Edinburgh primary school is first in Scotland to win national award for outdoor learning

An Edinburgh primary school has become the first in Scotland to receive a national award for its commitment to taking learning outside of the classroom.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Monday, 2nd August 2021, 10:32 am

St Andrew’s Fox Covert RC Primary School has been given the national Learning Outside the Classroom Mark (gold status), the highest accolade of its kind.

The award has been given by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC), established in 2009 and the national voice for teaching beyond the classroom which is known to contribute to raising attainment and improving pupil and staff wellbeing.

As part of the submission for gold status, the school made use of outdoor spaces such as Corstorphine Hill to study their school subjects and learn about core ecological values.

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Some of the children learning outside. Pic: Ric Brannan Photography.

Rebecca Favier, head teacher at St Andrew’s, said: “Being awarded the gold mark is a tremendous achievement for all the staff and pupils. That we are the first school in Scotland to achieve this makes it even more special. It shows that we are providing our pupils with potentially life-changing opportunities to learn in meaningful contexts.

“We’re thrilled to get national recognition for our efforts, and we look forward to continuing to develop what we do, helping our pupils achieve their potential and to promoting the many benefits of taking teaching and learning beyond the classroom walls.”

Primary 5 pupil, Billy said: “I love learning outside my classroom on Corstorphine Hill. We do maths, language, science, nature studies and art and it's fun doing it in the fresh air.

“Even when it isn't sunny we keep our outdoor clothes in school for all weather. It makes learning feel like playtime with my friends. St Andrew’s is the best school ever!”

St Andrew’s Fox Covert RC Primary School has been given the national Learning Outside the Classroom Mark (gold status), the highest accolade of its kind. Pic: Ric Brannan Photography.

Councillor Ian Perry, education convener for Edinburgh City Council, said: “Well done to all the teaching staff and pupils at St Andrew’s who have made such a massive contribution to achieving this award. It’s great to see such innovative learning and teaching being taken out of the classroom and getting the national recognition that it fully deserves.”

Dr Anne Hunt, chief executive of CLOtC, said: “Learning outside the classroom has many proven educational benefits as well as providing some of the most valuable and memorable experiences in a child’s school life.

“Achieving LOtC Mark (gold) demonstrates that St Andrew’s Fox Covert RC Primary is a leader in providing learning experiences outside the classroom and that these sessions are a genuine part of the everyday life of the school.

“I congratulate them on achieving this award.”

The LOtC Mark is the only national accreditation for schools which recognises and supports the development of learning outside the classroom across all subject areas.

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