Education Outside the Classroom: An assessment of activity and practice in schools and local authorities

Rebekah Wilson, Lisa O'Donnell, Marian Morris

26 April 2006

Research report available to download from DFE

Research brief available to download from DFE

In March 2006, NFER was commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills, Natural England, and Farming and Countryside Education to undertake a study investigating the extent and nature of Education Outside the Classroom (EOtC). The research involved surveys of all local authorities, headteachers and teachers in primary, secondary and special schools across England, as well as in-depth telephone interviews with teachers.

Key Findings

  • There was a general perception that the extent and nature of EOtC provision had either increased over the last five years, or had remained broadly the same.
  • The activities that were most commonly reported were school-site activities or off-site day visits, primarily to man-made environments, while residential or day visits to natural environments were less common.
  • A range of factors appeared to influence the extent and nature of EOtC activity, and the locations visited, including key stage, subject area, levels of teacher confidence, training, and satisfaction with support provided in relation to EOtC, senior management support and school location.
  • Concerns about the cost of provision, health and safety, and risk management appeared to be the main factors inhibiting current or future EOtC developments.
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