Learning Outside the Classroom
LOtC Mark is awarded by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, the national voice for outdoor learning. The LOtC Mark is intended not only to recognise existing exemplary provision, but also to assist and support schools in developing their LOtC offer to enable all children to have access to meaningful experiences. LOtC Mark is the first national accreditation for schools that recognises, and supports, the development of learning outside the classroom across all subject areas.
In summer 2021 Great Kimble School was awarded the highest level Gold LOtC Award. This award shows our commitment as a school to providing a relevant and inspirational curriculum that uses the school grounds, venues (both locally and nationally) and visitors to develop and enhance the learning within school. It is a great honour to receive this accreditation that celebrates our success.
Outdoor learning at Great Kimble School is an integral part of all areas of the curriculum, playing a key role in enabling teachers to plan a broad and balanced curriculum. The role of outdoor education is vital in promoting children’s health and well-being and provides ways to develop their education beyond that offered in the classroom. As children increasingly spend more time in an electronic world, we intend to help our pupils develop a love and excitement for being outdoors and learning about the world in which they live. Learning outdoors provides children with opportunities for risk and challenge, for hands-on exploration and for learning to care for their local environment and the creatures that inhabit it. Within traditional curriculum subjects it offers opportunities for problem solving in maths, stimulus for writing, speaking and listening in English, first hand investigation in science and geography, and a wealth of creative and expressive activities in art. The joy and inspiration of learning outdoors promotes inclusion for all; those children who may find the more formal areas of the curriculum difficult to access have opportunities to shine beyond the classroom.
At Great Kimble, children have an amazing natural resource on their doorstep. They can walk out of the school grounds into beautiful, diverse countryside and also have the benefit of their own natural outdoor space at Smokey Row, allowing teachers to plan inspiring outdoor activities all year round.
At Great Kimble school we are privileged to be in an area of outstanding natural beauty with the Chiltern Hills on our doorstep. While our school does not have extensive grounds, the children can make maximum use of them school by using the aspects of the outside with frequent and progressive activities relating to broader learning that links to classroom work and beyond. The common thread of:
Love, Learn, Live
focuses on learning that supports growth mindset ideas and help the children in their personal and social development.
The children gain an immense amount from outdoor learning. They have a hands on approach to activities, develop confidence, self awareness and life skills. They learn new facts, ideas and concepts about the environment and the world in which they live and become more independent, motivated and willing to learn, play, explore and investigate.
In 2017 we were accredited with a Bronze level award for Learning Outside the Classroom in recognition of the range and quality of the outdoor experiences we offer all our children.
We are very proud of the outdoor learning opportunities we provide at Great Kimble and the children benefit from visiting our outdoor classroom (Smokey Row) every week. Smokey Row is a piece of meadow land close to the school. During this time teachers skilfully plan for creative ways in which curriculum subjects can be enriched from learning outside. Our children love these afternoons spent off the school site and work co-operatively together, problem solving and developing their awe and wonder for the world around them.
The walk to Smokey Row is used for mental maths work, speaking and listening skills and also to support the children’s understanding of the Earth’s movement in space, observing changes across the four seasons, observing the apparent movement of the Sun during the day and also observing the weather associated with the seasons. At Smokey Row, the children look after the land, shape the willow tunnel and take care of the hedge that was professionally planted. This is doing incredibly well: all sorts of berries and different coloured leaves are on view for the pupils to observe.
Our pupils learn to cross the railway line safely: they are aware of the importance of being quiet so you can hear the noise of the train, not only the whistle but also the rumbling in the tracks. .
With the new focus of the Science Curriculum from 2014 we are truly blessed to have been gifted this wonderful piece of land.
Building a Sensory Garden - Case Study
LOtC Assessor Comments 2021
It is clear that Great Kimble C of E Primary school is fully embracing LOtC across all aspects of their curriculum. They show a great commitment to embedding LOtC at every opportunity both in their policies and SDP and in all subjects’ curriculum planning. Their LOtC policy is particularly comprehensive and shows how they consider LOtC as a central part of their curriculum. It is clearly a priority for them, and they show exemplar use of LOtC across the whole school. The use of their school grounds and sites away from the school on a regular basis has created a holistic view to LOtC integrating into all subjects and planning. Their engagement in LOtC is being used creatively including school grounds, local areas, visits and trips. Staff are fully supported to undertake LOtC and have flexibility to undertake LOtC which feeds into their pupils’ interests. They fully involve the local community and parents in the pupils’ LOtC and communicate their commitment to the wider school community. Their Risk benefit assessment process meets the high standards and includes all teachers and pupils in the consideration of risk which is good to see. They are supporting other schools in their journey in LOtC and provide an excellent example of how LOtC can improve and motivate pupils’ learning. LOtC Assessor, 2021