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Free course to help Shropshire teachers get outside

A leading educational charity is on a mission to help teachers across Shropshire and beyond give their pupils the benefit of outdoor learning. 

The Field Studies Council looks for teachers to take part in its new pilot Primary Outdoor Learning Programme
The Field Studies Council looks for teachers to take part in its new pilot Primary Outdoor Learning Programme

Learning outdoors is proven to improve children’s mental health and success in school, but about one in 10 children don’t get chance to regularly spend time outside.  

The Field Studies Council is now looking to recruit 30 primary school teachers for a free pilot project aimed at sharing the benefits of learning outside the classroom. 

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Teachers who sign up will get four online training sessions, access to a supportive online community and an overnight stay at the FSC’s field studies centre at Preston Montford, near Shrewsbury, to put what they have learned into practice. 

FSC chief executive Mark Castle said: “We know that outdoor learning can make a real difference and, as experts in the field, we want to invite primary school teachers to access some of the knowledge we have to enthuse, engage and build confidence in their own outdoor teaching. 

“The Primary Outdoor Learning Programme is designed to recruit primary school teachers who are keen on engaging with outdoor learning but may lack confidence, skills or opportunities to include this in their teaching. 

“This pilot project is initially aimed at teachers across Shropshire and the West Midlands region. If your school is not already a Field Studies Council customer, and you will commit to completing this free programme, we would love to hear from you. 

“Research shows that activities in nature positively impact pupils’ mental health, wellbeing and their engagement with school, but one in 10 children do not regularly spend time outdoors. This programme can help teachers make a huge difference to the education and wellbeing of their pupils.” 

Applications for the programme close on October 31. The online webinars will take place between 4pm and 5.30pm on November 2, November 23, January 11 and February 1, followed by overnight in-person training at Preston Montford from noon on Saturday February 25 until 4pm on Sunday February 26, which includes free meals and accommodation. 

The Primary Outdoor Learning Programme has been developed out of research gathered from the Nature Friendly Schools project, which was led by The Wildlife Trusts and included the Field Studies Council, YoungMinds, Groundwork UK and the Sensory Trust. The project was funded by Defra and the Department of Education and supported by Natural England.  

Mark added: “We know being outdoors has a beneficial effect, and as part of the project, the National Centre for Social Research worked with us to understand why. Nature Friendly Schools is the largest ever research project of its type, and it has the potential to shape the way we view education as a nation.  

“Using the learning legacy of this project, FSC wants to make a difference to primary teachers by helping them get their students outdoors.” 

For more information and to sign up, visit https://www.field-studies-council.org/primary-outdoor-learning-programme/

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