Council for Learning Outside the Classroom

Learning takes place EVERYWHERE

As schools start to re-open to more pupils and thoughts turn to planning for the coming academic year, teachers are having to contend with and respond to new challenges and adopt new ways of working.

Taking learning beyond the classroom, whether that is into school grounds, supporting pupils at home or visiting a new venue, is a vital tool to helping engage students and support their transition between home and school.

Learning outside the classroom is more than an annual day trip or week away. Learning outside the classroom can help students to flourish, it brings learning to life and builds connections between textbooks and the real world.

To be truly successful learning outside the classroom needs to be part of a progressive programme of activities and experiences that take place across the whole curriculum and all key stages. It is about getting children and young people out and about, providing them with challenging, exciting and different experiences to help them learn; blending short activities around the school grounds with longer experiences off-site.

The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom has been supporting schools and teachers to take their teaching beyond the classroom walls for more than twenty years. It is he only national charity that champions learning outside the classroom across all subject areas, age groups and learning environments.

Learning outside the classroom is good for everyone

Taking learning beyond the classroom is good for pupils, teachers and schools. It…

  • Improves health and wellbeing – teaching in different spaces helps breakdown barriers and has been proven to increase happiness and reduce stress levels for both pupils and teachers.
  • Improves engagement – by making learning more enjoyable and inspiring leading to increased attainment and progress.
  • Leads to better relationships – between teachers and pupils
  • Makes learning active – helping to tackle obesity and develop positive life-long behaviours whilst improving learning and retention.

5 principles for success

To get the most from your teaching beyond the classroom, you should follow these 5 key principles

  • Commitment – The school is committed to providing learning outside the classroom experiences for all pupils and across all key stages
  • Integration – To realise the full potential, ensure learning outside the classroom integrated throughout the curriculum
  • Creativity & connections – Encourage a creative approach to the use of available resources to connect learning and pupils with nature and the real world
  • Impact – Make sure you monitor and evaluate the impact of learning outside the classroom to understand how it can be developed and improved
  • Risk management – Create a culture of ‘risk awareness and management’ rather than ‘risk averse’

Where can learning outside the classroom take place?

The ‘places’ where learning happens can have a significant effect on how a young person engages with a subject or an idea. Learning outside the classroom can happen at almost any time and almost anywhere – outdoors or indoors: in the school grounds, on the high street, in the local park, in museums and art galleries, on mountain tops and rivers, in Britain’s remote places, or elsewhere in the world.

Your learning outcomes should drive your decision on where to deliver your lesson and what to do.

The only limit to where learning can take place is your imagination. Here are some typical places and venues:

  • School grounds
  • Local woods, parks or nature reserves
  • Street & townscapes
  • Places of worship & sacred spaces
  • Museums, theatres, galleries & music venues
  • Libraries & archives
  • City farms & community gardens
  • Farms & the countryside
  • Zoos & botanic gardens
  • Heritage & cultural sites
  • Field study & environmental centres
  • Cultural, language & fieldwork visits
  • Remote wild & adventurous places
  • Expeditions abroad

Look for the badge

If you are using an external provider or venue for an educational visit or tour, the Department for Education recommends schools use a LOtC Quality Badge holder. This is the only national accreditation that recognises the quality of education offered and the standard of risk management.

LOtC Quality Badge holders have passed a robust assessment and can offer support in planning your educational visit or tour and provide resources to help in the lead up to a trip or to embed learning once you return to the classroom.

Council for Learning Outside the Classroom

Where to get more information and advice

For more advice, guidance and support to take your learning outside the classroom visit the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom www.lotc.org.uk

CLOtC provides schools with the support needed to deliver learning experiences beyond the classroom. We do this through providing high-quality resources, training and nationally recognised accreditations for providers of these services.

CLOtC is leading a sector-wide campaign to increase awareness and understanding of the value and importance of learning in different places and spaces. The need to support schools and families take play and learning safely and effectively beyond the classroom has never been greater; and the benefits of learning outside of the classroom – at home, in school grounds, or in local spaces – have never been so important. Find out more about our campaign and plan to help more schools take learning inside out.

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