Professor Chris Chapman, Director, Policy Scotland
Dr Jo Neary, Reseach Associate, School of Education, University of Glasgow
The UK Government and the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have all recently released their plans for schools re-opening.
These plans acknowledge this will not be business as usual but may involve ‘blended learning’ of online classes at home, and in-school classes, smaller class sizes, staggered start, end, and break times, and a focus on hand hygiene and social distancing.
To ensure smaller class sizes, one suggested measure is utilising alternative spaces such as community locations and outdoor learning. The latter is of particular importance given the acknowledgement that risk of virus transmission outdoors is significantly lower.
The suggestion for schools to utilise outdoor learning in Scotland precedes the COVID-19 crisis, and it can be seen to complement Curriculum for Excellence with the promotion of a holistic, flexible approach to teaching and learning intertwined with real-life contexts.
This briefing reviews selected international evidence as to the benefits of, and barriers to, outdoor learning, and offers some points of reflection regarding how outdoor learning can be managed.
Written content is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.