An Edinburgh primary school has become the first in Scotland to win an award for outdoor learning

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An Edinburgh Primary School has been awarded the national Learning Outside the Classroom Mark (Gold) the highest achievement of its kind.

This makes St Andrew’s Fox Covert RC Primary School school the first in Scotland to receive this award for their efforts in learning outside the classroom.

The award has been given by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) – the national voice for teaching beyond the classroom established in 2009.

Image by CLOtC, the children use their electronic devices whilst outside during their lesson

Dr Anne Hunt, Chief Executive of CLOtC said: “Achieving LOtC Mark Gold demonstrates that St Andrew’s Fox Covert RC Primary is a leader in providing learning experiences outside the classroom and that these sessions are a genuine part of the everyday life of the school, are available to all of their children and young people.”

Primary 5 pupil, Billy stated: “We do maths, language, science, nature studies and art and it’s fun doing it in the fresh air.”

Image by CLOtC, pupil takes part in outdoor activites

The award recognises exemplary LOtC provision in schools ensuring that all pupils access frequent outdoor learning in order to enhance their achievements and education.

St Andrews flourished in certain aspects including ensuring that work met the Curriculum for Excellence with added progressive skills of work, learning and life.

They made use of their resources and surroundings ensuring accessible learning spaces with everything based locally.

Maximising commitment to learning for sustainability and their core ecological values –  nurture, inspire, flourish.

Image by CLOtC, Staff member pushes a wheelbarrow with games for the children

Councillor Alison Dickie, Education Vice Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This is creative learning at its best and these outdoor experiences both improve pupils’ academic attainment but also personal development and health and wellbeing.”

Kerr Willis, Chair of St Andrew’s Parent Council, stated: “It’s great to see the school making use of the incredible outdoor space near the campus to provide the children with a creative and practical approach to learning.”

“Being awarded the gold mark is a tremendous achievement for all the staff and pupils. That we are the first school in Scotland to achieve this makes it even more special! It shows that we are providing our pupils with potentially life-changing opportunities to learn in meaningful contexts.” said Rebecca Favier, Head Teacher at St Andrew’s.

Image by CLOtC, pupils take part in further studies outside

Councillor Ian Perry, Education Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, stated: “It’s great to see such innovative learning and teaching being taken out of the classroom and getting the national recognition that it fully deserves.”