Learning Outside of the Classroom
At Biggin Hill Primary Academy we believe that every child should be exposed to a broad and balanced curriculum and have the opportunity to experience the world beyond the classroom walls as an essential part of their education.
Experiences are coherently planned alongside our curriculum that are sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment. We believe that progressive exposure to learning outdoors provides a route for young people to become more resilient and equips pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital to succeed in life.
Where possible we use the local context of a school where particular skills and knowledge may be lacking in a pupil’s local and home environment. Within this, it is recognised that both literacy and numeracy play an important role across the curriculum and that the development of subject knowledge and vocabulary should underpin this.
At Biggin Hill Primary Academy we prepare our children for the ‘outside world’, where the application of their skills, knowledge, understanding and character will all be needed to thrive. In this sense we feel that ‘contexts for learning’ are really important for applying and embedding knowledge and understanding – making it ‘stick’.
We recognise the value of learning outside the classroom in broadening the horizons of young people, raising self- esteem and making learning more memorable, by making regular use of their school grounds, local community and opportunities further afield to enrich the curriculum and provide pupils with more hands on learning experiences.
Learning outside the classroom has many benefits for our pupils, providing opportunities to develop social and emotional resilience, support wider learning and develop broader interests. Active learning readily develops the learning skills of enquiry, experiment, feedback, reflection, review, communication, problem solving, an enterprising attitude and cooperative learning – to name only some of the benefits.
The locality around school harbours a wealth of opportunities within relatively accessible distance. Learners can develop their skills to explore their local environment. This can enrich all areas of the curriculum, for example through land and streetscapes, sites of special scientific interest, heritage sites, places of worship, theatres and country parks. These can be planned into all aspects of the curriculum and, by taking learners out of their normal environment, stimulate their curiosity and imagination.
Quality learning experiences in ‘real’ situations have the capacity to raise achievement across a range of subjects and to develop better personal and social skills. When these experiences are well planned, safely managed and personalised to meet the needs of every child they can:
- Improve academic achievement
- Provide a bridge to higher order learning
- Develop skills and independence in a widening range of environments
- Make learning more engaging and relevant to young people
- Develop active citizens and stewards of the environment
- Nurture creativity
- Provide opportunities for informal learning through play
- Reduce behaviour problems and improve attendance
- Stimulate, inspire and improve motivation
- Develop the ability to deal with uncertainty
- Provide challenge and the opportunity to take acceptable levels of risk
- Improve young people’s attitudes.
In year 6 we provide the opportunity for children to experience staying away from home, which is a powerful way of developing key life skills, building confidence, self- esteem, communication and team working, for example. Staying at outdoor and adventure centres provides children with an opportunity to widen their range of experiences and find new skills and interests in which they may excel, enhancing their ability to attain, achieve or simply improve the aesthetic or health aspects of their later life.
As well as providing a wealth of opportunities for learning outside the classroom, we also invest in extracurricular activities within the school day. We believe that extra-curricular activities help students to learn about themselves and develop and use their skills and knowledge in different contexts. We believe that extracurricular activities allow students to explore an interest in more depth than what is covered in class — or maybe even find a completely new interest that they wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. They can also provide a great chance for students to broaden their perspective of the world, particularly those involved in volunteering and community service programs.
Our extracurricular activities are:
- Fully inclusive sports clubs
- Breakfast club
- French club
- All sorts club (Media and Art)
- Girls club
- Chance 2 Dance
- Bits and Bobs
- Revision clubs
- Rock Steady (Music)
- Gardening club