“Invaluable” – Outdoor Learning Service – Making a Difference – User Survey Results 2017

“I only wish more time could be devoted to outdoor learning so we can develop the confidence in the children and help them achieve more successfully at school” (User Survey 2017)

A huge thanks to all our Midlothian establishments who completed our recent 2017 Outdoor Learning Service user survey.

The Survey is now closed and the results are in.

We are delighted that so many took the time to make such positive comments about the quality of how we engage with schools to deliver Outdoor Learning to our pupils across the region.

100% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that:

  • Teaching sessions delivered were effective in connecting with learners needs
  • Equipment, teaching materials supplied and venue used were appropriate for your learners
  • Outdoor Learning Teachers were professional, friendly, knowledgeable and helpful at all stages
  • Outdoor Learning Teachers dealt appropriately with the welfare and safety of the learners

97% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that:

  • Sessions were  effective in connecting with the curriculum and planned learning outcomes
  • Learners enjoyed their outdoor learning experiences when using the service
  • Midlothian Council Outdoor Learning Service was good value

The comments on how you value the service and how it contributes to the breadth of education provided in Midlothian are also much appreciated.  You can see the full survey results at the link below.

We are always striving to improve the service and your feedback will input directly to our 2018-20 service plan.

Thank you all for your support in making our service succeed. We look forward to working with you further in 2018 -19 to develop exiting outdoor learning opportunities linked to curriculum and school improvement plans that help us all continue to raise attainment and learning across Midlothian and deliver Educational Excellence.

Click here for the full survey results


How good are our visits and residentials?

With the implementation of the new online Midvisits/EVOLVE system offsite visits planning, monitoring and approvals numbers are more visible, trackable to learning aims and outcomes & increasing. The latest approved visit numbers using the new system can be seen in graph above for the 2015-16 school period*

It’s amazing to see so many trips taking place and using new system from our Schools in Midlothian and establishments but how good are they? – using the new Midvisits/Evolver’s system to track and monitor learning outcomes to visits can be used to make sure you plan brilliant visits and maximise the impacts and benefits that visits and residential can bring including;

  • Intensity of experience
  • A new context for relationships
  • Different and varied opportunities to experience success
  • New ways of learning

(Brilliant residentials and their impact on children young people and schools, making the case for high quality residential learning – 2015 Paul Hamlyn Foundation)

It’s understood that visits and residential experiences can have an impact on attainment but as visit leaders often more awareness is needed in making clear links on “resilience, confidence, and grit” and the current focus nationally on character education.

Latest training opportunities – click on hyperlinks below for more information;

john-muir-trust-Learning Away: Making the case for high-quality residential learning

Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, 4-6pm, Monday 21st March

Chris Loynes: Educational advisor on the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Learning Away Initiative

The  free evening talk is hosted by John Muir Trust & Education Scotland. – click on the link above to book a place

shetlers jpeg


Training is also available locally with the outdoor learning service to support and promote these links including some new courses for those leading visits from Midlothian establishments to help you plan effective, safe and relevant visits e.g.

Visit Leader Training – for those planning leading and evaluating visits

Visit Coordinator Training – for those approving and coordinating visits within establishments

Midvisits – getting the most out of the EVOLVE/ Midvisits system – workshops using and discovering additional features within Midvisits.

HGIOS4: How good is our outdoor learning?

Outdoor Learning = an approach to learning embedded in the curriculum (HGIOS4)Virtuos Cycle of Improvement

We are delighted to see the new version of HGIOS4. It mentions Outdoor Learning many times across the cycle of improvement in the new publication emphasising the impact and importance of Outdoor Learning in supporting the following areas;

  • 1.2 Leadership of Learning- impact of career-long professional learning“We support staff to access high-quality professional learning linked to cross-cutting themes such as sustainable development education, global citizenship, outdoor learning and international education”
  • 2.2 Curriculum – Learning pathways ” We ensure children and young people have access to high-quality learning in all curriculum areas and through outdoor learning”. Features of highly effective practice  – “Outdoor learning is a regular, progressive curriculum led experience for all learners.”

  • 3.1  Ensuring Wellbeing, Equality and Inclusion“Staff take account of research linking benefits of outdoor learning and green space with wellbeing”

  •  3.2 Raising the attainment and Achievement – Challenge Questions – “What progress and achievement do children and young people gain from our outdoor learning experiences?”

The report also highlights the importance of Outdoor Learning to Support learning for Sustainability ; “… enabling learners, educators, schools and their wider communities to build a socially-just, sustainable and equitable society. An effective whole school and community approach to LfS weaves together global citizenship, sustainable development education, outdoor learning and children’s rights to create coherent, rewarding and transformative learning experiences”

To discuss further development of your school’s outdoor learning get in touch with your Outdoor Learning service contact, so we can work together to support you and achieve the goal of  “outdoor learning as a regular, progressive curriculum led experience for all learners.”


600+ Pupils Attend 2015 Orienteering Festival – Final Results

si-start_closeorienteering Boxes jpegOver 600 pupils took part in the recent Orienteering Festival at Vogrie Country House. An amazing turnout to a fantastic event using this superb venue.

A huge thank you to the staff at Vogrie, the Active Schools team and all the staff in the Primary Schools who entered their enthusiastic pupils and made the event possible.

The event was organised by Midlothian and East Lothian Outdoor Learning Services and has been a great success and we hope to run again in 2017.

Three linear courses were set out for P5, P6 and P7 that challenged their navigational abilities.

Despite the mixed weather all young people appeared to enjoy the opportunity to partake in this event. It was great to see so many enthused pupils and staff.  With course times ranging from 9 minutes to almost an hour it certainly appeared to challenge all pupils. Plenty of smiles from our confident,successful learners.

Congratulations to all the pupils who took part.The Midlothian winning schools in each category are:

P5 – Newtongrange PS
P6 – St. Mary’s PS
P7 – Cuiken PS

Results can be found here – Showing all results for all schools so you can see how well your individual teams and pupils performed. 

IMG_5639We will be running more “Come and Try Orienteering Events” in the 2016/17 year. but for those orieneteers that wish to take their talent further and pit themselves against others from across Scotland then we need to enter some great events coming up;

Scottish Schools Orienteering Competition.(click link)

Closing date for Entries  – 27th May 2015

More Orienteering opportunities locally:

A series of informal events run by ELO will visit three towns of East Lothian in the coming weeks (6 to 7pm)

  • Wed 20th May – North Berwick – Lodge Grounds and the Glen
  • Wed 3rd June – Haddington – Neilson Park and the Tyne Path
  • Wed 17th June – Tranent – Polson Park and the Heugh

These events visit areas new to orienteering. They aim to provide an introduction to orienteering for beginners. Please just turn up between 6 and 7 – look for an East Lothian Orienteers flag. No equipment required – just a willingness to give the sport of Orienteering a go.

More local events can be found here 

Visit Leader and Visit Coordinator Training

NExcurisons Building the Curriculumew dates for Visit Leader Training (VLT) and Educational Visit Coordinator Training (EVC), for Midlothian Educational establishments have been added to learnPro and are now available.

These courses cover all you need to know about leading,planning and coordinating an educational visit and will follow the Midlothian Council Guidelines and the  Going Out There – Scottish Framework for Safe Practice in Off-site Visits.

More information available at the links below;

Visit Leader Training (VLT)

Educational Visit Coordinator Training (EVC)