Over the years much has been made of the value of outdoor learning. Much evidence has been anecdotal, and there has been some research into the effects of outdoor learning. Steve Ranger, Director of TrekCo, has an M.A. in Education specialising in the Value of Outdoor Education in Secondary Schools. Summarised below are papers and pieces of information which may help when considering the benefits of Outdoor Education.These are not presented as a coherent body of work; rather a collection of links and quotes for your aid.

Articles and References about the benefits of Outdoor Education

Research shows that children learn best through real life experiences. Taking learning beyond the classroom walls makes learning more memorable and appeals to different learning styles. 99% of  teachers say that students are more animated and engaged when learning outside the classroom (Opinion matters survey on behalf of TUI Education Division, 2010)


18th August 2015 – Quote from Judith Hackitt, Chair of the HSE: I recognise that not everyone is lucky enough to live in a village like mine, but the benefits of outdoor play are universal.  It’s so much more fun to get into mischief yourself than to watch animated Minions and the like doing it, and the fun goes hand in hand with learning important lessons that simply can’t be taught in a classroom, real life lessons about dealing with risk and looking out for one another.

See the full article here


Outdoor Education supports improved standards back INSIDE the classroom, raising attainment, reducing truancy and improving discipline (The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, 2014)


Outdoor Education is known to contribute significantly to raising standards & improving pupils’ personal, social & emotional development. It also contributes to the quality and depth of learning (OFSTED, Learning Outside the Classroom, How far should you go, 2008)


Outdoor Education enables children to interact in new ways with their peers and adults, improving relationships between teachers and pupils, particularly with those students who are hard to reach in the classroom environment


Outdoor Education is effective in delivering learning outcomes across all areas of the curriculum including literacy, numeracy, science, history, geography and IT and has the most impact when opportunities to learn outside the classroom are frequent, continuous and progressive


OFSTED says that LOtC is crucial to delivering a broad and balanced curriculum (response to Select Committee review, October 2010)


Review of meta analysis of 97 studies on OE finds positive results : Hattie, J. A., Marsh, H. W., Neill, J. T. & Richards, G. E. (1997).  Review of Educational Research67, 43-87.


Outdoor Education on Wikipedia:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outdoor_education


House of Commons Education and Skills Committee Education Outside the Classroom Second Report of Session 2004–05:    http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.com/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmeduski/120/120.pdf 


Dissertation: ‘Exploring the Value of Outdoor Education’ by Steve Ranger Dissertation as pdf Abstract This study attempts to assess the uses and potentials of Outdoor Education in comprehensive schools. A case study school is used to illustrate the range of issues identifiable as connected with an Outdoor Education programme in such a setting. The literature is examined as a means of selecting lines of enquiry and a combined qualitative methodology is used to investigate the chosen issues as identified from both the literature and initial interviews with central figures. The data is critically analysed to illustrate the views and perceptions of the programme from teachers, pupils and parents at the school. These issues are connected with those arising from the literature so as to gain a broad picture of the effects of the programme on pupils and the whole school. The conclusions drawn from these findings give a positive picture of the results of the programme and identify key areas for its further development. It is shown that he programme has strong support and has integrated well into the school, but that the overall situation of the subject at the time of writing is that of an emerging area with need for greater dissemination of ideas. The subject is seen as needing a more cohesive application if its concepts are to be fully understood by schools.


An OFSTED report on ‘Outdoor Education – Aspects of Good Practice’ This report looks at some good practice in the outdoors following observations at a number of outdoor centres in 2004.  http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/outdoor-education-aspects-of-good-practice