Memorandum submitted by the Department
for Education and Skills
1. The Department published its Five
Year Strategy for Children and Learners in July 2004. It sets
out an ambitious agenda for reform which will give high standards
for all within a broad and rich curriculum. Out of classroom learning
is an important contributor to an enriched curriculum.
2. Five key principles underpin our drive
for a step change:
greater personalisation and choice
with the needs of children, parents and learners at the centre;
opening up services to new and different
providers and new ways of delivering services;
freedom and independence for frontline
headteachers, governors and managers with clear simple accountabilities
and more secure streamlined funding arrangements;
a major commitment to staff development
with high quality support and training to improve assessment,
care and teaching;
partnerships with parents, employers,
volunteers and voluntary organisations to maximise the life chances
of children, young people and adults.
3. For schools this translates into more
freedom to teach and to improve. We intend to strip out unnecessary
bureaucracy, give teachers and headteachers more confidence, and
treat different schools differentlychallenging those that
underperform, but being less directive with those that perform
well. This means a single annual review (less often for high performing
schools) conducted by a "school improvement partner";
a new inspection regime with shorter, sharper inspections and
a stronger role for school self evaluation. We will help schools
to engage more effectively with parents and the local community.
4. For pupils, at both primary and secondary
schools this means a richer curriculum, with better teaching and
more personalised support. Our focus on subject specialism will
enable teachers to refresh and develop their subject knowledge
and teaching skills. Our network of specialist schools will grow,
until all secondary schools of sufficient standard are specialist
by 2008, providing strong community links and centres of curriculum
5. The thrust of these reforms is to demand
excellence and high standards for all within a framework of accountability,
support and challenge. The majority of schools will have more
freedom to determine their own direction in a way that meets the
needs of their pupils and local communities. There will be support
for staff development and to help schools work together in powerful
6. Freedom from many existing constraints
and burdens, coupled with added confidence and expertise, will
encourage enriched teaching and learning. Teachers who are confident
in their own ability and who are encouraged to broaden their range
of teaching approaches, will be more willing to get out the classroom
and to use the outdoors as a resource across the curriculum with
pupils of all ages and abilities.
7. Our strategy makes two specific offers
which will underpin the wider reforms in encouraging education
outside the classroom:
8. Every schoolnot just extended
schoolsshould do their utmost to serve the needs of the
whole child. In particular, our aim is that every school should
be a healthy school, giving good teaching and advice about nutrition
and exercise backed up by its school lunches, by its PE and school
sport, and by its playground activities. Through this work, we
will tackle levels of obesity in children, aiming to halt the
growth in obesity among under-11s by 2010.
9. Every school should also be an environmentally
sustainable school, with a good plan for school transport that
encourages walking and cycling, an active and effective recycling
policy (moving from paper to electronic processes wherever possible)
and a school garden or other opportunities for children to explore
the natural world. Schools must teach our children by example
as well as by instruction.
10. And, as part of our offer for secondary
11. We will widen opportunities beyond the
classroom. Often, these provide some of the most memorable experiences
at schoolthe school trip, the drama production, or playing
in the school team.
For the purpose of this Inquiry, we are including
the following within "Education outside the classroom":
For pupils aged three to five; five to 11; 11-16,
using the outdoors as a context for learning. In the English National
Curriculum, this encompasses study within most subjects, but particularly
science, geography, citizenship, history and PE. It includes out-of-school
sports, gardening, and other clubs.
Off-site day visits to field study centres;
field studies in local areaeg street, shopping centre,
ponds, rivers, woodland, coastline; outdoor museums and heritage
sites; commercial and city farms, allotments, country estates;
outdoor and adventure centres and swimming pools.
On-siteschool grounds development, eg
using D&T to design and make an artefact; science in wildlife
area; sustainable development; PE and sport on playing fields/netball
courts etc; art and drama in the outdoors.
Off site residential experiencessporting,
cultural, field study, DofEto a variety of places in UK
and abroadeg campsites and youth hostels.
12. The policies set out below are already
in place, or under development and help to support and encourage
schools to use the outdoors as an integral part of teaching and
learning. This is part of a thread running through mainstream
policies to stimulate a broader and richer educational experience
for pupils of all ages, exemplified, for example, through the
publication of Excellence and Enjoyment, the Department's
strategy for primary schools in summer 2003.
13. In our evidence to the Inquiry we seek
to draw out how we are tackling the barriers identified by the
Committee in its terms of reference:
costs and funding of outdoor activities;
the place of outdoor learning within
external assessment of provision;
organisation and integration within
existing school structures;
qualification and motivation of teachers
and the effect on teacher workload;
the fear of accidents and the possibility
how provision in the UK compares
with that of other countries.
14. From 2006 we will provide guaranteed
three-year budgets for every school, geared to pupil numbers,
with every school also guaranteed a minimum per pupil increase
every year. This will give unprecedented practical financial security
and freedom to schools in their forward planning.
15. The new dedicated Schools Budget will
enable us to give all schools guaranteed three-year budgets, aligned
with the school year, not the financial year as now. Schools funding
from Local Authorities will increase by more than 6% in 2005-06,
and we plan that the dedicated Schools Budget will deliver increases
at at least that rate in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
Paying for school activities
16. The law states that education provided
during school hours must be free. This includes materials, equipment,
and transport provided in school hours by the Local Education
Authority (LEA) or by the school to carry pupils between the school
and an activity. Schools can however ask parents for a voluntary
contribution towards the costs.
17. Parents can only be charged for activities
that happen outside school hours when these activities are not
a necessary part of the National Curriculum or that form part
of the school's basic curriculum for religious education. In addition,
no charge can be made for activities that are an essential part
of the syllabus for an approved examination. However, charges
may be made for other activities that happen outside school hours
if parents agree to pay.
18. Where schools are seeking voluntary
contributions, it must be made clear that children of parents
who do not contribute will not be treated any differently. If
a particular activity cannot take place without some help from
parents, it should be explained to them at the planning stage.
Where there are not enough voluntary contributions to make the
activity possible, and there is no way to make up the shortfall,
ie from school funds, then it must be cancelled. The essential
point is that no pupil may be left out of an activity because
his or her parents cannot, or will not, make a contribution.
Costs of outdoor centres
19. Costs will vary according to whether
the provider (for example, an outdoor centre) is commercial or
wholly funded by the LEA. LEAs have discretion to delegate funds
to schools for outdoor education and a power to retain it at LEA
level if they so wish. Having granted this power, DfES recognises
a few LEA centres have been closed in areas where the LEA has
decided to send pupils to commercial or charitable trust centres.
The DfES has no view on this so long as the opportunities for
adventure are made available for those pupils who want them.
School Transport Bill
20. The School Transport Bill will enable
a small number of Local Education Authorities to put forward innovative
proposals that offer a range of good quality, cost effective alternatives
to the family car on the school run. Schemes must reduce car dependency,
focus on local priorities and consider the travel and transport
needs of all pupils. We will welcome proposals that cater for
pupils with specific needs, for example those who want to join
in extra curricular or off-site activities.
21. The Bill will allow LEAs to charge affordable
fares for home to school transport whilst guaranteeing that children
eligible for free school meals will be protected, where transport
or travel assistance is provided, whether or not they live beyond
the statutory walking distances. "Pump-priming" money
of up to £200,000 will be provided to LEAs who implement
schemes we have approved.
Capital Funding for Schools
22. The Department allocates capital funding
to Local Authorities (LAs) and schools, for the improvement of
their school buildings estate. Decisions about how to spend capital
funding on school grounds and facilities for outdoor learning
are made locally at LA or school level. There are no barriers
from DfES on the use of government capital for investment in school
grounds, or in facilities for activities outside the classroom.
We do not, except in very exceptional circumstances, fund the
acquisition of land itself.
23. Our funding programmes include the standards
focused Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative to re-build
and/or re-furbish the secondary school estate over the next 10-15
years. Schools, LAs and their partners are encouraged to look
as widely as possible at all educational needs, both inside and
outside the classroom, as part of their overall capital strategy.
24. More specifically, we provide design
guidance in the form of Building Bulletins:
building Bulletins 71: "The
Outdoor Classroom" (2nd edition 1999) and 85: "School
Grounds" (1997), highlight the potential of school grounds
as a valuable resource to support and enrich the whole curriculum
and the education of all pupils;
building Bulletin 95: "Schools
for the Future" (2003), gives guidance on developing external
areas in "schools for the 21st century";
non-statutory area guidelines for
outdoor areas have recently been updated and are available in
Building Bulletin 98: "Briefing Framework for Secondary School
Projects" and Building Bulletin 99: "Briefing Framework
for Primary School Projects". For the first time, these now
include specific recommendations for "habitat areas"
developed for a wide range of activities (such as meadowland,
wildlife habitats and gardens to support the curriculum and improve
play and recreational spaces), as well as outdoor PE facilities
and informal and social areas.
25. We commissioned 11 leading architectural
practices to develop "exemplar" designs for primary
and secondary schools. School grounds were included in the brief
and several of the design teams considered the outdoor environment
as a key part of their overall design. They proposed ambitious
options as the basis of future development.
26. We fund a number of LEA-driven pilot
projects for "Classrooms of the Future" to explore the
potential of school grounds for enhancing pupils' learning, play
and social experiences. For example:
Sheffield, which concerns integrating
the indoor and outdoor classroom;
Bedfordshire, developed in partnership
with the Science Museum, which includes the installation of external
skill-based interactive displays, mixing play, exercise and social
Bournemouth, which is the only field
study centre in the initiative. It will be a sustainable centre
of e-learning and environmental discovery at a Site of Special
Scientific Interest, and will have electronic links to schools
in the area and to remote centres worldwide.
27. We are developing joint working with
other organisations, for example, Learning Through Landscapes
(LtL). We are providing funding over three years (2002-05) to
support school-based projects and guidance. The LtL "School
Grounds of the Future" programme aims to demonstrate how
school grounds can be transformed and managed as high quality
curriculum environments for the benefit of children's learning
and development and provide an asset for the whole school community
(http://www.ltl.org.uk/). A School Grounds of the Future pilot
phase with 20 schools is completed. This is being followed by
a wider outreach phase, available to all LAs in England.
28. We also manage the process whereby LAs
and schools cannot dispose or change the use of school playing
fields without the Secretary of State's consent. When agreed,
any proceeds must be used to improve schools sport and leisure
The Foundation Stage
29. Birth To Three Matters recognises
the importance of outdoor play in child development. There are
references to visits to parks, shops and libraries and children
participating in outdoor activities. Curriculum guidance for
the foundation stage makes clear that play, both indoors and
outdoors, is an important way children learn with enjoyment and
30. We continue to work with Local Authorities,
providing advice and support on planning and developing outdoor
early learning environments. We continue to promote the importance
of how outdoor play is crucial for children's growth and development.
We encourage children's opportunities to explore the outdoor environments
through a range of activities covering the six areas of learning
in the Foundation Stage. We support early years settings to plan
and use the outdoor space available for children's socio-emotional,
cognitive and physical development.
31. We are tackling some of the barriers
to outdoor learning by supporting the Learning through Landscapes
voluntary organisation to provide a programme promoting and increasing
equal access to quality outdoor play spaces for children from
birth-five years old. In 2003-04 Learning through Landscapes developed;
Early Years Outdoor support materials and resources, an Early
Years toolkit and video, website, birth to three materials, and
a training package.
32. The Early Years Outdoors training package
offers training, support and motivates Early Years practitioners,
childcare professionals, volunteers and all parents who have responsibility
for helping children learn and develop physically, emotionally,
socially and academically. The Foundation Stage Directors work
closely with LtL and we continue to provide support through them.
33. The Sure Start guidance on the design
of Children Centres emphasises the importance of a well designed
and managed outdoor environment, to provide a range of opportunities
and experiences that are essential to healthy growth and development
and can never be replicated inside a building, however well designed
or resourced. The guidance includes a case study on outdoor environment
in an early years centre.
The Primary Strategy
34. The Primary Strategy is supporting outdoor
learning by recognising it as part of a broad and rich curriculum
and as an area that can be used to support literacy and numeracy
as well as teaching other skills. For instance, the recently developed
professional development materials for teachers"Excellence
and Enjoyment: learning and teaching in the primary years"include
a video about creating a learning culture which has a section
based at an outdoor pursuits centre. This shows pupils experiencing
various challenging outdoor activities, which help them to develop
a wide range of physical and interpersonal skills, whilst also
linking into a range of curriculum subjects.
35. We have recently produced a CD ROM for
teachers showing good practice of ICT in teaching, which includes
examples of outdoor work such as the use of digital cameras. We
also propose to issue to schools later in the year a CD ROM, entitled
"Making the curriculum your own" which will include
examples of outdoor learning.
36. Through these materials we are:
providing best practice examples
to schools to demonstrate how outdoor learning can help schools
meet the objectives of the Primary Strategy;
boosting teacher confidence by providing
support and guidance;
cutting down the time needed to plan
activities from scratch;
ensuring that outdoor learning activities
and resources link directly to the Primary Strategy and National
Key Stage 3 National Strategy
37. The strategy is improving the quality
of teaching and learning in all secondary schools so that pupils
are equipped with the skills and the learning experiences to become
active independent learners for the future. Through the Key Stage
3 National Strategy we are helping teachers to tailor teaching,
regularly assess progress and use a variety of learning opportunities,
including outdoor learning, to meet the needs of individual pupils
and thereby personalising their learning and school experience.
38. The Strategy is tackling some of the
barriers to outdoor learning by providing resources for teachers
to make lessons engaging, challenging and enjoyable, including
the use of outdoor learning. For example, the Foundation Subjects
strand of the KS3 National Strategy encourages beyond the classroom
learning, contextualising the subject in the wider context of
its application in real life situations. In geography pupils investigate
a wide range of environments and carry out geographical enquiry
outside the classroom. Similarly the Science strand of the Strategy
actively supports and promotes science professional organisations
which are also committed to effective use of outdoor learning.
39. The Strategy also provides a £10k school
development grant for each secondary school to spend on any purpose
to support improvements in teaching and learning, which can be
used by schools to undertake outdoor learning.
40. Within the context of the Government's
10 year investment framework for Science and Innovation we are
ensuring that the science we teach in schools is relevant and
accessible, enthusing students by encouraging exciting practical
work, outdoor learning opportunities and use of cutting edge ICT
41. We are tackling some of the barriers
to outdoor learning by:
enhancing opportunities for continuing
professional development for science teachers through the development
of a £51 million network of science learning centres. We
have funded the Association for Science Education (ASE) and the
Geographical Association to develop training courses that will
increase teacher skills and confidence in providing outdoor learning
opportunities. These will be delivered through some of the science
learning centres from 2005;
training a new cadre of science-specialist
Higher-Level Teaching Assistants to enable every secondary school
in England to recruit at least one by 2007-08;
expanding substantially the number
of undergraduate volunteers supporting pupils learning science,
developing a flexible curriculum
that encourages development of practical skills and encourages
use of a range of teaching formats and techniquesQCA's
new outline Science Programme of Study for Key Stage 4 is based
around practical skills and knowledge of how science works; and
knowledge and understanding in selected areas of science. Will
be in schools from 2006;
new GCSE for Science, science
in the 21st century, piloted in 80 schools from September
2003 and new GCSE in Applied Science in schools from September
42. Geography is the only subject where
outdoor learning is a statutory requirement for pupils aged 5-14.
Fieldwork is an essential part of the subject because it enables
pupils of all ages to experience places for themselves, enabling
them to relate this first hand experience to what is learnt in
the classroom. There are important personal and social benefits
to the learner, as well as subject learning. Several recent research
reviews supported by the Department clearly make the case for
fieldwork as an integral part of geography pedagogy.
43. Recognising the barriers to outdoor
learning, the Department is funding the Field Studies Council
and the Geographical Association to develop a professional development
unit in managing and leading fieldwork, a companion to that being
developed via the science learning centres.
44. The Department has established a Geography
Development Fund in 2004-05 in recognition of the need to improve
the teaching, learning and status of the subject. This, combined
with Humanities specialist schools; the new Secretary of State's
Geography Focus Group; supporting work through the National Strategies
and Stephen Twigg's announcement that the Department will be appointing
a new Chief Adviser, are sending clear signals to the subject
community and schools.
45. The Geography Development Fund (GDF)
will support work in primary geography, the new GCSE, building
subject networks, creating new materials for the QCA Innovating
with Geography website and a scoping study into progression and
teaching and learning 5-19. All strands of the GDF will support
fieldwork. The Department works closely with the two main subject
associationsthe Royal Geographical Society and the Geography
Associationwhich will be undertaking the GDF work.
46. The Focus Group, which brings together
representatives from the subject bodies, teachers, Heads, higher
education, business, international development and the media,
met for the first time on 13 October, and identified the unique
benefits of first hand experience through fieldwork as a key part
of its future work programme.
47. The post of Geography Chief Adviser
will be advertised shortly.
History and Art & Design
48. The National Curriculum Programme of
Study for History at Key Stages 2 and 3 sets out that pupils should
be taught historical enquiry skills through a range of sources.
Artefacts and visits to historic buildings, sites and museums
are all given as examples of sources. The Programme of Study for
Art & Design sets out that pupils should investigate different
kinds of art, craft and design. Visits to museums and sites are
given as examples of ways they can do this. The Scheme of Work
for Art & Design includes a unit on "Visiting a Museum,
Gallery or Site". The 2002-03 Ofsted subject report on Art
& Design in secondary schools said that the potential of these
visits for many schools "remains untapped, despite the considerable
impact such visits can have on pupils' understanding and appreciation
49. The Programme of Study for citizenship
includes that pupils be taught to negotiate, decide and take part
responsibly in both school and community-based activities. Many
schools provide opportunities for this through their involvement
with, and pupils' interest in, volunteering and other forms of
community service, for example, renovation of environmental and
community outdoor areas.
50. We have successfully piloted Active
Citizens in Schools, which extends the Millennium Volunteers principles
to 11-15 year olds, providing opportunities for active citizenship
lessons through engagement in schools. Guidance for schools has
been produced and is being disseminated.
PE and School Sport
51. Outdoor learning is an integral part
of Physical Education (PE) and school sport. The National Curriculum
PE programme of study also encourages schools to choose Outdoor
and Adventurous Activities as one of the six activities that should
be taught to pupils. As a national curriculum subject, typically
delivered outside of the classroom and even the school, PE is
inspected by Ofsted.
52. Outdoor learning via PE and school sport
is being transformed through delivery of the PE, School Sport
and Club Links (PESSCL) strategy, which aims to increase the percentage
of pupils who spend a minimum of two hours each week on high quality
PE and sport within and beyond the curriculum to 75% by 2006 extending
to 85% by 2008. Within the context of the five year strategy and
New Relationship with Schools, the PESSCL strategy is supporting
outdoor learning by encouraging partnership working, workforce
reform and providing schools with greater choice through targeted
funding for example.
53. The PESSCL strategy's major investment
comes through the School Sport Partnerships programmePartnerships
of schools that come together to share best practice, expertise
and resources. Each partnership receives a grant of up to £270,000
each year providing choice on how to deploy these resources and
all schools will be in a partnership by 2006.
54. This high profile national strategy
is tackling many of the barriers to outdoor learning by:
implementing the national Professional
Development programme for PEto provide modules specifically
advising teachers on delivering Outdoor and Adventurous Activities
(on and off-site) and ensure that teachers who lack the confidence
to deliver PE have the tools and expertise they need. This is
available to all teachers in England, although primary teachers,
who are often intimidated by PE for fear of accidents and litigation,
are being given priority.
funding the £10 million Sporting
Playgrounds programme, which aims to enhance school playgrounds
to increase physical activity and improve behaviour. 592 primary
schools are benefiting from this programme and many encourage
pupils to act as outdoor play leaders for younger children. Many
of the playgrounds have facilities and innovative markings that
allow a number of curriculum subjects to be delivered in what
is now regarded by heads as an outdoor classroom.
55. We support all kinds of educational
visit that have clear educational objectives and are properly
risk-assessed and managed. We need to recognise that not all pupils
wish to undertake high-hazard adventure activities. More and more
schools and LEAs are using professional providers whose safety
management is inspected and licensed on behalf of the Government.
This makes sense for ensuring a high standard of pupil safety.
56. Growing Schools began in 2001, as a
response to concerns that young people had become distanced from
nature and that pupils of all ages needed to understand the connections
between the food they saw in supermarkets and the land that produced
it; to understand the interdependence between urban and rural
environments, to learn about the countryside, and the wildlife
and the people it sustains.
57. Growing Schools is for pupils of all
ages and abilities and encourages teachers to see the outdoor
classroom both within and beyond school grounds as a valuable
learning resource. This is not about adding extra burdens, or
something new into the curriculum, but underpinning personalised
learning through a wider range of teaching approaches. More than
10,000 schools have signed up to participate in the Growing Schools
programme which works in partnership with some 25 organisations
from the outdoor sector.
58. Growing Schools began by consulting
teachers and practitioners from the NGO sector. Two things emerged:
first hand, active learning was an invaluable, part of the learning
process; but while many schools were keen to use the outdoor classroom,
there were significant barrierseither real or perceived.
These included lack of funding (either to develop school grounds
or make out-of-school visits), health and safety issues, lack
of training and confidence among teachers and no time to plan
creative outdoor lessons; difficulty in accessing information.
59. Five flagship projects were set up to
provide a sample of replicable best practicetraining modules,
lesson plans, schemes of work, case studies, activity packsall
focusing on one or more of the identified barriers. More than
30 partner organisations and 350 schools were involved, with pupils
aged three to 19 participating.
60. Some schools focused on growing within
their school grounds, with pupils growing vegetables and fruit,
then preparing and eating them. Others shared a community allotment
with local groups or established links with local commercial and
city farms, regularly visiting to study the animals and crops.
Some worked with land-based colleges, for example, having an incubator
on loan until the chicks hatched, then following the chicks' growth
and life via a web cam as part of science and maths. At field
study centres, schools joined in growing and composting on day
or residential visits, and then explored healthy eating, recycling,
food miles and global issues.
61. In 2002 Growing Schools exhibited work
from schools in their own grounds at the Hampton Court Palace
Flower Show. The garden has since been relocated to Greenwich
Environmental Curriculum Centre in East London and provides CPD
and inspiration for teachers. Over 15,000 schools have requested
the Growing Schools teacher resource pack.
62. Growing Schools supports key policies:
Foundation Stage Curriculumencouraging
Early Years Settings to make the most of their outdoor areas in
delivering the six key areas of learning. Learning through Landscapes
has established projects in Yorkshire with support from Growing
Schools. This has continued to expand over the past year with
further support from Sure Start.
Excellence and Enjoyment: A Strategy
for Primary Schoolsproviding a broad, balanced, rich
and exciting curriculum which retains the literacy and numeracy
focus while providing varied teaching and learning to stimulate
and motivate pupils. Growing Schools offers teachers access to
tried and tested schemes of work, lesson plans, and activity packs.
the importance of learning off site, particularly as part of Geography
and Science. Growing Schools encourages and supports schools making
Healthy Schools and the Healthy
Living BlueprintGrowing Schools supports teaching about
food, where it comes from, how it was produced, and the importance
of a healthy and active lifestyle.
14-19 Education and Trainingsupporting
young people to choose careers in the land based sector, through
"Growing Lives", linked to a careers and course database.
63. The website is a micro-site within teachernet
at www.teachernet.gov.uk/growingschools. It provides access to
health & safety guidance, funding sources, research, training
(ITT & CPD) for both teachers and providers. There is a database
of resource materials (case studies, schemes of work, lesson plans).
Schools can register, join the e-discussion group, receive regular
new letters and exchange ideas. It provides access to over 1,000
places to visit, enabling teachers to find, for example, farms,
field study centres, forest schools and outdoor museums.
64. Pilot area partnerships in the North
East and London bring together support and CPD opportunities for
schools locally and regionally. Hampshire LEA offers a similar
Outdoor Learning Trailblazer network. Others being developed will
build on work already undertaken, for example Gloucester University
supported by Growing Schools to develop a local network, website
and Citizenship ITT and CPD training modules.
65. Growing Schools supports Access to Farms
which has developed an accreditation scheme to help providers
improve the quality of what is offered to visiting schools. Further
work is planned with other providers, for example, estates, field
study centres, woodlands/forests and gardens. Support is also
offered to schools with their own farms, through the Schools Farm
66. Growing Schools is developing a Local
Schools Support Network. Schools will register their needs through
the website, eg how to grow seasonal vegetables, manpower to build
a wildlife pond, help maintaining the school grounds during holidayswhich
will then be passed on to associate organisations and groups (including
The Royal Horticultural Society), who in turn will disseminate
these needs to their membership base around the country. Members
will then be encouraged to share their expertise and time with
the registered schoolseither on a regular basis or for
a specific project.
67. At the National Advisory Group meeting
on 20 September, the Music Manifesto was presented to the group.
The music manifesto is about creating more music for more people.
It offers a strategy and set of priorities for the next three
to five years, focusing on children and young people. Developed
by a 60-strong coalition of musicians, composers, educators, music
industry representatives and policy makers, the music manifesto
has been designed to be a living, interactive resource, owned
by all those who sign up to it. Using this site, organisations
and individuals can sign up to the manifesto on-line and showcase
their own contributions by pledging tangible programmes and resources
to help make it a reality. Growing Schools NAG members agreed
there was considerable potential for a similar approach for outdoor
68. In 2003 DCMS and DfES Ministers appointed
the Joint Advisory Committee on Built Environment Education (JACBEE)
to examine the potential for the contemporary and historic built
environment to be utilised more effectively as a learning resource,
particularly by schools. Recommendations were submitted to Ministers
in September 2004 and were approved in principle. The recommendations
included that CABE, English Heritage and interested parties should
work together to produce a proposal for the creation of a "one
stop shop" for built environment education that would provide
a comprehensive resource of tools, advice, best practice and contacts
for schools and the general public.
69. Implementation of the recommendations will
be considered by a post-JACBEE steering group in the next few
months. A summary report of the Committee's findings will be published
by DCMS and DfES early in 2005 with the aim of raising awareness
with teachers, other educators and the public about the educational
value of buildings, places and spaces.
70. Between 1999 and 2006 DfES will have
contributed £12 million to museum and gallery education,
to assist museums and galleries to support projects with schools.
Outdoor museums will have been among the museums benefiting from
71. As part of the Renaissance in the Regions
programme to regenerate regional museums, DCMS has ring-fenced
£10 million (to 2006) for delivering education programmes
to school children. DfES has contributed an additional £2.2
million to this education fund.
72. In 2003-04 DfES contributed £1.25
million to the DfES/DCMS National/Regional Partnership projects
fund (DCMS contributed a further £1.35), whereby National
museums formed partnerships with one or more smaller regional
institutions to deliver education projects to schools.
73. The DfES Museums & Galleries Education
Programme (MGEP) ran from 1999 to March 2004 and saw a total investment
of £4 million in schools-focused museum and gallery education
projects. The programme used the collections and exhibitions of
museums and galleries to enrich the National Curriculum. There
were 118 projects in 130 museums and galleries and at least 20,000
school pupils took part. The evaluation of the 2nd phase of this
programme was published on 30 September 2004 and was positive
about both pupil and teacher learning outcomes (the full report
and Executive Summary are available at www.teachernet.gov.uk/mgep2).
74. In April 2004, DCMS and DfES announced
joint funding of £7 million over two years (2004-06) for
museum and gallery education. This will be directed towards national
and regional museums and galleries to enable them to work more
closely with schools. DCMS and DfES are due to be publishing a
Museums and Galleries Education Strategy later this year.
75. Since October 2003, all schools aspiring
for specialist status have been able to develop a "rural
dimension" in their application. Schools with a rural dimension
can provide opportunities for their pupils to increase their understanding
of aspects of life in the countryside. These include courses in
land management (farming, animal health and welfare, forestry,
fisheries, building, leisure), environmental stewardship (eg biodiversity,
recycling, pollution), rural business and livelihoods (eg leisure
& tourism, sports & recreation, rural crafts, farming)
and natural and cultural heritage. There are currently five schools
with a rural dimension.
76. The rural dimension is relevant to all
schools, not just those located in a rural area. These schools
will provide a balance between opportunities for learning first
hand using the outdoor classroom as a context for learningeg
farms, parks, school grounds; and using rural issues or themes
as learning contexts and/or applications within the core specialism
77. Schools will be expected to: encourage
the use of school grounds, allotments and horticulture as contexts
for teaching & learning; provide opportunities that relate
to living things in their environment, both natural and managed;
support the development of social economic and environmental responsibility
and citizenship; emphasise healthy eating and lifestyle; develop
business education links, work based and work related learningin
a rural context; raise achievement through preferred learning
styles such a naturalistic learning, practical learning and spatial/visual
78. All young people have an opportunity
for work experience. From September 2004, there is a statutory
requirement that schools include work-related learning within
the curriculum for all students at Key Stage 4. Work-related learning
involves using the context of work to develop knowledge, skills
and understanding useful in employment.
The Increased Flexibility for 14-16
Year Olds programme, began in September 2002 providing enhanced
vocational and work-related learning opportunities for 14-16 year
olds. Young people generally spend one or two days a week in an
FE college, others visit a sixth form college, private training
provider or learn with an employer.
The Young Apprenticeship programme
is a new opportunity for 14-16 year olds to combine the practical
application of skills and knowledge in a vocational context with
the pursuit of qualifications that related to particular occupational
sectors. Wherever possible, the study will be practical and applied
to work experience, working alongside full-time employees and
full-time apprenticesfor up to two days a week throughout
the duration of Key Stage 4.
79. The opportunities available depend on
the labour market and businesses in the area where they live.
In areas where outdoor occupations, such as farming and forestry
are strong, many young people will be able to experience the outdoors
as part of their work experience.
80. Study support provision includes a wide
range of learning activities including education outside the classroom.
Young people participate voluntarily in study support and the
learning activities take place outside normal lesson time. Study
support helps to improve pupils' motivation, build self-esteem
and help them to become more effective learners. This has a positive
effect on their achievements in school and on their employability
when they leave school.
81. The Ofsted report Learning Out of
Hours: The Quality and Management of Study Support in Secondary
Schools (October 2002) reinforces the positive effect of study
support activities in improving attendance and attitudes.
82. A report produced by MORI/BMRB in August
2000, Out of School Hours Learning Activities: Surveys of Schools,
Pupils and Parents, showed that in a survey of 204 schools,
97% offered some form of study support activity. A follow up survey
of 850 schools (findings to be announced on 28 October 2004) found
that 90% of primary schools and 98% of secondary are providing
83. The Department has worked with the Teacher
Training Agency to promote the benefits of study support to teachers
and to embed the concept within initial teacher training and continuing
professional development opportunities. Teachers frequently report
that engagement in study support provides opportunities to be
creative and experiment with a range of learning techniques which
can be transferred into the classroom, and that it encourages
more relaxed, informal relationships with pupils.
84. A new initiative is being piloted in
the UK. Get REAL is a pilot programme, currently in its second
year of development, which is being funded by the Big Lottery
Fund. In 2003 Get REAL created opportunities for almost 2,000
11-17 year olds to take part in exciting residential programmes
during the summer school holidays. The overall aim of the initiative
is to give young people from all walks of life the chance to have
time filled with adventure and fun in a safe environment, enjoying
new and challenging experiences. The residential experience should
provide young people with the opportunity to increase their awareness
of their own learning skills and have a memorable experience through
85. As set out in the 14-19 green paper,
the government is committed to making sure that all young people
should be encouraged to engage in active citizenship, work-related
learning and wider activities such as art, music and sport. Access
the DfES website; http://www.dfes.gov.uk/14-19greenpaper/ for
a full copy of the green paper 14-19: extending opportunities,
rising standards. The aim of Get REAL is to engage young people
into learning through a range of wider activities which are not
86. The aims and desired outcomes and benefits
to young people are:
that they learn through active "adventure"
to create a memorable experience that broadens horizons and enables
increase their awareness of their own
improve their life-skills and take them
back to the classroom.
that the programme content is not
an extension of the school curriculum, but designed to increase
awareness of learning and life-skills;
to give young people from all walks
of life the chance to enjoy a residential experience;
to support development of community
and social values, increase connections across socio-economic
groups and promote citizenship.
87. We expect, as more of them open, that
many Academies will be at the forefront of the provision of outdoor
education. As independent institutions, they have the flexibility
to raise standards by introducing innovative approaches to their
management, governance, teaching and curriculum. Many Academies
will have specialisms which focus on outdoor activities, from
the more traditional activities such as sport, to newer innovative
specialisms like design and the build environment and environmental
science. Academies are also central to the significant capital
investment we are making in the schools building stock. Their
buildings and the surrounding grounds and playing fields are designed
with the delivery of the curriculum in mind. Central to the programme
is Academies commitment to sharing their expertise and first rate
facilities with their local family of schools and the local community.
88. Ofsted remains committed to inspecting any
aspects of a school's provision, including "out of the classroom"
learning that has a significant effect on the achievement, personal
development, attitudes or behaviour of pupils. Arrangements under
both the current and future inspection frameworks have the scope
to cover these aspects of a school's work, although the extent
of this will vary depending on the context of the school.
89. Ofsted has reported on this area as
a part of its thematic work, such as in the publication Learning
out of hours: the quality and management of study support in secondary
schoolsOfsted (October 2002). Ofsted published its
report Outdoor EducationAspects of Good Practice
on 28 September 2004. There are also draft plans for an Ofsted
survey in 2004-05 on The impact of geography field work on
pupils' attitude and motivation.
90. Current inspection guidance contains
specific references to "off-site study" and flexible
curriculum arrangements (for example in pages 59, 61, 98, 99,
105 of the Handbook for inspecting secondary schools).
Inspectors are required to consider these and the effects they
may have on the standards pupils achieve and their personal development,
including their attendance and attitudes to study.
91. The same approach will apply under the
new proposals. If "out of the classroom" learning, is
identified by the school in its self-evaluation as an area of
significance or is regarded by the lead inspector during the pre-inspection
as an area to pursue, then it will be pursued. A number of the
questions in the proposed SEF (self-evaluation form) from September
2005 require schools to give details of any such provision and
the effect the school feels it may have.
92. Safety of provision: The Department
sponsors and funds the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority
(AALA). This public authority inspects the safety of commercial,
charitable and LEA providers of high hazard adventure (that is,
climbing, caving, trekking and waterborne activities) to under
18s on behalf of the Government. Holding a licence means a provider's
safety management meets the AALA's rigorous standards. In this
way we ensure that those pupils who wish to can experience exciting
and stimulating activities outside the classroom without being
exposed to avoidable risk of death or disabling injury. There
are currently just over 1,000 licences in place. Our review of
the Licensing Regime elicited strong support for the improvement
and continuance of statutory safety inspections.
93. While continuing to fund and support
the AALA, DfES is now exploring the possibilities of alternative
means of regulation other than "classic regulation".
With the support of the Health and Safety Executive and the Better
Regulation Task Force, we are working with the outdoor sector
to consider whether some form of self-regulation would be viable,
initially for activities or providers complementary to those covered
by the AALA.
Education Visits Co-ordinators
94. The Educational Visits Co-ordinator
(EVC) role, monitoring and checking on the safety of visits, was
developed in 2002 and funding of £3.5 million enabled LEAs
to send delegates to training-the-trainer seminars delivered by
the Outdoor Education Advisers Panel. All LEAs in England are
signed up to the programme and some LEAs already have an EVC in
every one of their schools.
95. The principal function of the EVC is
to liaise with the LEA's outdoor education adviser and to ensure
that school staff taking pupils on any kind of educational visit
are competent to do so and trained as necessary in pupil safety
outdoors. The Independent Schools Adventure Activities Association
(ISAAA) holds training courses for independent school staff in
all kinds of visit.
96. Risk assessment will disclose that school
staff leading a visit normally need to hold an appropriate level
of accreditation from the relevant National Governing Body. This
is important since school staff leading their own pupils are not
safety-inspected by the AALA. This is because outdoor education
is not a school's prime function and it would be difficult to
license a whole school for its incidental off-premises activities.
It is more effective to try to ensure the relevant staff are accredited.
97. The Health and Safety Executive enforces
the safety regulations that control adventure and the more general
health and safety regulations that cover all other activities.
Local authorities enforce safety law on commercial firms.
Initial Teacher Training
98. We are tackling lack of teacher confidence,
expertise and experience in outdoor learning by recognising that
valuable pupil learning can take place in a wide range of out-of-school
contexts, and by recognising that teachers need to be able to
plan to make the best use of such opportunities.
99. To this end, it is a requirement that,
as relevant to the age range they are trained to teach, those
awarded qualified teacher status (QTS) must demonstrate that they
are able to plan opportunities for pupils to learn in out-of-school
contexts, such as school visits, museums, theatres, field-work
and employment-based settings, with the help of other staff where
100. This requirement is specified in Qualifying
to teach, which sets out the standards for QTS and requirements
for initial teacher training. These standards came into force
in September 2002 following extensive consultation, and describe
the minimum amount that trainee teachers must know, understand
and be able to do before they are awarded QTS.
101. Qualifying to teach is supported
by non-statutory guidance in the form of a detailed handbook.
It is in this handbook that the standards are unpacked and the
implications of a range of issues for teaching and teacher training
explored. Both these documents can be viewed on the Teacher Training
Agency's website, www.tta.gov.uk.
Continuing Professional development
102. Central to improvements in teaching
and learning is excellent professional development for all teacherswith
more emphasis on classroom observation, practice, training, coaching
and mentoring. We are building up teachers' demand for high quality
training and development, by linking participation in professional
development with career progression.
School Workforce Reform
103. Teachers must be given better support so
they can focus more of their time on their professional role of
teaching and on activities which directly improve pupil attainment.
The workforce reform agenda provides an opportunity for teachers
and support staff to focus on individual pupils in a way that
the profession has long campaigned for. The limits on cover introduced
in September and the commitment to guaranteed planning, preparation
and assessment (PPA) time from next September, together with enhanced
roles for support staff, present real opportunities to make a
difference to each pupil's learning.
104. Educational visits are planned activities.
Where teachers are absent due to participating in such activities,
the absence is most appropriately covered by supply teachers or
by using cover supervision. If a teacher at the school is used
to cover for such an absence the amount of cover will count towards
the annual limit of 38 hours. Where a teacher acquires non contact
time in the timetable as a result of a class or group being absent
on an educational visit, then the guidance for gained time should
105. The guidance (see paragraphs 46-78
of School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document 2004 & Guidance
on School Teachers' Pay and Conditions) states that activities
to be undertaken by teachers in such gained time must be planned
well in advance of the visit. It also contains a list of activities
that teachers can be asked to do during gained time, eg teach
booster classes. It may be possible, in some circumstances, to
re-timetable in advance of trips so that those teachers left behind
are able to do productive work with students, and not just "cover".
For a large trip, this could involve providing in-school activities
for the rest of the year group outside their normal timetable.
106. Since DfES published Health and
Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits: A Good Practice Guide
in 1998 the Department has developed its policy on support
staff in the light of the National Agreement on raising standards
and tackling workload.
107. A key development is the introduction
of The Education (Specified Work and Registration) (England) Regulations
2003 which came into force on 1 August 2003. These regulations
set out the conditions under which support staff in schools may
undertake specified teaching activities. Only well-trained support
staffnormally having attained higher level teaching assistant
(HLTA) statuswill be leading classes, and then only under
the direction and supervision of a teacher. There is no assumption
that the teacher will always be physically present when a member
of support staff is carrying out specified work.
108. It may be the case that support staff
have the experience or skills to organise outdoor activities or
will be able to provide cover for a teacher who may be out on
visits. The Department envisages a number of ways in which support
staff may help teachers, including acting as: Educational Visits
Co-ordinator; or Group Leader; or Supervisor. Head teachers will
decide the precise duties of support staff, based on the skills
and experience of individuals. A range of advice and publications
in this area are being revised and will be available in due course.
109. We believe that school staff following
the good practice guidance (see paragraph 107) should have nothing
to fear from unfair accusation. We are pleased that Her Majesty's
Chief Inspector shares this view. The recent Ofsted report on
outdoor education focuses on the mainstreaming of outdoor education
but reports that some teachers nonetheless do fear litigation
where things go wrong. (They also fear the risks themselves, which
is where the good practice guidance mentioned above serves a useful
purpose in helping teachers in the skill of good risk assessment
and risk management).
110. The Secretary of State said earlier
this year that he would look into teacher union concerns about
the implications for their members leading school visits if a
child is injured. The Department believes there might be room
for an improvement in the local management of injury cases and
is looking into next steps along with teacher unions. On the litigation
point, the Better Regulation Task Force has indicated that the
number of civil claims actually decreased in 2003-04 by 60,000
across all sectors. Compensation amounts, in a smaller number
of cases, have risen for reasons linked to medical costs and longer
expectancy of life.
111. We recently supplemented our 1998 good
practice guide, Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits
(known as HASPEV) with new material based on three levels of risk
assessment and approval by EVC or LEA. The new titles are Standards
for LEAs in Overseeing Educational Visits, Standards for Adventure
and A Handbook for Group Leaders (all 2002) and Group Safety at
Water Margins (published in 2003 with the Central Council for
Physical Recreation. This is used as course material for the EVC
INSET training currently being rolled out at LEA/school level.
To avoid unnecessary burdens we do not send our good practice
literature automatically to every school; however over 100,000
copies of HASPEV and some 50,000 copies of the supplementary leaflets
have been sent out on request.
112. The Department has commissioned the
Duke of Edinburgh's Awards and the Scouts to carry out a map of
Residential Experience opportunities for young people. It will
help us to look at how residential opportunities can contribute
to more young people taking advantage of extra curricular activities.
The work is due to be completed by the end of December.
113. A literary review of the research into
using food, farming and the countryside as a context for learning
(UK and abroad) was funded by Growing Schools in partnership with
CA & FACE (published report available at www.dfes.gov.uk/research).
114. Growing Schools is funding further
action research by NfER/King's College/CREE. It includes in-depth
case study research at a selection of outdoor sites; investigating
teaching & learning processes; learning outcomes and wider
benefits; and curriculum links. The study is also conducting action
research through a group of teachers, field centre staff and farm
educators, to devise and trial teaching and/or evaluation strategies.
Focus groups are exploring the views of providers and key stakeholders
to inform the design of the project, get feedback on emerging
findings and act as a dissemination channel. The project is due
to report in April 2005.
115. The Department part-funded the Field
Studies Council led literature review into outdoor learning which
was published earlier this year. The review examined 150 pieces
of research, covering three types of learningfieldwork
& outdoor visits; outdoor adventure education; school grounds/community
projects. The study found:
substantial evidence that fieldwork,
properly conceived, adequately planned, well taught and effectively
followed up offers learners opportunities to develop their knowledge
and skills in ways that add value to their everyday experience
in the classroom;
strong evidence of the positive benefits
of outdoor adventure education, both short and long term, particularly
for interpersonal/social outcomes;
important impacts, including greater
confidence, pride in community, stronger motivation towards learning,
greater sense of belonging and responsibility.
116. This study is very helpful in building
the case for the positive benefits of outdoor learning.
The Department has not recently undertaken a
systematic comparison of provision in other countries. However,
for the purposes of this Inquiry, we have sourced some examples
from around the worldfrom Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Sweden,
Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand.
Children in Denmark start compulsory schooling
at age seven. Children between the ages of three and six attend
kindergarten, and the majority of children age six to seven are
in pre-school classes.
Childcare facilities are obliged to draw up
learning plans for the children covering six areas. One of these
is nature, and it is clear from Ministry guidance that first hand
experience of nature is essential. It is normal practice for children
in kindergartens to spend a fair proportion each day in the playground/outdoor
area attached to the kindergarten, and in addition to play activities
such areas may have small allotments for plants, vegetables, and
others may have an area with animals (rabbits, goats or sheep).
All kindergartens and nurseries take the children for walks, and
arrange regular trips to the local library, farms, forests, the
zoo, a museum, etc. Many kindergartens have an annual trip with
a couple of overnight stays either at a seaside cottage, or a
cottage in the woods. Some kindergartens are situated in the woods,
and children in these spend practically the entire day in the
The central administration of the Folkeskole
(curriculum) is in the hands of the Ministry of Education. The
Danish Parliament takes the decisions governing the overall aims
of the education, and the Minister of Education sets the targets
for each subject. But the municipalities and schools decide how
to reach these targets.
The Ministry of Education publishes curriculum
guidelines for the individual subjects, but these are seen purely
as recommendations and as such are not mandatory for local school
administrators. Schools are permitted to draw up their own curricula
as long as they are in accordance with the aims and proficiency
areas laid down by the Minister of Education. However, nearly
all schools choose to confirm the centrally prepared guidelines
as their binding curricula.
Guidelines for specific subjects state an expectation
for teachers to undertake education outside the classroom in science
and geography, and many teachers do so. It will however vary from
teacher to teacher how often it is done. The exact wording in
the Order setting out aims etc for science and geography can be
found on http://eng.uvm.dk/publications/laws/Aims.htm?menuid=1515.
Although, it may not refer to activities outside
the classroom in the guidelines for all subjects, many teachers
will arrange such activities. Examples of these are: weekly trips
to swimming-pools (at least one year during the school years as
part of PE), field studies in local arealakes, forests
etc, an annual sporting day, outdoor sport activities from Easter
to mid-October, visits to museums of all kinds (art, natural science,
historyindoor and outdoor), theatre and cinema visits,
Most activities are organised by the teachers
themselves, but there are some providers of outdoor activities.
These include farmers who open their doors to school classes,
Learn about Forests arrangements (funded by money from ministries,
local authorities, organisations and private funds), private companies
who organise tree climbing or other special sporting activities
(these are mainly used by after school care clubs), and organisers
of events for school classes to forests, lakes, etc. The latter
are "Nature Schools"(often situated in a forest) are
funded by local municipalities jointly with the state forest district
administration. The heads of the "Nature Schools" are
specially educated staff (biologists etc). There are 100 schools
spread out over Denmark, and they have 1/2 million visitors a
Most museums have dedicated staff dealing with
school class visits.
The providers are not inspected, but do of course
have to comply with legislation in any given area to ensure for
instance that play areas are constructed in a safe manner, and
teachers and providers have to ensure that the safety of the children
taking part in such activities is considered as far as this is
Generally, schools/local government fund outdoor
activities, but parents may be asked to contribute a small sum
of money for instance to a theatre trip.
Outdoor activities are left to the teachers
to organise, sometimes in conjunction with a specific provider/museum
etc. (see above)
The teachers/leaders involved in providing outdoor
learning are not required to have special qualifications or training.
The law of 15 March 1997 granted autonomy to
schools in didactic management, financial administration, research
activities, experimentation and development. Schools organise
lessons to best suit individual school needs, respecting certain
parameters. School autonomy allows individual schools to increase
the educational offer with optional subjects and activities taking
into consideration local cultural, social and economic factors.
The head teacher manages the school in collaboration
with the school council. Various stakeholders are involved in
the internal decision making process; school authorities, educational
staff, social partners and families. Each school is obliged to
prepare and follow a school plan or "POF", piano dell'
offerta formativa. The curriculum is set down at a national level.
Education outside the school is not mandatory
and is left up to the discretion of individual schools. Italian
schools do not have a strong history of outdoor learning within
the curriculum, but that does not mean that it is not done. Indeed
the Ministry of Education states that individualplans "may
include" school activities which are organised for a group
of pupils of the same class, or of different classes, with the
aim of carrying out activities related to the needs of pupils.
The teacher's council within the second month
of the school year must present a plan setting down all planned
activities. Having said this, teachers are not forbidden in taking
a class to a nearby park as they see fit for an outdoor lesson.
Generally parents must make a financial contribution
and must give their permission for any school trips. These trips
are covered by the school's insurance.
Traditionally overnight trips are organised
for students in lower secondary school. Once again, parents' consent
must be provided and they must also subsidise the trips.
The provision of "outdoor learning"
occurs mostly in secondary schools only. In the first three years
of secondary school, referred to as the junior cycle (age 12-15),
fieldwork is an integral part of the Geography syllabus. There
is an option for pupils to submit a fieldstudy assignment as part
of the Junior Certificate examination. The exam papers contain
a special section with questions designed to test some of the
skills which pupils develop through fieldstudy; this section is
intended for those who do not take up the option of submitting
a fieldstudy assignment. This is an optional unit and is only
taken by a small percentage of students. Within the Science curriculum,
field study is optional.
Physical Education in the Junior Cycle includes
adventure activities, aquatics, athletics, dance, net and field
games etc. Physical education teachers have the relevant national
teaching qualification and if the outdoor learning activity involves
a specialised skill such as adventure sports there will be a qualified
instructor present. Outdoor activities which take place outside
the school grounds would generally take place in approved centres.
However these centres are not approved by the schools or the Department
of Education, but are approved by the Government or a National
In the Senior Cycle (16-18 yrs), the Geography
syllabus consists of a range of core, elective and optional units
for study. A geographical investigation, to be completed individually
by each candidate, forms a compulsory element of the syllabus.
The report on the geographical investigation is submitted in advance
of the final written examination.
Students also have an option to pursue an outdoors
education module which is assessed as part of the overall course.
Developing appropriate linkages between school
and the workplace is a growing feature of the senior cycle. Students
are involved in organising visits to local business and community
enterprises; meet and interview enterprising people onsite
and in the classroom; plan and undertake interesting activities
that will build selfconfidence, creativity, initiative
and develop teamwork, communication and computer skills.
Generally, all outdoor school activities are
co-funded by parents and schools and organised by the schools
themselvesthere is no local/national body involved.
Provision of education in Sweden is highly de-centralised.
Framework legislation issued at the National level states what
targets to reach but leaves great scope for local authorities
in deciding how this is to be done. Sweden's 290 municipalities
are responsible for provision of childcare, compulsory and upper
secondary schooling. Most of the funding for education comes from
locally raised income tax.
The only subject where outdoor/outside the classroom
activities are required according to the syllabus is Physical
Education (PE). The requirement is not explicit but the syllabus
states that the aim of PE is partly to encourage pupils to spend
time in nature and to be able to find their way around in nature
(demands knowledge of how to use a compass and a map). PE also
requires pupils to be able to swim and to have practised life-saving
measures around water before leaving compulsory school. Swimming
and life-saving around water is usually practised at an in-door
Other activities may include visits to museums,
libraries, zoos, the cinema, the theatre etc. All of this is at
the discretion of individual schools and teachers. There is no
requirement for visits like these to be carried out.
There are no separate inspections of outdoor/outside
the classroom activities. Schools are however responsible for
the supervision of children during school hours and can be held
responsible for any accident that occurs throughout the school
day. This means that schools must ensure that there are proper
routines in place eg regarding any outdoor activities or visits
that are carried out. Many municipalities also take out insurance
to cover children while at school.
Education and activities carried out within
the framework of pre-school and compulsory school should on principle
be free of charge. There is anecdotal evidence of schools in certain
areas asking parents to pay for certain activities, such as visits,
where parents are able to afford this.
Any activities taking place within the framework
of the curriculum are arranged by the school itself. Teachers
who include out-of-the-classroom visits or projects in the teaching
of their subjects do not require special training.
In addition to the outside-the-classroom activities
mentioned above, it is common for Swedish children below the age
of 10 to attend after-school childcare. These facilities are often
located on school premises or in connection with school premises.
Municipalities are responsible for ensuring that staff have the
proper training to take care of and understand the needs of children
at this age. Municipalities must also ensure that the premises
used for after-school childcare are appropriate for that purpose
and that the sizes of groups are manageable.
Dutch schools are not required to offer pupils
education outside the classroom, but most schools offer out of
school experiences such as excursions, visits etc. Most municipalities
offer school-garden clubs for 10 year olds. The central government
offers school vouchers for cultural activities (actor in classroom,
visiting a theatre or a studio etc).
In addition, out-of-school care is available
for schoolchildren aged between four and 13. These centres are
open before and after school (and sometimes at lunchtimes), on
afternoons or days when there is no school, and during the school
holidays. These centres offer leisure activities and facilities
for doing homework.
In Germany responsibility for school education
lies with the 16 Laender or regions. This means that in practice
there are 16 different school systems which have their own set
of rules and regulations on education outside the classroom. It
is not possible therefore to give a full picture for the whole
of Germany, but the information that follows applies to the situation
applying in most Laender.
There are no out-of-school activities which
are compulsory for particular subjects. Class trips, excursions
etc take place at the discretion of the school or the individual
teachers. Physical education is compulsory in primary as well
as secondary school in most Laender.
All school pupils are automatically covered
by accident insurance (provided by the local authorities) during
lessons, on the way to and from school and during all school functions
or out-of-school activities for which the school is responsible
and is providing supervision. This also includes school trips
Parents have to cover the costs of their children's
school excursions (travel, accommodation etc). Accompanying teachers
get reimbursed for their expenses by their school or local/Land
education authorities. However, due to budgetary constraints several
Laender ask their teachers to cover at least part of their expenses.
All Laender have their own set of rules and
regulations for education outside the classroom. North Rhine Westphalia
(Germany's largest Land), for example, issued detailed guidelines
for school excursions in 1997. The most important elements of
these guidelines are as follows:
class trips are integral part of
excursions have to be embedded into
the curriculum and have to be prepared in class and assessed afterwards;
schools have overall organisational
responsibility and decide whether or not to make use of excursions;
the school conference (in which teachers,
parents and pupils are represented) decides on the overall framework
for excursions, including on the length and maximum costs. Parents,
teachers and pupils have to be given the opportunity to discuss
any proposals before the school conference takes a decision;
costs have to be kept at a minimum
so that they do not prevent any pupils from taking part;
if class trips exceed two weeks,
the extra time has to fall into school holidays;
class teachers make suggestions for
the programme, the length of time and the objectives of an excursion.
Parents are asked for their opinion and the head teacher decides
whether the plans are in line with the school's educational objectives
and with the guidelines produced by the school conference. The
head teacher also has to check whether there is sufficient funding;
any service contracts with transport,
catering or hospitality companies are signed by the school, not
by individual teachers;
parents have to produce written confirmation
that they will cover the costs of class trips which are taking
place over several days, even if their children are 18 years or
in order to provide sufficient supervision
with larger groups, parents or pupils over the age of 18 may take
the place of additional supervisory teachers;
private transport for class trips
is not allowed for safety reasons;
there are additional health and safety
guidelines for excursions which involve swimming or other activities
in water, mountaineering or skiing.
Out-of-classroom activities are considered an
important part of a child's education in Japan. Such activities
are conducted by schools mainly through: (1) "tokubetsu katsudo"
or "Special Activities" within the school curriculum;
(2) sports and cultural clubs carried out at the school; and (3)
as part of subject teaching in the school curriculum. Learning
opportunities may also be provided independent of schools by local
boards of education and private organisations.
In the elementary and lower secondary curriculum
(age 6-15), 35 hours a year (one hour a week) are allocated to
"tokubetsu katsudo" or "Special Activities".
Special Activities consist of: ceremonies (entrance, graduation,
etc), arts/cultural events (cultural festival, etc), physical/health
activities (sports festival, etc); outings (school excursions,
field trips, longer school trips, etc); and work and volunteer
Schools are free to devise their own plan according
to the available resources although schools will have to work
within the regulations and guidelines of the respective local
board of education. A board of education, for example, may have
a restriction concerning the ages of students allowed to participate
in trips involving overnight stays. Before the beginning of the
school year, schools have to submit annual plans to their local
boards of education, which will include details of their special
activities, for approval.
Parents in Japan are expected to pay for the
cost for out-of-school activities such as school trips. Some schools
have a monthly payment system for parents to cover such costs.
In cases of financial hardship, boards of education can provide
financial support to families through special funds for those
families on low incomes.
Evaluation of activities is carried out within
school and schools are monitored by their local board of education,
which has a supervisory role over the schools in its area.
Sports and Cultural Clubs
Club activities are an area of great importance
in Japanese education. In addition to developing students' interest
and skills, club activities give students the opportunity to learn
how to act as part of a group and are crucial in developing interpersonal
skills, perseverance as well as leadership qualities.
In elementary education, club activities are
limited to students from the 4th to 6th grades (age 9-11). Club
activities are not compulsory but students are encouraged to take
part in one of the sport or cultural clubs at the school after
classes. At the junior high level, some sports clubs meet 4-5
times a week and practices or games may take place at the weekends
or in the school holidays. Clubs are supervised by teachers and
most teachers are responsible for one of the sports or cultural
clubs at their schools. Teachers receive a small allowance for
supervising a school club. Some clubs, though, can involve considerable
extra work for teachers.
In the Course of Study (national guidelines)
for each subject, teachers are encouraged to provide students
with experiential learning activities as part of their subject
teaching which may occur outside the classroom. The School Education
Law in Japan has been revised in recent years to include a stipulation
that schools, in carrying out their subject teaching, should seek
to cooperate with social education-related organisations to expand
and improve experiential learning activities for students.
Although such activities will vary according
to the teacher and the school, out-of-classroom activities may
include growing plants at school as part of a science project
or looking after a class animal as part of moral education and
out-of-school activities may include museum or library trips as
part of social science education, field trips to local parks or
woodlands as part of science education, and visits to local companies
as part of a Period for Integrated Study project.
Local Boards of Education and Private Organisations
In addition to schools, boards of education
and private organisations play a role in providing students with
learning activities outside the classroom utilising skilled local
people and local facilities. Such learning activities are considered
as part of lifelong education in Japan. One example may be an
English class offered at the local public hall on Saturdays to
students at schools in the area. Another example may be a cultural
festival in the local library. Although not directly involved,
schools may play a role in promoting such events and cooperating
with local organisations.
On a national level, through a cross-party initiative
and with the cooperation of the private sector, the Children's
Dream Fund ("Kodomo Yume Kikin") was established to
provide grants for children's experiential activities, contributing
to the healthy development of young people. Examples of activities
include: activities to experience nature such as summer camps;
activities to experience community service such as caring for
the elderly; and also activities to promote and support children's
reading. Again, schools may play a role in promoting and cooperating
with the organisations providing these learning opportunities
in the local community.
Apart from the formal school curriculum, pupils
participate in co-curricular activities (CCAs) which are intended
to provide healthy recreation, and instil self-discipline, teamwork
and confidence in the pupils. The Ministry of Education, Singapore
established The Outdoor Education team in 1999 to provide assistance
and guidance to Singapore schools in the planning and implementation
of their outdoor education and adventure programmes.
There is a wide range of CCAs available in schools.
Pupils may choose from a variety of sports and games such as track
and field events, basketball, tennis or uniformed organisations
such as the Red Cross Society and National Police Cadet Corps.
They can, alternatively, opt for a cultural activity such as the
Military Band, the ethnic dance group or the drama club. Students
can also participate in clubs and societies like the Photographic
Society, the Computer Club and the Gardening Club.
Pupils are introduced to CCAs at Primary Four
(age 10) and participation is voluntary. At secondary level, they
must participate in at least one core CCA.
Schools compete in a number of co-curricular
events at the zonal and national level each year. These include
sports events such as track and field, swimming and cross-country.
The Singapore Youth Festival is an annual event which showcases
the creativity and talent of Singapore students through drama
presentations, choral singing, an art and craft exhibition, uniformed
group events and sports events.
Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) in New
Zealand is defined as any curriculum-based activity that takes
place outside the school, including museum visits, sport trips,
field trips and outdoor education camps
There is a strong history and culture of outdoor
education in New Zealand, with education documents over the past
century recognising the educational value of EOTC. By the 1960s
most schools offered field trips to students, which increased
in frequency throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. However,
it has been suggested that there has been a small decline in EOTC
in recent years, due to the decentralisation of education in the
late 1980s, increasing compliance costs and concerns about liability
for student injuries/deaths.
Schools are not required to offer EOTC, but
as a general rule all schools do. The provision of EOTC varies
from school to school, and often depends on the teachers' enthusiasm
EOTC is offered to students of all ages, from
early childhood through to secondary school level. Different approaches
to EOTC are appropriate for children of different agesthe
following is a guideline of the types of EOTC activities that
may be offered:
Ages 3-5: In early childhood centres, the specific
EOTC focus is on fieldtrips, which are generally short and frequent
with a high ratio of adults to children.
Years 1-4: EOTC is primarily about exploring
the local community within walking distance from the school or
accessible by local car, bus or train ride.
Years 5-6: In addition to the above, EOTC is
more likely to involve exploring rural or city environments and
possibly involving staying overnight.
Years 7-8: In addition to the above, exploring
bush and water environments within a few hours' walk from a road
end or accessible by vehicle.
Years 9-10: In addition to the above, exploring
other towns and cities in New Zealand, back-country areas that
take a day or more to get to, using marked tracks and involving
staying a few nights.
Years 11-13: In addition to the above, possibly
involving more remote back-country environments or overseas visits.
At most intermediate (Years 7-8) and secondary
schools (Years 9-13), in addition to curriculum extension activities
and opportunities for personal development, EOTC includes camping
and outdoor pursuits such as canoeing and abseiling, which require
tutors with specific skills.