CfE - Through Outdoor Learning - Resource Links

The following web pages contain information designed to help you deliver curricular subjects using the 'Outdoor Classroom'. Despite some of the information being directed at the English curriculum there are many generic ideas and resources that are worth being aware of.

Archaeology Scotland – Schools Resources

Free downloadable activity pack available with links to other useful sites. Lots of activity ideas that help children to explore and understand the nature of historical evidence, solve problems and apply knowledge about the past. Also available are activity guides - cross curricular step by step activities that allow children to experience different aspects of an archaeologist’s role. Archaeological dig simulation workshops can be booked and  investigation artifact kits can be borrowed. Links with CfE and case studies are also included. A very comprehensive and interesting site.

BBC Breathing Places - Schools

The site contains opportunities to get involved in wildlife surveys and search for wildlife events. It has a useful list of partner organisations, Free downloadable resources are available including activities to explore / conserve nature in school grounds / local area. Resources are organised by season and comprise downloadable teacher notes and activity packs. Examples of good practice are shared in the “Do one thing for nature” case studies section.

Cairngorms Learning Zone

A vast, well organised website full of fantastic information about all aspects of the national park. A great research tool aimed at upper secondary but could be used with younger pupils given appropriate support.

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Duke of Edinburgh's Award - Curriculum for Excellence

Included in the website is evidence of how DofE fits with CfE, case studies and guidance on when and how young people can do DofE. Information can also be accessed about each level of award, including ideas about how to plan and complete each section with useful links to organisations who can offer help and placements to DofE candidates. There is also guidance on sources of funding.

Eco Schools Scotland

There is an introduction to eco schools, guidance on how to take part and apply for an award. Also available is an explanation of the structure of the eco schools programme for teachers and pupils. Eco Schools News blog and links to sourcing funding, downloadable newsletters, activity ideas and CfE outcome maps for each level linked to each area of the eco schools programme can also be accessed. Examples of good practice are shared through case studies and training opportunities are advertised.

Edinburgh Zoo - School Programme

The site contains descriptions of lesson outlines that can be delivered by the education department at the zoo for each level linked to CfE outcomes. There is also information on how to book, plan and risk assess an educational visit to the Zoo. Also available are details of the schools linking project and outreach programme through which education officers from the zoo can deliver lessons and bring animals to your school.

Farming and Countryside Education- Resources

On the site you will find newsletters, membership information, events and training diary, comprehensive and imaginative ideas, resources and case studies linked to CfE covering a wide range of topics categorized by curricular area. There are also interactive resources including games, podcasts and videos and a link to the environmental and land based studies diploma resources website.

Farms for Schools - Teachers Guide

A downloadable guide to support teachers in involving pupils in countryside events and shows. Practical guidance on planning a visit: reasons for a visit, resources for pupil and teacher preparation, help with risk assessment, practical considerations during the visit, evaluation and follow up notes. Includes curriculum links for the countryside to outcomes and themes.

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Field Studies Council for Scotland

Information about residential courses and programmes using field studies activities to meet outcomes in science, geography and environmental resource management at secondary levels. Also outlined is the cross curricular programme for primary and early secondary pupils and information on health and safety and how to book.

Forest Education Initiative

There is a link to information on forest schools. Also examples of approaches / programmes / themes to explore through woodland learning with support materials and relevant links, including – forest schools, rural skills and vocational training, woods as a sustainable resource, climate change, careers and apprenticeships. The site has a wide range of woodland related learning resources that can be searched for by curricular area, age group and key words. Links to other useful outdoor learning sites and research about forest education. A useful, easy to use site.

Forestry Commission Scotland - Tree Trunk

This is a database of information on trees, woods and forests containing  links to a variety of books, posters, videos, sound tapes and leaflets, including examples of how and where they could be used to support the teaching of different areas of the curriculum at all levels. There is a search facility to help find specific topics or the whole resource bank can be browsed. A good proportion of the resources are free. Sample lesson plans are also available for download.

Glow Groups - Outdoor Learning Glow Groups

Opportunities for discussion, useful web links, resources, CPD opportunities. The National OL site is well worthwhile visiting. Your contributions for the CfE through OL - Highland Council would be most welcome.

Grounds for Learning

The site contains advice and sources of support for developing and using school grounds for learning. There are also CPD opportunities and case studies. Particularly useful is the resources section where you can search for curricular areas and stages. There are a good number of resources available to non members, but if your school becomes a member of grounds for learning for about £60 per year then there are lots more available for free download. The resources are focused on school grounds. The quarterly newsletter which you can subscribe to on the website is useful and inspiring.

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Growing Schools

Downloadable resources related to farming, gardening and the natural environment. Online search facility for training opportunities, places to visit near your location and news of outdoor learning events. Research evidence to back up your case for learning outdoors and getting children involved with growing plants and produce.

HSE School Trips - Case Studies

HSE has produced a number of case studies to illustrate and encourage proportionate responses to the planning and delivery of school visits.

Highland Council - Countryside Rangers

Introduction to the ranger service facilities including information about the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, events page and ranger contacts for each Highland region

Historic Scotland - Educational Resources

Information about planning and organising visits to Historic Scotland sites and sources of funding. Descriptions of learning programmes available for all stages linked to CfE. CPD opportunities and free downloadable resources for teachers and pupils. A range of handling boxes covering various historical periods are available for loan to schools.

Hoda - Art and Music

We use creativity and outdoors activity to bring out the best in young people of all abilities and from all backgrounds.

We also aim to  develop an awareness of our environment through facilitating projects which offer a space to respond, using visual art-forms  and music to  reflect.

By running  workshops which integrate  animation, music we  have built up our reputationfor delivering exciting site-specific events across the length and breadth of Scotland.

Creative Star Learning Company

This is a really helpful website packed full of helpful tips, resources, inspiration and practical ideas for taking learning outdoors across the curriculum. There are also a wide range of CPD opportunities available. The blog is updated weekly with a wide range of creative ideas and reflections.

John Muir Award - Curriculum Link

Guidance on how to get involved in the John Muir Award programme. Newsletters, events and training opportunities. Case studies and ideas for activities to meet each of the challenges.

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Learning Outside the Classroom

Information about the benefits of outdoor learning and guidance on overcoming obstacles. The site also has a series of online CPD modules to help teachers prepare themselves for taking pupils into the outdoors, an outdoor learning accreditation scheme and links to other sites with a variety of useful resources.

Learning Teaching Scotland - Outdoor Learning

This is useful site with lots of links to other sites and resources. The LTS publication “Curriculum for excellence through outdoor learning” can be accessed from here. Advice on health and safety and places to learn outdoors is available and the sharing practice and support materials sections are particularly helpful for outdoor learning ideas across the curriculum.

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park - Kids Zone

A helpful online learning resource. Lots of information aimed at primary and lower secondary pupils. Mostly focused on the national park, but some resources such as the otter information pack are transferable to other locations.

Met Office - Education

Sections for kids, teens and teachers. The kids section contains on line cross curricular interactive games, activity ideas and weather facts. The teen’s section has information about extreme weather events and the impacts weather can have in the form of case studies. The teachers section has a wide range of lesson plans linked to the national curriculum and organised by key stage, but adaptable for CfE. There is also background information about many aspects of weather and climate and links to up to date weather data.

Nature Detectives - Stuff for Schools

Lots of useful environmental education resources. There is a really good story telling pack on this site which can be emailed out free. I think this would be an excellent outdoor literacy focus.

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National Trust for Scotland - Schools

Information about planning and organising visits to National Trust for Scotland sites. Descriptions of learning programmes available for all stages linked to CfE. CPD opportunities and free downloadable resources and images. Information about membership for schools.

Outdoor Maths

You need to register as a member to access resources on this site, but it's easy enough and there are some good outdoor maths ideas that address a range of outcomes.

Place Based Learning

Case studies of place based learning projects focusing on sustainability and community development issues.

Real World Learning

Inspiring quotes and explanations for the benefits of learning outdoors. Overview of the reasons why children might be missing out on outdoor learning opportunities and the aims of real world learning to change this situation. Links to partners sites, sources of research, articles and case studies.

Royal Highland Educational Trust

This website is focused on issues around food, farming and the countryside. It contains information about projects and vegetable growing competitions, classroom talks from farmers and resources such as posters and DVDs which can be ordered for free.

RSPB - Kids

Lots of bird / conservation related activities for children. The main RSPB site has comprehensive information about all UK bird species.

RSPB - Teaching

Information about visiting reserves, top tips to develop your schools grounds to help wildlife through the breathing places project. Guidelines on other ways to get involved with wildlife conservation such as the big schools birds watch and wildlife action awards. Downloadable resources covering geography, literacy, numeracy and science linked to national curriculum levels.

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Scottish Natural Heritage - Resources for Teaching 

A great online resource covering a wide range of outdoor environments, including: forests, seashore, freshwater etc. Each set of resources includes comprehensive background teachers notes and a super range of activities to help pupils to explore the particular environment.

Information about new projects and many aspects of Scotland’s wildlife and landscapes. Details of sharing good practice events and sources of support and justification for learning outdoors can be accessed along with a range of free downloadable resource packs with an environmental theme. In addition many of the activities have numeracy and literacy outcomes. To get the packs you need to fill in your email address and they will be forwarded to you.

Teach - IT Outdoors

Teach-IT Outdoors is designed to build teachers confidence in delivering quality, creative and regular lessons outdoors. What makes these lessons unique is the use of the latest technologies to support learning outside.

As with all of our products, we have made a conscious effort to make Teach-IT Outdoors a jargon-free, fun and inspirational resource. It can be be used in any nursery or school regardless of surroundings. Teach-IT Outdoors comes as both a handy pocket-sized paper pack and a dynamic, easy to use website. All lessons are curriculum linked and contain step-by-step guides so it’s easy for you to deliver quality learning experiences outdoors.

Woodland Trust

Background information about woodlands and trees and their ecological importance. Free seed kits, trees and activity resources linked to CfE outcomes are available to order or download.

Other useful documents;

High Quality Outdoor Education

A guide to recognizing and achieving high quality outdoor education in schools, youth services, clubs and centers.

Out of Classroom Learning - Practical information and guidance
for schools and teachers

Scottish Outdoor Access Code - Activity Guides

Free to download. One available for 8-12 year olds and one for 12-14 year olds. The core themes of the access code are:  take responsibility for your own actions; respect the interests of other people and care for the environment which can help to develop the CfE 4 capacities.

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Taking Learning Outdoors - Partnerships for Excellence

A downloadable Learning and Teaching Scotland publication which addresses the rationale for outdoor learning, It includes a clear definition of outdoor learning and presents a rationale for delivering CfE through sustainable learning outdoors.

Other web sites;

Adventure Service Challenge

ASC scheme, is a three-fold, integrated, interwoven scheme of activity for young people aged 8 to 14 years and beyond. It offers activities of:-

  • ADVENTURE
    Discovery, exploration, leisure pursuits, attitudes to and skills for life
  • SERVICE
    Concern for others, opportunities for helping those in need
  • CHALLENGE
    A comprehensive and complete training programme.

The ASC scheme is complete in itself. It is also designed to prepare young people for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. (Adventure Service Challenge)
This website contains a history of ASC, details of the stages of the scheme, a questions section and an information pack that can be downloaded.

Junior Award Scheme Scotland

The Junior Award Scheme Scotland (JASS) is an accredited learning programme for young people from P6-S2.   It has been developed as a partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council and FOTA E&L to support young people through the transition from primary to secondary education and to deliver on all aspects of Curriculum for Excellence.

Outdoor Education Advisers Panel (England)

Much of the information contained within this web site is very relevant. There is advice and support about all aspects of learning outdoors. Help with addressing safety issues and opportunities for training.

Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education

This site contains information about the work of SAPOE which is an organisation made up of members from all of Scotland’s local authorities. It aims to act as a representative voice on matters relating to outdoor education, and to safety in outdoor activities. It is  good site to visit for information about current issues and developments.

Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Information about how to enjoy and manage access to the outdoors responsibly. Sources of advice on particular access issues and questions. Recent news and current campaigns.

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