Beth Gardner, Chief Executive of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom says the Autumn term is ripe with experiences for children - you just have to harvest them.
Lessons to be learned - Perfecting the classroom of tomorrow, todayFor most of us, the lessons learnt away from our desks are those that stay with us longest. Last year Ofsted recognised the power of learning outside the classroom. They found that getting out and about in small, frequent doses improves children’s understanding and standards, whilst also aiding their personal, social and emotional development.
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Yet while many of you will have already planned activities to get your students outside the classroom this autumn, some might not. This might be because of not knowing where to begin, misconceptions about paperwork or because of concerns over health and safety. So that undertaking these experiences is more straightforward, the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom – in collaboration with DCSF – has developed two resources to help. The first is ‘Out & About’, a web-based package of guidance to make planning and implementing learning outside the classroom activities easier. Consisting of ‘how to’ guidance and Continuing Professional Development modules, ‘Out & About’ helps schools take advantage of the myriad opportunities that are readily available to them (see 'Autumn Ideas', page 11). The most important aspect of ‘Out & About’ is that integrating learning outside the classroom into the curriculum should not mean a sea-change in a school’s modus operandi. Small tweaks in lesson planning can be brought in over a period of time to give children full access to these engaging experiences across a wide range of subjects.
The second programme we’ve developed is the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge. The Quality Badge is awarded to organisations and venues – such as museums, galleries and adventurous activities centres – that offer good quality learning experiences for educational visits, whilst managing risk effectively. Visiting ‘badged’ organisations makes a teacher’s life easier by immediately reducing the amount of paperwork involved in planning educational visits. Over 300 venues across the country already have the badge and schools undertaking visits this autumn should check that the venue either has a badge or is in the process of acquiring one. With ‘Out & About’ and the Quality Badge making it easier for schools to make the most of the fantastic educational opportunities this term presents, we urge all of you to seize the initiative and look for interesting ways to take learning outside the classroom this Autumn!
For ‘Out & About’ please visit
For the Quality Badge please visit
Learning outside the classroom activities help children and young people learn across a wide range of subjects – often at the same time. The Autumn term is full of exciting opportunities for classes to get out and about and have experiences that will stay with them a lifetime.
Why not visit a local wood?
As summer turns to autumn leaves fall from the trees and berries and nuts are stored as animals begin to hibernate. Getting among nature is a great entry into explaining the hows and whys of lifecycles, why the seasons happen and why the days get shorter.
Why not visit local religious sites?
Many religious festivals take place between September and December. Speaking to local religious leaders during festivals such as Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas and the Muslim New Year not only help students learn about the culture and literature surrounding the religions, but are also a great chance to better understand their communities.
Why not arrange a visit to a local bonfire?
Remember, remember the fifth of November when planning learning outside the classroom experiences! As well as helping explain British democracy, Bonfire Night is also a fantastic way to help children understand science and maths by talking about how and why fireworks work.
Why not visit a local war memorial?
World War One is a powerful way for students to access the past. As well as helping to explain what the war was about and how local communities used to be, the First World War also produced some memorable literature and art. A visit to a local memorial could inspire another generation to write their own poems about their communities, or even act as a springboard to a more advanced visit to a war museum or battlefield for older students.
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