Discover Bushcraft – Pilot Sessions Oversubscribed

Over 200 students attended the Discover Bushcraft Session run over 4

IMG_8910 days. The activities took place at Vogrie Country Park and Penicuik Estate. The P3 & P4 students came from 4 Midlothian Schools.

During the sessions the pupils and staff learned about the art of Bushcraft. Each student participated in 3 different activities. Firstly a fire lighting station – here they used a fire stick and lit a small fire, secondly a hammock station – this is where they learnt about putting up hammocks safely working together in pairs and thirdly an environmental art station – they read a book and made stick men models form natural resources.IMG_8909

The students had numerous opportunities to learn about; managing risk, to evaluate their work, to be inspired by a range of stimuli when working on art and design projects, to work and learn with others. It was no surprise the toasting of marshmallows was a big hit!

There are a few things students and school staff could do to develop their skills further –

(1) Have a look at this web site –

(2) Think about attending Forest Schools training – a leaflet can be found here.

(3) The Outdoor Learning team regularly go into schools and provide Bushcraft sessions, if this is of interest please get in touch.

(4) Keep in contact about future Discover Bushcraft sessions

The pilot sessions were a great success. They provided an activity for a whole class and targeted a younger age group. It was experiential learning – which the students relished.

Outdoor Learning Lesson Plan – Links to CfE

boys in wood

At the Outdoor Learning Service we have always known about the value of the lessons we provide. We regularly discuss this with teachers when arranging activities to ensure their students get the most out of the experiences they are engaging in. Now we have produced an Outdoor Learning Lesson plan that clearly identifies and details links to the Curriculum for Excellence.It is no surprise that a number of Experiences and Outcomes can be linked to the activity days we provide.


The lesson plan is broken down into 4 sections;

1. The stages of the lesson – this is simply the experiences in chronological order that pupils will have when working with our team.

2. The aim – an explanation as to what we hope to achieve at each stage of the lesson, it provides us with basic criteria to assess our success.

3. The example of activity – this section identifies some of the activities that might take place at different times during the lesson. Although similar lessons take place at the Outdoor Learning Service often they can be quite different because of the nature of our amazing Outdoor Classroom.

4. Some examples of the links to CfE – here the stages of the lesson are closely linked to specific Experiences and Outcomes. This is not a definitive list and Outdoor Learning can be used to teach all subject areas – it has numerous cross-curricular themes.

This lesson plan can be used when considering future programmes with the Outdoor Learning Service or possibly when delivering Outdoor Learning at your school. It is a generic lesson plan which broadly covers some of the core lessons we teach at the O.L. Service. Of course, if required we can teach more specific lessons which focus on particular Experiences and Outcomes your class may be working on.

The Lesson Plan can be found by clicking on this link: Generic Outdoor Learning Lesson Plan. If you have any further comments or examples regarding how you are using Outdoor Learning in your classroom we are always keen to hear them at the Outdoor Learning Service.

Midvisits Update

evolve workings
Midvisits is an easy to use intuative system – But training sessions will help you get to grips with the nuts and bolts of EVOLVE and the helpful reporting tools

Over the last few months Midlothian schools who attended our launch of the new Midvisits/EVOLVE planning and approval system have been moving their visit and excursion planning and visit approvals to the new system that also replaces the current EV1 form.

Many of our schools are now using as a record for all their offsite visits including those that require local approval and LA approval – The system provides an excellent one stop place for planning, approving and evaluation of the learning outcomes associated with your educational visits.




  • August – All remaining schools to join new Midvisits system
  • August – December – Transition period Midvisits
  • December 2015 – End of old EV1 system
Excursion Approvals are moving to a new home –

All schools will be fully on the system for Dec 2015 – the old EV1 system will be retired! In August schools that are currently not on the system will be contacted to arrange access to Midvisits/EVOLVE (many additional schools have already been in touch to join since the launch)

The system is simple and effective to use , however a series of training sessions letting you get the best out of the Midvisits system have now been arranged to help with the transition. The details are available at the link below;

MIDVISITS Training Sessions

These sessions complement our fully certified OEAP/SAPOE Visit leader Training and Visit Coordinator Training courses and will also allow current users to raise questions and give feedback.

Thanks to all the schools so far who have been using the system so successfully.

More Information – Questions?  contact Bill Stephen


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 

Adventure is Recommended!

Providing regular and frequent outdoor learning opportunities is a key aim of the curriculum for excellence


SAAF (Scottish Adventure Activities Forum) has now published its final report and recommendations as a result of recent consultation with providers and stakeholders involved in adventure education and outdoor learning. It highlights and recommends to Scottish Government, a need for review and change in a number of key areas of adventure activities licensing;

  • Licensed activities
  • Registration
  • Cost and duration of license
  • Inspection and best practice
  • Opting in
  • Cross border arrangements
  • Review of licensing

While our schools and educational establishment will need no action at this point, while Ministers respond the review has the potential to influence the management and quality of adventurous activity for all our young people.

At the Outdoor Learning Service we will continue to support the review by our attendance at SAAF on behalf of SAPOE and believe the review is an opportunity to improve quality and standards  within the outdoor arena and as SAAF note;

“Adventurous  activities  prepare  a wide  range  of  age groups  for  their  own  challenges, stimulate a  passion  for  the  outdoors  and  develop  a  thirst  for  learning. Therefore  it  is  important  to  reflect  all  of  these  aspects  within  any  legislation  that may  be  produced  to  govern  adventurous  activities  in  Scotland  and  at  the  same  time capture the spirit of Scotland’s wild places.”

We will keep our education establishments up to date as and when Scotgov respond. Meanwhile keep going out there!!