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St Francis Church of England School

Outdoor Learning

In essence, the curriculum most be inclusive, be a stimulus for personal achievement and, through the broadening of pupils' experience of the world, be an encouragement towards informed and responsible citizenship.  A Curriculum for Excellence.

Why Do We do Outdoor Learning?

Successful Learners

  • Outdoor learning develops knowledge and skills in ways that add value to learners' everyday experiences in the classroom.
  • It has a positive impact on long-term memory.
  • It fosters the development of specific academic skills, as well as improved engagement, achievement and stronger motivation to learn.

Confident Individuals

  • Outdoor learning impacts positively on young people's attitudes, beliefs and self-perceptions.  For example, independence, confidence, self-esteem, personal effectiveness and coping strategies.
  • It yields benefits in the promotion of positive behaviour and improved physical fitness.

Responsible Citizens

  • Outdoor learning has a positive effect on social development and great community involvement.
  • It raises learners' attainment, improves attitudes towards the environment, and creates more positive relationships with each other, with teachers and with the wider community.
  • It renews learners' pride in their community and fosters a greater sense of belonging and responsibility.

Effective Contributors:

  • Outdoor learning impacts positively on young people's interpersonal and social skills, such as communication skills, group cohesion and team work.

How Do We Do It?

"Outdoor learning" in an umbrella term which covers a huge curriculum and all manner of learning styles be they teacher-planned or child-initiated, directed or independent, physical or contemplative, challenging or creative.  There are many opportunities offered at St. Francis school.

On site:

  • Whole class learning time
  • Play-times 
  • PE lessons 
  • Gardening club 
  • Sessions in the forest area 


  • Visits to local green spaces (organised as part of whole class learning)

Whole Class Learning

Whether on site or off site, the children's outdoor learning experiences will enhance their learning within the National Curriculum.  Although the focus of each session is on a specific learning objective, it will be presented within the Forest School ethos.  Planning will always be in place, but flexibility and versatility are essential in order to accommodate both the changes of weather and the developing interests of the children.  If appropriate, activities will be linked to current class topics, but stand-alone topics are also of great value.  Many topics fit into many different areas, just like experiences in real life.