction