Press Release: July 2016

The Natural Connections Demonstration project, lasting 4-years and funded by DEFRA, Natural England and Historic England, has published new evidence on the benefits of outdoor learning to pupils, teachers and schools.

The project provides strong evidence that learning outdoors has multiple benefits for school children. 92 per cent of teachers surveyed said that pupils were more engaged with learning when outdoors and 85 per cent saw a positive impact on their behaviour.

The majority of children also thought they learned better and achieved more when learning outside. 92 per cent of pupils involved in the project said they enjoyed their lessons more when outdoors, with 90 per cent feeling happier and healthier as a result.

Why was Natural Connections set up?

The evidence is clear – getting children outdoors is fantastic for their health, wellbeing and learning and can set them on a pathway to happy, healthy and environmentally sustainable lifestyles.

Schools are community gateways to enable these opportunities for all children, yet only around 8 per cent of school age children in England get out of their classrooms into green spaces.

Aim of project

To increase the number of school children, particularly from disadvantaged communities, able to experience the full range of benefits that come from learning in local natural environments. It worked with 125 primary and secondary schools, over 40,000 pupils (key stages 1-4, up to GCSE level), and more than 2,000 teachers.

Key findings

  • 95 per cent of children surveyed said outdoor learning makes lessons more enjoyable
  • 90 per cent said they felt happier and healthier
  • 72 per cent of children said they got on better with others
  • 93 per cent of schools said outdoor learning improves pupils’ social skills
  • 92 per cent of schools said it improves pupils’ health and wellbeing and engages them with learning
  • 85 per cent of schools saw a positive impact on behaviour
  • 90 per cent of staff surveyed found outdoor learning to be useful for curriculum delivery

This is a condensed version of the press release found by clicking here.

A full copy of the Natural Connections project report can be downloaded from Natural England’s Access to Evidence publications catalogue.