Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Basic Principles of the Learning Outside the Classroom Programme

The Learning Outside the Classroom

At its simplest, Learning Outside the Classroom involves young people moving outside their immediate and accustomed environment to learn from first-hand experiences. Wherever young people learn, from the ages of 0 to 19, learning outside the classroom has a part to play as an integral element in that learning. All young people should experience learning outside the classroom and its benefits as a central aspect of the learning experience, the curriculum and the courses they are engaged with.

By stepping outside the classroom the opportunity exists to transform learning and raise achievement. Learning outside the classroom allows participants to learn in context, to learn by practical engagement, and to learn by personal discovery. Students can master new skills, work collaboratively with others and develop a better sense of themselves and their potential. There really is no limit to where the earning Outside the Classroom can take place. Give it a try!

In School Grounds
Habitats (e.g. playing field, hedge, meadow and pond), School garden or growing area, Outdoor classroom, Story telling area, Adventure play equipment and climbing/traversing walls, Woodland
Outside school

Park or woodland, High Street, City farm, Community garden or allotment, Garden centre, Library, Historic and contemporary buildings, Arts venues

Botanic parks and gardens, Country parks, Places of worship, Museums and heritage sites, Theatre, Adventure activity centres, Nature reserves, Science and discovery centres, Zoos and aquaria

The aim is not only to make clear that learning outside the classroom has significant learning benefits for participants but also to explore how it can be successfully delivered so that more young people develop their knowledge, understanding and skills beyond the classroom walls.

The LOtC - Quality Badge

The new Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge is now live. The Badge will be awarded to providers who have pledged to engage in an ongoing process to sustain high-quality learning outside the classroom and who have demonstrated that they meet six quality indicators:

• Have a process in place to assist users to plan the learning experience effectively;
• Provide accurate information about its offer;
• Provides activities, experience or resources which meet learner needs;
• Review the experience and act on feedback;
• Meet the needs of the users; and
• Have safety management processes in place to manage risk effectively.

The Quality Badge scheme was launched on 2 October 2008 and the first Quality Badges were awarded in February 2009. If a provider is not yet listed in the Quality Badge database, this does not necessarily mean they are not offering a quality experience and they may be working towards meeting the quality indicators and being awarded a Quality Badge.

The Quality Badge provides a national accreditation combining the essential elements of provision - learning and safety - into one easily recognisable and trusted Quality Badge for all types of Learning Outside the Classroom providers. The badge is for any organisation or venue that provides learning outside the classroom experiences for children and young people aged 0-19, where they Offer high quality teaching and learning experiences and manage risk effectively.

For clients, the Quality Badge provides an assurance that a provider:
• Offers 'what it says on the tin';
• Takes account of the needs of users;
• Has an emphasis on 'learning/skills outcomes'; and
• Operates in a healthy and safe environment

For providers, the Quality Badge will:
• Accredit the quality of educational provision;
• Provide a marketing opportunity;
• Better enable 'fast tracking' for client approval;
• Improve consistency in educational provision; and
• Provide a useful development tool.

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