Samantha Torr – Could outdoor learning support KS3/KS4?

When we consider outdoor learning, we often think of primary aged pupils. With the new regulations and constriction of Covid 19, could we reinvigorate and regenerate the notion of ‘learning on location’ in our local outdoor areas?

It has been much documented during partial school closures about children’s mental health of being indoors and not being in school, which has led to stress and fatigue.  Covid 19 could be the perfect opportunity, to allow students to foster enquiry based learning that relates to the real world. This style of learning could equip them for critical thinking skills; their personal development; emotional wellbeing and rebuilding their health, whilst reconnecting with the outdoors.

The new government measures to ensure children are safe include, lots of ventilation via fresh air, social distancing within classrooms and schools have the added challenge of creating the space, to accommodate students in achieving these targets as more year groups return to school.

This week during training, we have been sharing exciting ideas as to how we could inspire students. So wrap up warm for autumn and consider some of these brilliant ideas:

  • In science, you could consider the golden ratio of circles seen in everyday life. This could also be transferrable to art whereby many artists use this mathematical model.

  • In maths you could investigate into Loci on a running track, measurements.

  • Photograph nature projects.

  • Discover your local area of historical artefacts.

  • In English, you could use a local park for midsummer night’s dream for role play. Focussing on the senses and use of language analysis.

  • Drama/role plays outside.

Dillon et al 2006, comments on how outdoor learning can support long-term memory. He also considers how teachers can role model these skills through outdoor learning.

Tips and advice

  • Depending on the context of your group it may be prudent to consider no worksheets whilst out on the trip and focus instead on the key questions of enquiry.

  • If you are travelling, a short activity to burn off excess excitement can be a good idea before focussing the students on the learning required.

  • Consider the cultural and diverse needs of your group in planning outdoor activities and trips.

  • Consider if there are self-guided learning opportunities to build confidence in the students.


There are a number of resources online that you can research for your subject area. have ideas that are downloadable including developing spatial awareness through fractions, crime scenes for creative writing, teaching Buddism as part of RE, making campfire bread, and modelling homes for varied environments for DT. Many ideas could be adapted to suit secondary learners.

Be creative and take advantages of the new normal.