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Field Courses

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what representations his Department has received regarding the effects of educational field courses on the academic performance of pupils; (73455)

(2) when the Education Outside the Classroom Manifesto is expected to be published; and what resources will be made available for schools to implement the aims of the manifesto;

(3) what steps his Department is taking to encourage teachers to take up fieldwork courses offered by science learning centres.

The Department works closely with organisations such as the Field Studies Council (FSC), National Association of Field Study Officers (NAFSO), Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Geographical Association and Association for Science Education on field work in schools including its contribution to improving academic performance. As part of the emerging Education Outside the Classroom Manifesto, a group of leading organisations from the fieldwork sector (including those listed above) submitted a report to the Department on the benefits of fieldwork and recommendations to promote and support field studies in schools.

We aim to launch the Education Outside the Classroom Manifesto before the end of the summer term when DfES will announce its pledges.

Science Learning Centres, a £51 million joint initiative by the Department and the Wellcome Trust, provide high quality professional development for science teachers.

To help encourage teachers to attend Science Learning Centres courses, the Department have provided funding to help subsidise the costs of the courses for the first two years of operation.