Childwall AbbeySchool

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Learning Outside the Classroom rationale

A calm, safe and welcoming place in which to work and learn.
A place where everyone supports each other to achieve.
A place we enjoy coming to each day.

At Childwall Abbey School (C.A.S.) Learning Outside the Classroom (the use of places other than the classroom for teaching and learning) is celebrated as a valuable part of life and supports our whole school Curriculum Rationale.


We ensure that our pupils have regular opportunities to get out and about enjoying different experiences to help them apply learned skills. Learning Outside the Classroom is a tool for teaching and learning through which we aim to increase pupils’ confidence, celebrate achievement, develop behaviour for learning and improve well-being of all pupils, including those who are hard to engage and who have previously not attended school.


The places where learning happens can have a significant effect on how a young person engages with a subject or an idea. Learning outside the classroom can happen in the school grounds, on the high street, in the local park, in the countryside, at the seashore, in familiar and unfamiliar places. At C.A.S., these experiences support the curriculum across all Key Stages and are not ‘add-on’ treats.


At CA.S. we believe all our pupils should have access to frequent and progressive learning experiences in the school grounds and local area, educational visits further afield and residentials.


A positive view of the world and motivation to know more are the keys to positive behaviour and effective learning. Our aim is that all pupils leave school ready to make a successful transition to college or work, with aspirations to be the best they can be and to make a positive contribution to society. Engagement in less formal, more adventurous and stimulating activities beyond the classroom develops pupils’ confidence, their sense of themselves as citizens and their resilience to life’s challenges.


Adventurous activities offer an outlet for physical energy and opportunities for teamwork. Young people who have been disengaged from formal education or who have experienced debilitating anxiety about school when they join C.A.S., may flourish in this less formal situation. Observing and experiencing how knowledge and skills can be applied in a real-life context can make learning more meaningful to all pupils.


At CA.S. we appreciate the beneficial effects of learning outside the classroom on pupils physical and mental health and well-being. Learning outside the classroom in non-formal settings can help young people to:

  • experience and understand their emotions (which are often turbulent in adolescence)
  • learn how to co-operate successfully with their peers and with adults
  • experience calm and relaxation through reflection
  • take control of eating healthily and other aspects of self-care and hygiene
  • release energy and increase fitness through physical activity.


Outdoor and off-site experiences impact positively on young people’s attitudes, aspirations, sense of self-worth and resilience to change and challenge. Pupils develop interpersonal and social communication skills, group cohesion and teamwork. This develops over time, with opportunities for these experiences being re-visited and built on each year.


Experiencing a variety of outdoor and other off-site environments contributes to C.A.S. pupils’ appreciation of and identification with their own environment. It also introduces them to places they may never otherwise have an opportunity to visit and encourages awareness of the wider world.


  • A visit to a local park, nature reserve or farm increases awareness of the natural environment and issues that affect it.
  • Drawing, sketching and photographing the locality fosters an appreciation of the built environment and surrounding landscape.
  • A visit to a significant amenity or a residential facility contributes to an understanding of how communities’ function and develop.
  • Comparing sites away from ‘home’ helps pupils appreciate what makes their ‘place’ important to them and different from other places.
  • Taking a close look at their own environment helps C.A.S. pupils develop a personal sense of place.
  • Residential courses, expeditions and day trips broaden pupils’ horizons, by providing an experience of new and different places.


At C.A.S. Learning Outside the Classroom is accredited through Forest Schools, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, ASDAN and contributes to pupils’ achievements in nationally recognised examinations.