Outdoor Learning

Subject Leaders: Mrs Hartley & Mrs Hensman

What is it like to take part in outdoor learning at Witham St Hughs Academy?

Outdoor learning at Witham St Hughs Academy is a practical and fun experience that centers around developing our school values of resilience, unity and enjoyment. Outdoor learning provides children with the chance to develop problem solving skills in many different contexts, as well as giving children the opportunity to develop their teamwork skills when working in the outdoor learning space with their peers. The most important aim of our outdoor learning curriculum is to provide opportunities for pupil enjoyment, with huge benefits to mental wellbeing through contact with nature.

At Witham St Hughs Academy, we are lucky enough to have a designated wildlife area called ‘Witham Woods’. This area has a pond, a bird hide, den building area, digging/mud kitchen space, wildflower garden, camp fire space and bug hotel. Outdoor learning takes place in this space, supporting children’s mental wellbeing through contact nature, as well as inspiring a love of the great outdoors which we hope children will take with them as they leave the Academy. Pupils should leave our Academy with good communication and problem solving skills, excited to continue exploring the world around them, and with a keen sense of responsibility for its protection.

How is outdoor learning planned?

We believe that outdoor learning should spark curiosity and fascination about the world, and motivate children to want to spend time in the great outdoors, with a long term aim of inspiring children to protect our planet. Pupils are offered a progressive curriculum with age appropriate lessons for each year group taken from ‘Learning through Landscapes’, the UK’s leading outdoor learning and play charity. Designated, well planned lessons are assigned to each year group to offer a challenging yet age appropriate curriculum. As well as these planned year group lessons, sessions are also offered to groups of mixed age pupils to support mental wellbeing throughout the year.

How is outdoor learning taught at Witham St Hughs Academy?

Our outdoor learning curriculum is taught in an exciting and engaging way so as to inspire enjoyment and motivate children to spend more time outside. Outdoor learning provides children with unique first hand experiences and practical problem solving opportunities. Each year, pupils will build on their prior experiences through a sequential age appropriate curriculum to become resilient and motivated learners.

What about experiences?

The outdoor learning curriculum aims to offer children unique learning opportunities that would not be possible inside the classroom. These experiences build in complexity across pupils’ time within the Academy, becoming more challenging as the children progress in both age and experience.

Where can I see outdoor learning around school?

We are extremely lucky to have a designated space for outdoor learning within the Academy called ‘Witham Woods’, which we are continuously renovating. This space can be found outside at the edge of our school field, however, the love of the great outdoors can be seen throughout school when speaking to any pupil about their experiences there!

Work beyond Witham

Our outdoor learning subject leaders are always seeking to work beyond Witham St Hughs Academy and develop links with the wider community. ‘Wild in the Woods’, a local woodland based educational setting, have recently supported staff and children in developing the Witham Woods, and we hope to work with more local groups very soon!