The Guardian recently had a feature on urban schools and outdoor learning.  It  began …

“Outdoor learning isn’t just the preserve of rural schools. These simple ideas will help you incorporate outdoor learning in a concrete jungle.  But what do you do if your school isn’t blessed with acres of green space?  From making the most of your playground to venturing further afield, we’ve gathered five tips to help urban schools feel the benefits of taking learning outside.”

The five tips are:

  • embrace your school grounds
  • encourage nature to come to you
  • bring nature into the classroom
  • look for opportunities on your doorstep
  • visit a local green space
… and there is much detail in each section.  This feature is part of the Guardian’s green schools series which is supported by WWF.  You can find out more about it here.
Looking at this, and its common sense and every-day approach, it is hard not to reflect back on the Blair government’s sustainable schools strategy and the baffling omission of biodiversity as one of the “doorways”.  Ministers were never embarrassed by this, because they knew little of it.  But civil servants were, because they had to explain it away.  It was only later that the truth emerged.  There was no biodiversity doorway, not because anyone seriously thought that it had no place in a sustainable school, but because all the doorways were reflections of existing DfE policy – and the Department for Education never had a policy on biodiversity.  That, after all – and environmental education with it – was up to Defra.  It still is.
And it still is.

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