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Outdoor Education Provision in Scottish Schools

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    Rights statement: ©Christie, B., Beames, S., Higgins, P., Nicol, R., & Ross, H. (2014). Outdoor Learning Provision in Scottish schools. (pp. 48-64). Scottish Educational Review.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-64
Number of pages17
JournalScottish Educational Review
Issue number1
Early online date1 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014


This paper examines the frequency and nature of outdoor learning provision in Scottish schools, with specific attention paid to teachers’ approaches to learning outdoors, and it considers what further support and practical training teachers need to develop their practice. This enquiry is timely as no such data has been gathered since 2006 (see Higgins, Nicol and Ross, 2006) and little is known about how the policy document Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning and associated Education Scotland support has influenced outdoor learning provision. Questionnaires were administered to primary and secondary schools (n=90 returns) across four local authority areas. The results indicate that secondary schools are keen to develop outdoor learning provision and they need support to do so. Also, there is an increased use of school grounds as a context for learning within the primary school sector. In light of these findings and recent developments within national education, recommendations are made for both in-service and pre-service teacher training.

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