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John Clifford Primary & Nursery School ‘Be your best. Celebrate success. Together we will be successful.’

Outdoor Education

Outdoor Learning at John Clifford

"The best classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky."

‒ Margaret McMillan

Everyday is an Outdoor Learning Day!

Follow our Outdoor Learning Journey on Twitter at



Why do we teach Outdoor Learning/OAA?


Outdoor Learning is highly valued at John Clifford School, with an important role to play in many aspects of a pupil’s life at school.

  • Enjoyment: enjoy participating and reflecting in outdoor activities and adopt a positive attitude to challenge and adventure
  • Confidence and character: enhancing their overall well-being by gaining personal confidence and developing character and resilience through taking on challenges and achieving success
  • Health and wellbeing: developing their self-awareness and social skills, and their appreciation of the contributions and achievements of themselves and of others
  • Social and emotional development: developing increased initiative and innovation, enthusiasm, curiosity, self-reliance, responsibility, perseverance, tenacity and commitment
  • Environmental awareness: becoming alive to the natural local and global environment and understand the importance of conservation and sustainable development
  • Activity skills: acquiring and developing a range of skills in outdoor activities, fieldwork, exploration, journeys and expedition
  • Personal qualities: developing and extending their key skills of communication, problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, leadership and co-operation
  • Skills for life: learning to appreciate the benefits of physical activity and the lifelong value of participation in healthy leisure activities and reflection
  • Increased motivation and appetite for learning: displaying an increased motivation and appetite for self-directed learning that is contributing to raised levels of attainment in other aspects of their development, as well as becoming concerned, responsible and fulfilled citizens
  • Broadened horizons: broadening their horizons and becoming open to a wider range of employment opportunities and life chances


How do we teach Outdoor Learning/OAA?


A full-time member of staff, with Forest School Level 3 Qualification and many years of outdoor education experience, is employed to ensure that all children access Outdoor Learning during their time at John Clifford. All necessary warm and waterproof clothing and equipment is supplied by school, ensuring that all can participate.


In Early Years, children spend half a day each week in the Outdoor Learning area. These sessions comprise a mixture of adult-led (knowledge and skills) activities and child-led exploration, giving the children the opportunity to self-direct and follow their own interests within the structure of the session. Staff are able to respond to each child’s needs and interests through close observations and interactions.


In KS1 and 2, OL leader and class teachers discuss how they can bring the curriculum outside to practise, consolidate, embed learning indoors, as well as look for opportunities to introduce new concepts, vocabulary and knowledge in OL sessions. This covers many aspects of the curriculum – commonly Science, Geography and History.


All classes in Key Stage 1 and 2 also access a series of OAA sessions ( Outdoor Adventurous Activities ) which makes up part of the PE provision and includes orienteering, mapping, team challenges and planning skills. 


Outdoor Learning strives to be accessible and inclusive of all learners. With an emphasis on personal development and process over product, staff prioritise getting to know each child and identifying individual needs and interests.


What are the outcomes for our children? 


Due to the commitment and passion of our Head and SLT, Outdoor Learning is now embedded at John Clifford. The outdoor experiences and learning taking place each day are celebrated by the children and staff. Parents are very supportive and positive about this provision at JC.


Take a look at our Outdoor Learning/Outdoor Adventurous Activities Curriculum Map

Interesting research on the benefits of Outdoor Learning

If taking part in Outdoor sessions, your child will need to bring warm and waterproof clothing and wellies or boots.

We have now taken stock of waterproof suits, waterproof trousers and wellies of all sizes, so we can dress anybody appropriately even if they forget their own gear!


Remember - there is no such thing as unsuitable weather, just unsuitable clothing! Please talk to your child about how many layers, extra socks, gloves, hats etc they need!

Your child will know if they need clothing but please check on the timetable if you are unsure.....

Please have a look at some of the activities we have been busy with this term
Playing in the muddy kitchen
Hot chocolate and stories in the Lodge