Q3. Do pupils have access to outdoor environments and how are they used for teaching science and maths?
Why this is important
- Ofsted’s ‘Maintaining Curiosity’ report cites how the use of outdoor environments in an extracurricular setting gives pupils the opportunity to see science in action.98
- A report from King’s College London indicated that after learning in natural environments, pupils demonstrate greater motivation to learn science and also perform better in maths and reading.99
- a description of the habitat access required
- an explanation of how each habitat can be used and its curriculum links.
A report by SCORE found on average, the outdoor environments mentioned in these benchmarks were accessible to at least 75% of the schools surveyed. 96% of respondents reported easy access to at least one form of outside learning environment.100
Ideas for improvement
You can ask subject leaders whether they have undertaken efforts to identify potential local environments which could be used to further pupils’ learning experiences and help them to see the real-world application of their work.
You can ensure that subject leaders and teachers are aware of various continuing professional development (CPD) resources that are available to support the teaching of science and maths in outdoor environments.
- The National Science Learning Centre provides CPD courses on Leading Science in the Outdoor Classroom at primary level, which include a focus identifying areas for development in the new primary curriculum.
- The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics provides an online CPD module on ‘Learning Maths Outside the Classroom’.
There are many organisations interested in outdoor learning that offer resources for teachers:
- The Association for Science Learning’s Outdoor Science Working Group lists resources which may be useful to teachers when thinking about outdoor education, such as the 2006 ‘Out-of-Classroom Learning’ booklet published by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, as part of the Real World Learning Partnership.101
- Learning through Landscapes provides ideas, resources and advice on outdoor learning activities to enhance children’s learning outside of the classroom.
Other questions in Resources
- Q1. What resources are available for teachers to use for science and maths teaching? Are the resources adequate to teach a broad curriculum?
- Q2. How is the school budget allocated to ensure staff have access to the resources required to teach a broad curriculum?