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How Much Outdoor Learning is going on?

  • Approximately 7 million pupil visits already take place every year meaning that thousands of pupils are going on visits every week. From a geography field trip to a week at a residential activity centre, out of classroom education can help bring a subject to life. The Government wants education outside the classroom to be an important part of all young people’s education.

DfES Press notice: 15 February 2005

  • There are probably 3 million school children who are involved in adventure activities each year, and 7 – 10 million days of school visits.

Marcus H. Bailie: Head of Inspection Services, Adventure Activities Licensing Authority

  • 2.5 million people  have visited its Field Study Council centres since 1943.

Field Studies Council

  • The Real World Learning campaign partners host visits for 1.5 million school children each year, but this is well below capacity and numbers have fallen by 10% in the last five years.

Real World Learning Campaign

  • Extract from the Government's response to the Second 'Education Outside the Classroom' Report
    We agree with the Committee that there is a wealth of good practice and many committed teachers, Heads and providers who value the benefits of learning outside the classroom and who make sure pupils experience a range of safe and stimulating activities. We believe these experiences should be widely acknowledged as an essential part of children's education at all stages.
    We also agree that evidence from different sources, sometimes contradictory, provides a patchy picture. Evidence direct from schools appears generally more positive than that from other sources.
    In July 2004 MORI research on study support (out of school hours activity) found that 67% of secondary schools provided field trips; the 2003-4 survey of school sport partnerships showed that 68% of the 6500 schools taking part in the survey offered outdoor and adventurous activities (which are part of the PE curriculum).
    In Autumn 2004, we commissioned the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards (DoE) and The Scouts Association (SA) to do a survey of school visits for 7 to 16 year olds in 900 secondary & primary schools. The draft report shows 86% of primary and 99% of secondary schools offer pupils at least one residential opportunity during their time in the school.

From the Education and Skills Committee, Session 2004-05


Links to other websites for these (and other) facts and figures about Outdoor Learning

What is Outdoor Learning:

INDEX: What is Outdoor Learning?

Introduction page to this research

How Safe is Outdoor Learning?

How Much Outdoor Learning is going on?

Why Outdoor Learning Matters: the case for Outdoor Learning

Who supports Outdoor Learning and Why?

Campaigns for Outdoor Learning

What are the Benefits of Outdoor Learning?

Examples of benefits gained from OL

What does the research say about Outdoor Learning?

Where to find Outdoor Learning Research?

Outdoor Learning Research in other Journals



The “What is Outdoor Learning?” research was undertaken by Dr. Roger Greenaway, author of publications such as 'Playback'. The idea for the research project came from the English Outdoor Council, and has been funded by IOL. It is potentially a key resource for the field.

Links to other websites were correct at the time of publication.