John Muir Award growing by 15% a year in Scottish schools

Disadvantaged pupils account for one in five of the 16,000 Awards achieved in Scotland's schools last year

Jma ardroyeducationcentre beckyduncan detail

The John Muir Trust has celebrated another successful year in Scotland, with the number of school students and teachers achieving the John Muir Award soaring to almost 16,000 – a 15 per cent increase over the previous year.

The newly released data for 2015-2016 also shows that one in five of all John Muir Awards achieved (3,362) were gained by pupils experiencing some form of disadvantage.  

The John Muir Trust is now working with 445 schools across Scotland (a figure that includes 45 per cent of all secondary schools) to provide the John Muir Award across all 32 local authority areas. The scheme is widely used, with families, youth groups, adult learners and prisons among the many groups to make use of it.  

Dougie Pollok, SNH Biodiversity Communications Manager said: “Scottish Natural Heritage is delighted with the continued growth of the John Muir Award in Scotland’s schools. This environmental engagement scheme has proven to be popular with both teachers and pupils. As part of the Curriculum for Excellence, it promotes health and wellbeing and recognises achievement.”   

Dougie continued: “We are also particularly heartened by the number of pupils taking part who experience some form of disadvantage. This contributes towards the Scottish Government aims of closing the poverty-related attainment gap.”

Rebecca Logsdon, John Muir Award Scotland Education Manager said: “These latest figures provide evidence that more schools, including those in deprived communities, are embracing a culture of outdoor learning.

"Teachers are feeling empowered to help children experience nature. Young people who get outside are feeling happier and healthier, more engaged with their learning and connected to their communities.  

"This directly contributes towards an entitlement for Outdoor Learning for all learners, and ambitious Scottish Government goals, as set out in the Learning for Sustainability Vision 2030+ report.”

These figures only tell part of the story. Find out more about the quality, reach and range of work achieved by schools using the John Muir Award by viewing our suite of on-line case studies.

The John Muir Trust would like to thank Scottish Natural Heritage and all its partners in supporting the work of the John Muir Award.

Photo: The John Muir Award in action at Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre (Becky Duncan/Ardroy OEC)