Midlothian Primary School Bike Festival 2016

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This year sees a new and exciting addition to the Primary Schools Outdoor Learning Calendar.  The Midlothian Primary Schools Bike Festival 2016 is designed for pupils in P6 and P7 and it is the first time this event has been organised in the area.  The venue being used is Beeslack High School where we are utilising their purpose built cycle track as part of the cross country competition.   It is taking place on the 14th of June during National Bike Week.   The Midlothian Council Outdoor Learning Service are delighted to be managing the event in partnership with local and national organisations.  We are expecting this event to be very popular and our  aim is that all the pupils and staff have a fun challenging day learning more about cycling and achieving success by developing their skills.  How to enter and other useful information can be found HERE.

Please get in touch with Sean Fallon (Teacher of Outdoor Learning) if you have any queries.

Contact: Email – sean.fallon@Midlothian.gov.uk   OR   Tel 01968 664117.

We look forward to seeing lots of learners and staff at the event.

CATB 2015 (4)                          Good balance                          untitled

Discover                                             Develop                                              Achieve

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

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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.

P5, P6 & P7 Orienteering Festival – Entries Welcome


IMG_5641The P5, P6 & P7 Inter-school Orienteering Festival takes place at Vogrie Country Park on the 4th of May 2016. This year the Festival will be open to all Primary Schools in Midlothian and East Lothian.

The main aims of the Festival are to:

  • Have fun!
  • Promote alternative physical activity in the outdoors
  • Provide an opportunity for pupils to compete in the sport of orienteering
  • Further increase pupils’ understanding of maps
  • Experience skills for learning and skills for life
  • Meet pupils from other schools

Festival information:

  • Schools can enter P5, P6 & P7 classes
  • There will be 3 different Orienteering courses suited to the ability of each class
  • There will be no charge for this event
  • Each school is responsible for arranging the transport of pupils to and from Vogrie Country Park
  • Each class can expect to be involved in Orienteering activities for about an hour
  • There will be no tuition on the day and it is expected participating students will have received tuition in their school grounds or at a CATO event
  • Schools will be asked to attend either a morning or afternoon time slot within school hours
  • Before or after the Orienteering Event schools can avail of other opportunities at Vogire Country Park – e.g. Orienteering warm up activities (staffed by Outdoor Learning) or Adventure Playground, Woodland walks – these should be fully organised and supervised by attending school staff
  • The winner of the fastest P5 pupil, P6 pupil, P7pupil, School and Authority will be announced after the event

To enter:

  • To enter please email me (eoin.keane@midlothian.gov.uk) the name of the school, the number of classes, the class size and the number of adults that will be attending by the 18th of March 2016
  • Once all interested schools have replied, further information will follow

Other resources and events:

  • An interesting booklet for coaching orienteering in primary schools is available from New Zealand click here to see it.

Primary Pupils Discover Orienteering

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During November the Midlothian Council Outdoor Learning team led another successful series of Discover orienteering sessions (formerly know as “come and try orienteering”).   These sessions took place in Ironmills and Penicuik Parks where almost 300 pupils in primary 5 and 6 participated from St Davids, Kings Park, Cuiken, Strathesk and Mauricewood schools.

During the sessions the pupils and staff learned transferable orienteering skills such as setting the map, feature identification, scale and route planning.  The learners all used our sport ident computerised system to complete 6 different orienteering courses which helped to increase their knowledge and application of new technologies.

The results of the November discover orienteering series and information on future events are now available HERE.



During the events we had a chance to talk to lots of  pupils, staff and volunteers and many were very keen to learn more about this fun and challenging sport.  There are a few things you could do to develop your skills further –

(1) Access the free resource called “tri-O” published by British Orienteering which anyone can use to develop orienteering skills.

( 2) In addition to this our Outdoor Learning team regularly go into schools to support the curriculum through orienteering, so if you work in a school please get in touch if you wish to benefit from this curriculum support.

(3) Join a local club such as Edinburgh Southern orienteering club (ESOC).

(4) Take part in the Mid/East orienteering festival on the 4th of May 2016 at Vogrie Country park. Book via your school.ESOC


We would like to thank all the pupils for taking part in an enthusiastic and energetic way. Many thanks equally to the school staff and parent volunteers for helping to make our events such a great success. Finally a special thank you to the members of ESOC who gave up their time to share their expertise. All much appreciated by the teachers in outdoor learning team.

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.”