Learning Outside the Classroom
Updated 17 March 2008
May 2007 News
GEM has endorsed and is championing the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto (LOtC), which as reported in GEM News (Issue 104), was launched by the Secretary of State for Education on 28 November 2006. The Manifesto is a ‘movement’ or joint undertaking that many different stakeholders have helped to create and to which anyone can sign up. Its aim is to ensure that all young people have a variety of high quality learning experiences outside the classroom environment, and to ‘make a difference’ to the amount and quality of learning outside the classroom.
The DfES have appointed two LOtC Manifesto “Champions” – Peter Carne and Mike Tones – whose job it is to “make it happen”. As mentioned elsewhere, Peter Carne attended part of GEM’s last board meeting to talk about the Manifesto and its implementation with Trustees.
One of the key proposed measures of the Manifesto is the creation of a new, independent LOtC Council to bring together providers from the public, private and voluntary sectors, to take ownership of and achieve the aims of the Manifesto. There needs to be some detailed thought around the creation of the new body and in order to facilitate discussion between the wide range of stakeholders who need to be involved, an interim ‘advisory group’ is being formed. GEM is pleased to have been invited to represent the heritage sector on the advisory group – the first meeting of which was held on 23 April 2007.
The purpose of the advisory group is to advise the DfES on the implementation of the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto, and to represent sector group partnerships. Its aims are to:
advise the LOtC Champions on the formation and development of sector group partnerships.
represent sector partnerships through ongoing consultation.
develop a LOtC Manifesto Action Plan to implement the Manifesto’s high level commitments.
advise on Action Plan priorities, commissioning and monitoring.
advise the DfES on the development of the LOtC National Council.
The Manifesto is supported by £2.7 million funding designed to tackle the barriers to learning outside the classroom. This funding will largely be used to deliver an 'Out and About’ package of training and guidance to help teachers make more regular use of learning outside the classroom, covering areas such as high quality, safely managed, low paperwork trips, and a new family of safety badges. The ‘Out & About package’ and associated support will make it possible for more teachers and support staff to use learning outside the classroom as a regular part of teaching.
Learning outside the classroom will also be part of the revised School Self-Evaluation Form (SEF), which is due to be published very soon. The revised SEF should therefore encourage schools to evaluate and develop their current activities and show how they contribute to learners’ enjoyment and achievement.
There is a large range of activity across government like Sustainable Schools, Every Child Matters, personalised learning, Growing Schools and Engaging Places which the Manifesto supports or is supportive of the Manifesto. All this work has to be joined up to ensure maximum impact. Most importantly, communications and the offer of support to the end user (i.e. schools and others involved in delivering LOtC) need to be coherent and tailored to meeting their needs.
An external PR agency, Band & Brown, have been appointed to target opinion formers and key stakeholders such as headteachers and governors, local authorities, teachers, parents, carers and the wider community, government ministers and senior officials, LOtC “providers” across all sectors and all signatories to the Manifesto. The key messages include:
Learning outside the classroom is a powerful route to Every Child Matters outcomes, in particular enjoying and achieving, staying safe and being healthy.
Quality learning experiences in ‘real’ situations have the capacity to raise achievement across a range of subjects and to develop better personal and social skills.
Learning outside the classroom provides support for many different curriculum areas.
Schools, local authorities and key organisations will be better enabled to manage visits safely and efficiently.
Activities must be provided to meet the needs of all young people, whatever their age, ability or background.
Learning outside the classroom can happen at any time – in the normal school day, before and after school, during weekends and holidays.
I expect Band & Brown will be looking for some good examples to use in their campaign which will be on-going over the next two years – so be prepared to provide some!
GEM is working with interested parties in the heritage sector and if you would like to help implement the Manifesto I would be delighted to hear from you. I am particularly interested in hearing from specialist education groups within the heritage sector who have a membership base.
Some sectors have already developed some form of accreditation scheme covering both quality and safety to help teachers choose suitable venues to visit. If you have been involved in a scheme like this in your area please let me know.
We are organising a one day conference in early July on how the heritage sector is responding to the Manifesto – details on website – and hopefully I will see many of you at that event.
There is a Manifesto website
www.teachernet.gov.uk/learningoutsidetheclassroom where you can
find out more and order free copies of the document.