Westminster Debate Risk and Learning

14 Elected members speak in support of outdoor learning

One important aspect of learning outside the classroom, that of outdoor and adventure-based learning, was discussed during a short [90 minute] adjournment debate in Westminster Hall Wednesday last week.

Depressingly, 76% of teachers turned down the opportunity to go on a field trip because of fears about health and safety. Such learning, however, is low risk and high reward, and the statistics back that up. Over a 10-year period, only 364 legal claims were tabled because of children injured at school, and only half of those cases ended in any kind of payment. On average, most local authorities paid out £293 over that period.

Given that the perception of the public, and even some professional educators, is that everyone is sueing everyone for the slightest injury and issue, the media is to be congratulated on its ability to mislead and poorly inform.

Many attributes of the value of learning through the outdoors were explored with most members speaking enthusiastically from their own experiences during their earlier education.  It was significant that all attributed some aspects of their later enthusiasm for education to non-classroom based learning and their non-risk averse teachers.  For a full text visit:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk