Learning Outside the ClassroomMANIFESTO We believe that every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances Front cover image provided by Richard Revels (rspb-images.com)
01 We define learning outside the classroom as: “The use of places other than the classroom for teaching and learning.” These, often the most memorable learning experiences, help us to make sense of the world around us by making links between feelings and learning. They stay with us into adulthood and affect our behaviour, lifestyle and work. They influence our values and the decisions we make. They allow us to transfer learning experienced outside to the classroom and vice versa. “There is only one thing more painful than learning fromAll Saints C of E School performing their musicwith movement piece Salam Alekum at the experience and that is notSouth East Artsmark celebration event, June 2006. learning from experience.”Photo: David McHugh.Provided by Arts Council England Archibald McLeish
02 03 It provides a context for learning in What is our vision for young people about? many areas: general and subject based knowledge; thinking and problem-solving Learning outside the classroom is skills; life skills such as co-operation and about raising achievement through an interpersonal communication. organised, powerful approach to learning in which direct experience is of prime How we learn importance. This is not only about Much has been learnt in recent years what we learn but importantly how about how the brain works and the different and where we learn. ways in which we prefer to learn. Research suggests the need to re-engage learners with the world as they actually experienceWhat we learn it. This is often called ‘experiential’ orAs we are all aware, education is more ‘authentic’ learning.than the acquisition of knowledge.Improving young people’s understanding, In recent years teachers1 have beenskills, values and personal development exploring ‘learning how to learn’ in ordercan significantly enhance learning and to raise achievement. What we see, hear,achievement. Learning outside the taste, touch, smell and do gives us sixclassroom is not an end in itself, rather, main ‘pathways to learning’. Young peoplewe see it as a vehicle to develop the are intensely curious and should be givencapacity to learn. It provides a framework the opportunity to explore the worldfor learning that uses surroundings and around them.communities outside the classroom. The potential for learning is maximised ifThis enables young people to construct we use the powerful combination oftheir own learning and live successfully physical, visual and naturalistic ways ofin the world that surrounds them. learning as well as our linguistic andThere is strong evidence that good quality mathematical intelligence.learning outside the classroom adds muchvalue to classroom learning. It can lead to adeeper understanding of the concepts that It is clear that to bespan traditional subject boundaries and successful and meaningful,which are frequently difficult to teacheffectively using classroom methods alone. better provision needs to be made for learning through experience in the world outside the classroom.1 We use ‘teachers’ throughout this document to denote all those that lead and support learning outside the classroom, for example, school support staff and practitioners in many different venues.
Learning Outside the ClassroomMANIFESTO What are the educational benefits? Giving young people responsibility for By helping young people apply their achieving these outcomes helps them to knowledge across a range of challenges, learn from their successes and failures. learning outside the classroom builds Learning outside the classroom provides bridges between theory and reality, support for many different curriculum areas. schools2 and communities, young For example, all young people have an people and their futures. Quality learning entitlement to do fieldwork as part of their experiences in ‘real’ situations have the geographical studies. Linked to the capacity to raise achievement across a curriculum, these activities provide direct range of subjects and to develop better and relevant experiences that deepen and personal and social skills. enrich learning. When these experiences are well planned, How does this fit with key safely managed and personalised to meet education priorities? the needs of every child they can: Learning outside the classroom provides a Improve academic achievement. powerful route to the ‘Every Child Matters’ outcomes, in particular enjoying and Provide a bridge to higher order learning. achieving, staying safe and being healthy. Develop skills and independence in a Much learning outside the classroom will widening range of environments. take place as part of programmes that Make learning more engaging and support personalised learning and relevant to young people. complement the strategy for young Develop active citizens and stewards people set out in ‘Youth Matters’. of the environment. Nurture creativity. When does learning outside the classroom take place? Provide opportunities for informal learning through play. It can happen at any time – in the normal school day, before and after school, during Reduce behaviour problems and weekends and holidays. improve attendance. Stimulate, inspire and improve Where does it take place? motivation. The simple answer is that a wide range Develop the ability to deal of environments can be used anywhere with uncertainty. outside the classroom. Provide challenge and the opportunity to take acceptable levels of risk. Improve young people’s attitudes to learning. 2 The term ‘schools’ is used throughout this document to denote education establishments, for example, early years settings and Pupil Referral Units.
Learning Outside the ClassroomMANIFESTO Who should be involved? What is the purpose of our vision for A recent public consultation has highlighted learning outside the classroom? the value of learning outside the classroom. Our shared vision is open for anyone to This Manifesto can involve everyone who sign up to – schools, early years settings, sees the benefits to young people. youth groups, clubs, local authorities and That means Government, headteachers, children’s services, parents, and young governors, teachers and support staff, people, and all those that support them. parents3, local authorities, community and Its purpose is to: voluntary organisations, curriculum subject bodies, businesses and all those agencies Act as a statement of common intent that provide external support to schools. that will make better use of our individual By working together, we can help all young and collective resources. people to benefit, especially those whose Encourage more widespread use circumstances make it more difficult for of educational opportunities outside them to participate. the classroom. Inspire schools and those organisations that support learning outside the classroom to provide high quality experiences for all young people. Set out a shared agenda for future activity, which recognises that real progress will depend on the co-operation and collaboration of all signatories. Make it easier for more organisations and individuals to see how they can best contribute. Image provided by the English Outdoor Council Inform the development of government policy. Call on others in the public, private, voluntary and community sectors to work in partnership with us to deliver our aims. 3 Throughout this document, the term ‘parents’ is used to denote parents and carers.
06 07How can you support learning What actions will we, asoutside the classroom? signatories, take?Endorsement 1 We will provide all young people with a wide range of experiences outside To begin with, we urge you to the classroom, including extended endorse and champion the Manifesto. school activities and one or more As signatories you recognise the value residential visits. of learning outside the classroom and, through this shared statement, seek to 2 We will make a strong case for promote these values to others. You are learning outside the classroom, committed to working in partnership so there is widespread appreciation with each other to achieve these of the unique contribution these collective priorities and do this for the experiences make to young benefit of all young people now and in people’s lives. the future. Signatories to this new and powerful vision are coming together as 3 We will offer learning experiences of a national body to take forward the agreed high quality. actions set out below. 4 We will improve training andPledges professional development opportunities for schools and Whatever your interest in learning the wider workforce. outside the classroom, the role of this Manifesto is to ‘make a difference’. 5 We will better enable schools, So we ask you as an individual or an local authorities and other key organisation to pledge your support by organisations to manage visits making public the actions you intend to safely and efficiently. take. The partners that have helped draw up this Manifesto have made their 6 We will provide easy access to intentions clear by pledging action. information, knowledge, expertise, guidance and resources. 7 We will identify ways of engaging parents, carers and the wider community in learning outside the classroom. See the signatories and their pledges at www.teachernet.gov.uk/learningoutsidetheclassoom The website provides details of how you can sign up and make your own pledge.
Learning Outside the ClassroomMANIFESTO Image provided by Low Bank Ground team 1 Provide all young people with a wide range of experiences outside the classroom, throughout their education ONE
08 09All young people should haveregular and meaningfullearning experiences, whichare focused and enjoyable.They should have well-planned activities,which provide a continuing and progressiveprogramme from 0-19 and allow them toparticipate in ways that are appropriate totheir needs.Children’s services, early years settingsand schools have a central role in planninglearning outside the classroom into theirmanagement, curriculum, teaching andlearning, extended services andprofessional development. Those thatsupport these services are key to providing Image provided by the Citizenship Foundationthe help, expertise and resources needed. WE WILL Provide inspiring activities that meet the needs of all young people, whatever their age, ability or background. Ensure these activities offer first hand experience of the world outside the classroom, practical and relevant learning and progression across key stages. Provide a range of experiences that help develop key life skills, including personal, learning, enquiry and thinking skills; and that deepen and enrich subject learning.
10 11 If all young people were given these opportunities we believe it would makeWe strongly support the a significant contribution to raisingeducational case for learning achievement in national curriculumoutside the classroom. subjects, in the five outcomes of Every Child Matters and in the expectations of Sustainable Schools www.teachernet.gov.uk/sustainableschools. Research reports published by a number of bodies over recent years all carry similar strong messages about the benefits. Better access to published research would make it easier to find the evidence to persuade others of the benefits. It would assist policy makers in government and elsewhere in identifying where further research would be valuable. WE WILL Continue to develop the evidence base to support and guide the development of learning outside the classroom and to spread best practice nationally and internationally. Support Action Research that encourages teaching and non-teaching staff and all those who support young people between the ages of 0-19, to explore differing approaches. Develop communication tools for a range of audiences to promote the benefits of learning outside the classroom and highlight the contribution it can make to raising achievement.
Learning Outside the ClassroomMANIFESTO Image provided by the Geographical Association, Action Plan for Geography 3 Offer learning experiences of agreed high quality THREE
Learning Outside the ClassroomMANIFESTO 4 Improve the quality and availability of training and professional development for schools and the wider workforce FOUR
14 15Many of those working with young people WE WILLrecognise the benefits of out-of-classroomlearning experiences as an essential part of Support practitioners to use learningteaching and learning; others feel they lack outside the classroom confidentlythe confidence, expertise or time to and capably.prepare and deliver such activities. Develop accessible and well publicised opportunities that meet the needs ofWe want everyone involved teachers and others at different stages in their careers.to recognise the value oflearning outside the classroom. We will work with training institutions and the Training and Development Agency for Schools to improve theProfessional development needs to be fit quality and availability of training.for purpose and relevant to the user, takingaccount of the roles of staff in schools, We will work together to provide newearly years settings, local authorities and opportunities that build on existing goodorganisations that provide opportunities quality provision, for example, Educationand resources. We strongly endorse its Visit Co-ordinators training.inclusion in Initial Training and in ContinuingProfessional Development. We will work with appropriate organisations to develop subject based and accredited provision. Image provided by Bolton Museums and Archives and John Crossland (Past below Ground)
Learning Outside the ClassroomMANIFESTO Image provided by English Outdoor Council 5 Support schools, early years settings and local authorities to enable them to manage visits safely and efficiently FIVE
16 17We applaud the expert work in keeping millions WE WILLof young people safe outside the classroomevery year. The educational benefits should Keep safety management practical andremain the driving force for learning outside the proportionate, which includes keeping safety-classroom. However, it is recognised that there related paperwork to the necessary minimum.are potential hazards in school grounds and thewider environment and that there is a need to Produce clear guidance for keeping youngtake appropriate action to manage risk wherever people and staff safe on visits.it might occur.Responsibility for pupil safety mainly rests with Work together to encourage teachers andthe school, which should ensure that staff have external providers to show clearly and simplyreceived appropriate training and that policies how they meet health and safety standards,and guidance are followed. The role of the local and share expertise and best practice.authority, headteacher and Education VisitsCo-ordinator is central to the sensible Encourage the use of ‘safety badges’,management of any risk. showing that external providers manage safety appropriately, so schools can use them without seeking more detailed assurances.It is also vital that youngpeople learn how to managechallenge and risk forthemselves in everydaysituations, so they becomeconfident and capable adults. Image provided by the Geographical Association, Action Plan for Geography
Learning Outside the ClassroomMANIFESTO Image provided by Richard Revels (rspb-images.com) 6 Provide schools, early years settings, local authorities and the wider workforce with easy access to information, guidance and resources SIX
18 19There are many sources of information,support, guidance, and resources availablein many different places. It can be difficultfor school staff to find what they need, andto judge whether what is offered will meetthe needs of pupils. Co-ordination at localor regional level can provide an invaluableservice to schools, helps reduceduplication of effort and brings providerstogether to offer more effective support.Some local authorities andregions are already workingstrategically to providesupport to schools andother interested parties. Image provided by REonline/The Culham InstituteThere are also examples of national on-line services. Good practice is also being WE WILLspread, for example, through subject Ensure school staff and others have easyassociations and non-governmental access to the information, guidance andorganisations. This is helping more resources they need to prepare lessonsschools to be consistent in adopting and to organise and lead activities.safe standards. Encourage partnerships that build the capacity of schools and those that support them.
Learning Outside the ClassroomMANIFESTO 7 Identify ways of engaging parents, carers and the wider community in learning outside the classroom activities SEVEN