Learning Outside the Classroom (LOTC)


Why do we teach Learning Outside of the Classroom (LOtC)?

Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) is the use of places other than the classroom for teaching and learning. It is about getting children and young people out and about, providing them with challenging, exciting and different experiences to help them learn and engage in education.

We recognise that outdoor learning is a powerful tool that can raise attainment, bolster social, emotional and personal development and that contributes to the health and well-being of children and young people. We believe that LOtC is an essential provision for curriculum delivery. 

LOtC enables pupils to apply what they have learnt inside the classroom in a real-world context. LOtC can improve skills such as communication skills, teamwork, problem solving and risk management. These are essential skills that are needed beyond school life and in future employment. Additional benefits of physical and mental health, raising aspirations, and changing their environmental behaviours and attitudes are also well evidenced.



  • Leaders adopt or construct a curriculum that's ambitious and designed to give all pupils the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
  • Your curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
  • Your curriculum is successfully adapted, designed or developed to be ambitious and meet the needs of pupils with SEND, developing their knowledge, skills and abilities to apply what they know and can do with increasing fluency and independence.
  • Your curriculum isn't narrowed and you teach a broad range of subjects at all stages (for example, in Key Stage 2 and 3).


  • Leaders provide effective support for those teaching outside their main areas of expertise.
  • Leaders understand the limitations of assessment and don't use it in a way that creates unnecessary burdens on staff or pupils.


  • Teachers have good knowledge of the subject(s) and courses they teach.
  • Teachers present subject matter clearly, promoting appropriate discussion about the subject matter being taught.
  • Teachers check pupils’ understanding systematically, identify misconceptions accurately and provide clear, direct feedback.
  • Teachers respond and adapt their teaching as necessary without unnecessarily elaborate or individualised approaches.
  • Teaching is designed to help pupils to remember long term the content they've been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger ideas.
  • Teachers and leaders use assessment well, for example to help pupils embed and use knowledge fluently, or to check understanding and inform teaching.
  • Teaching materials reflect the school’s ambitious intentions for the course of study. Materials clearly support the intent of a coherently planned curriculum, sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
  • Teachers make sure their own speaking, listening, writing and reading of English support pupils in developing their language and vocabulary well.

Pupils' work

  • The work given to pupils is demanding and matches the aims of the curriculum in being coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge.
  • Reading is prioritised. There's a rigorous and sequential approach to the reading curriculum to develop pupils’ fluency, confidence and enjoyment in reading.
  • Reading attainment is assessed at all stages and gaps are addressed quickly and effectively for all pupils.
  • Books connect closely to the phonics knowledge pupils are taught when they're learning to read.
  • There's a sharp focus on making sure that younger children gain phonics knowledge and language comprehension necessary to read, and the skills to communicate.


  • Pupils develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum and, as a result, achieve well. This is reflected in results from national tests and examinations or in qualifications obtained.
  • Pupils are ready for the next stage of education, employment or training. They have the knowledge and skills they need and gain qualifications that allow them to go on to destinations that meet their interests and aspirations and the intention of their course of study.
  • Pupils with SEND achieve the best possible outcomes.
  • Pupils’ work across the curriculum is of good quality.
  • Pupils read widely and often, with fluency and comprehension appropriate to their age.
  • Pupils can apply mathematical knowledge, concepts and procedures appropriately for their age.


Further information 

Subject related web sites: 









Useful statistics:  

  • 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 

  • 72 per cent of schools reported that outdoor learning had a positive impact on teachers’ health and wellbeing 

  • 79 per cent of teachers surveyed said outdoor learning had a positive impact on their teaching practice and 69 per cent said it had a positive impact on their professional development 

  • 72 per cent said outdoor learning improved their health and wellbeing and 69 per cent said it had a positive impact on their job satisfaction 

Our LOTC Department will be launching the John Muir Award Scheme with our Primary and Key Stage 3 students in Plymouth in January 2024.

The John Muir Award is an opportunity for our students to receive a nationally recognised outdoor award and a well presented certificate for their participation in discovering wild and remote places.

The four categories include; discover a wild place, explore its wilderness, take responsibility to conserve, share their experiences.

For more information, please visit: https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/