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Out-of-classroom Education

Volume 449: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what barriers he has identified to effective out-of-classroom education in secondary schools in Northern Ireland; and what steps he is taking to overcome them. (86917)

The Department of Education has not carried out any formal assessment of the barriers to effective out-of-classroom education in secondary schools in Northern Ireland. Delivery of the curriculum, including out-of-classroom learning, is a matter for schools to determine, with the support of the Education and Library Boards.

As part of the Northern Ireland Sustainable Development Strategy, Government have already committed to promoting the use of the Education and Library Boards' “Education for Sustainable Development Good Practice Guide” in all schools. This guide includes information on education outside the classroom.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will issue guidance on out-of classroom education as part of the Northern Ireland secondary school curriculum; (86918)

(2) if he will make it his policy to ensure that every secondary school child in Northern Ireland has the opportunity to experience out-of-classroom learning in the natural environment.

The Department of Education specifies the minimum curricular content that schools are required to provide but does not specify how the curriculum should be delivered. It is therefore a matter for schools, with the support of the Education and Library Boards, to determine what out-of-classroom learning opportunities they provide. As part of the Northern Ireland Sustainable Development Strategy, Government have already committed to promoting the use of the Education and Library Boards’ “Education for Sustainable Development Good Practice Guide” in all schools. This guide includes information on education outside the classroom.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions his Department has had with the Education and Library Board chief executives to promote outdoor learning in secondary schools in Northern Ireland. (86919)

There have been no meetings between the Department and the chief executives of the education and library boards, specifically, to discuss the promotion of outdoor learning.