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Outdoor Education

Volume 495: debated on Tuesday 30 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what funding his Department has given to the Learning Outside the Classroom programme in each of the last three years; and what funding has been allocated to the programme for each of the next three years; (282418)

(2) how many schools have indicated their support for the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto in each year since its launch;

(3) how many children of each age in each region experienced learning outside the classroom in each of the three years (a) before and (b) after the launch of the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto.

A breakdown of the Department’s investment in England into the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) programme is set out as follows:

Financial year

Funding (£)

2006-07

1,750,000

2007-08

1,560,000

2008-09

1,500,000

This year the Department is funding the newly established Council for Learning Outside the Classroom £740,000 to take forward the aims of the Manifesto. Funding beyond this financial year has not yet been agreed.

There are currently 1,698 signatories to the Manifesto, including 199 schools. We also know from the huge interest and enthusiasm from schools for last year’s LOtC Awards that schools and teachers recognise the importance of different activities outside of the classroom in supporting learning and development for their young people.

The Department does not collect data on how many children experience learning outside the classroom. However, we know that most schools do provide learning outside the classroom and recognise its importance. The 2006 NFER survey confirmed that schools were doing the same, or more, learning outside the classroom than before and they expect to do the same or more in future. Changes to the secondary curriculum are designed to encourage ‘curriculum opportunities’ outside the classroom and the proposed new primary curriculum, to be introduced from 2011, which is currently subject to consultation, will also reflect the need for teachers to engage pupils with these experiences.