Scottish schools increasingly embracing the wild

Leading wild land charity hails significant boost in outdoor curriculum learning.

Leading wild land charity hails significant boost in outdoor curriculum learning.

A new report from the John Muir Trust shows a 50% increase in the number pupils achieving their John Muir Award through school activity over the last 3 years.

Data collected for Education Scotland - the Executive Agency tasked with improving the quality of the country's education system – shows that nearly 12,500 John Muir Awards were achieved during the academic year 2013-14. This is up from 8,395 in 2011-12.

Toby Clark, John Muir Award Scotland Manager with the John Muir Trust said: "We are being told that children are increasingly retreating from the wild. The less time they spend in nature the unhappier and unhealthier they become. It can be a bit disheartening. But we are seeing a significant growth in the use of the John Muir Award in schools - in school grounds, community greenspaces, outdoor centres and National Parks.

"The John Muir Trust has partnered with over 370 Scottish schools last academic year." added Toby. "Each year schools embed their outdoor learning practices more broadly within curriculum delivery. This is good news as more and more studies show that learning outdoors helps increase attainment, improve social and communication skills, and develop lifelong appreciation for our natural world."

Ian Menzies, Senior Education Officer for Sciences at Education Scotland said: “The engagement work of the John Muir Trust, including the John Muir Award, is valued across the education sector and is helping children, young people and practitioners connect with issues relating to sustainability, values, citizenship and discovery of the natural world. Schools appreciate the flexibility of the Award and the different ways it can be used to support the curriculum. It is clearly proving to be popular as a result.”

The John Muir Award is the John Muir Trust's main nature engagement initiative. Launched in 1997, it is a UK environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It helps people from all backgrounds connect with nature, and enjoy and care for wild places. Each successful participant receives a nationally recognised certificate.

Visit the John Muir Award web pages to see how the Award is being used by schools to contribute towards the Curriculum for Excellence.

Contact education@johnmuiraward.org for a copy of the report.