Children Going on Fewer Outdoor Education Trips Than a Generation Ago, Reveals BET Poll
— Leading academy trust sets out how it ensures that all its students, including the poorest, experience character-building outdoor education —
The vast majority of people believe children today go on fewer school expeditions and trips than when they were at school – with the cost highlighted as the main reason for the decline.
The survey was commissioned by Bohunt Education Trust (BET) and was conducted by polling company Censuswide. It found that only 10% of people believe that children today have more outdoor education opportunities than they had in their school years, with nearly three-quarters of people (71%) blaming cost as the biggest factor stopping children experiencing outdoor education.
Some 72% of those surveyed called for a greater focus on outdoor education in both primary and secondary schools – more than three-quarters of people (78%) said outdoor education was important for children’s self-development, and more than two-thirds (68%) said it improved academic achievement.
This tallies with a study by the Education Endowment Foundation last month, which said that: “Overall, studies of adventure learning interventions consistently show positive benefits on academic learning. On average, pupils who participate in adventure learning interventions make approximately four additional months’ progress over the course of a year. There is also evidence of an impact on non-cognitive outcomes such as self-confidence. The evidence suggests that the impact is greater for more vulnerable and older learners (teenagers), longer courses (more than a week), and those in a ‘wilderness’ setting, though other types of intervention still show some positive impacts”.
Bohunt Education Trust (BET), one of the country’s top-performing academy trusts, is a leading proponent of outdoor education. It champions an extensive outdoor education and outdoor learning programme for all its students, nurturing talents and providing opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. BET sees outdoor education as crucial to building well-rounded individuals, for resilience, character and teamwork, as well as beneficial for academic attainment.
Bohunt is a course provider for Mountain Training UK and students across their seven schools have in recent years gone on expeditions to Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Greenland and the Himalayas, with ones planned next year and in 2019 to Norway, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Greenland, the Himalayas and Sri Lanka. The Trust also has a strong commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, while at Bohunt School in Wokingham, climbing is incorporated into the curriculum.
Crucially, the Trust also ensures that outdoor education is available for all its students, regardless of background. Better-off students are expected to fundraise, with the expeditions programme scheduled three years in advance, allowing families to plan. All students receiving the Pupil Premium are provided with bursaries, so that every student who wants to go on a trip can do so.
Phil Avery, Director of Education at Bohunt Education Trust (BET), said:
“We are incredibly proud to be not just promoting but proactively championing meaningful outdoor education opportunities for our students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“At Bohunt we really invest in these opportunities, providing bursaries for our poorer students so that they can still go on the trips and expeditions, because they provide so much benefit for young people. They help their self-development, communication and resilience, and instils a sense of adventure and challenge which prepares students for success in life. Additionally, external studies and our own data show there is a strong link between academic attainment and outdoor education.
“It is a real shame that outdoor education opportunities have decreased for many young people but we are proud to be one of the leading providers of outdoor education in the country, and given the positive impact of such opportunities on children and young people, we are keen to work with other schools, academy trusts and education providers to ensure that more students have access to outdoor learning.”
Notes to editors:
BET’s schools are:
- Bohunt School in Liphook, which was named TES School of the Year in 2014 (secondary)
- Bohunt Sixth Form in Liphook
- The Petersfield School in Hampshire (secondary)
- Bohunt School Worthing (secondary)
- Bohunt School Wokingham (secondary)
- Priory School in Portsmouth (secondary)
- City Academy Norwich (secondary)
- Bohunt School Horsham (all through opening September 2019)
The Education Endowment Foundation report from November can be found here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/evidence-summaries/teaching-learning-toolkit/outdoor-adventure-learning/
At Bohunt Education Trust, internal data on the academic results of students from different prior attainment groups shows a correlation between outdoor education involvement and Progress 8 figures:
P8: Progress 8 figures for the whole cohort (Year 11 summer exams 2017)
H P8: Higher Ability students’ Progress 8 scores
M P8: Middle Ability Students’ Progress 8 scores
L P8: Lower Ability Students’ Progress 8 scores. (There was a very low number of students in this group who took part in the outdoor education programme, hence the different pattern)
The Censuswide survey:
- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Censuswide.
- Total sample size was 1,001 adults.
- Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th and 15th December 2017.
- The survey was carried out online.
- The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).