By the numbers - Outdoor learning

24th August 2012 at 01:00

One in seven heads of primary schools and early years settings does not know how much time pupils spend outside during the school day, according to a survey.

The early years foundation stage places great emphasis on the outdoor learning environment, with many settings encouraging children to move freely between inside and outside spaces.

But responses from 150 primary schools and early years settings revealed inconsistency in the amount of time children spend outdoors.

Forty-five per cent of respondents said children spent between 11 and 25 per cent of their day outside, with the figure tailing off as children grow older, according to the survey by eco-building company the Learning Escape.

Focus on outdoor play has sharpened in recent weeks, with the government facing criticism for scrapping regulations that govern how much outside space schools must provide.

Figures also show that 17,000 schools in England are participating in the Eco-Schools scheme, promoting environmental awareness through outdoor projects including improving school grounds, biodiversity and healthy living. The scheme, which is run in 53 countries, has three awards: green flag (the top award), silver and bronze.

Amount of time pupils spend outside during school day, by proportion of schools

Source: The Learning Escape

>76% of school day - 2%

51-75% of school day - 6%

26-50% of school day - 33%

11-25% of school day - 45%

0-10% of school day - 0%

Don't know - 14%

'THEY LOVE IT HERE'

The spectacular new buildings at Wellington Academy have played a key role in raising pupils' attainment, Andy Schofield believes.

"When you see (the pupils) look up in awe and wonder, it does remind me of a cathedral," the head says. "It influences how people think about the school.

"It's brilliant that we have something that can inspire students; they love it, they want to be here."

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS AWARDED GREEN FLAGS BY REGION

Source: www.keepbritaintidy.orgecoschools

North East - 95

North West - 285

Yorkshire - 96

East Midlands - 168

East of England - 126

South West - 134

West Midlands - 232

London - 69

South East - 290.

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