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Outdoor Education

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effects of the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto Partnership on the (a) number and (b) quality of school activities outside the classroom. (252916)

The Department has not made an assessment of the effects of the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto Partnership on the quantity and quality of learning outside the classroom activities.

Prior to the launch of the manifesto in November 2006, the Department published an assessment of activity and practice in schools and local authorities. This found that provision had either increased over the last five years, or had remained broadly the same; and was predicted to remain steady or to increase, over the following academic year. The independent Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, which will take forward this work from April this year, is proposing a further study.

With our partners, the Department has brought together existing safety and quality badges into one easily recognisable Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge for provider organisations. From 30 January 2009, it will be awarded to providers who have demonstrated that they meet six quality indicators. To support schools in planning, organising and evaluating these experiences, the Department published the ‘Out and About’ guidance in October 2008.